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Visit Glasgow University…

Visit Glasgow University....

I’m not an educated haggis but I can still recommend the value of a visit to the University of Glasgow. This university is one of the oldest universities in Scotland, founded in 1491. Glasgow University moved to it’s West End campus in 1870 from High Street, and it has more listed buildings than at any other university in the UK. Wee Kilty here can appreciate the beauty of the gothic revival style of the main building. You can see the signature bell tower from many points across the city.

You may well be a prospective student, and although Wee Kilty can’t advice you on this process, I can give you an idea of the best spots to visit.

My favourite spot on campus is either the East or West Quadrangles – I can’t choose between them. They are very picturesque courtyards and popular with both students and visitors alike. It’s in the quadrangles that student graduation day celebrations take place. 

The Cloisters connect the two quadrangles and these impressive archways are an iconic part of Glasgow University. You may recognise them from many films and television shows including Cloud Atlas and Outlander. You may also get the feeling that you’re at Hogwarts, if you’re a fan of Harry Potter.

A wander to the front of the main building will take you to the University’s Flagpole. From this vantage point you can see some of Kilty’s favourite West End haunts, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Kelvin Hall. On a clear day, the views are stunning as you see the city laid out before you.

Another beautiful building worth seeing is the University Chapel. In 1929 the University Chapel became an addition to the campus as a memorial to staff, graduates and students who lost their lives in the Great War. The memorial chapel is a place of beauty for both worship and celebration.

Across from the University Chapel you will see Professors’ Square. This stunning row of 13 townhouses was built to house the university’s professors. The Principal’s Lodging at number 12 is the only building still in use as a residence today.

What Wee Kilty likes so much about the Lion and Unicorn staircase is that it was relocated from the High Street campus. Brick by brick it was moved by horse and cart before being rebuilt by hand and incorporated into the new building in 1870.

You may have noticed that the weather in Glasgow is not always entirely conducive to a dodder about outside. A visit to the Hunterian Museum, Scotland’s oldest public museum, could be the answer. Founded in 1807 with donations by William Hunter, it is home to one of Scotland’s largest collections. On view are scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister and Lord Kelvin. You can also see Hunter’s extensive anatomical teaching instruments and Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall. You can also visit the Hunterian Art Gallery, featuring over 900 paintings and permanent displays.

The University of Glasgow gets some fantastic reviews from visitors to Glasgow. Guided tours are available at 2pm Tuesday – Sunday or you can buy a map from the gift shop to conduct your own self guided tour. It’s a real gem in this wonderful city.

Glasgow University buildings
Glasgow University Cloisters
Kilted Haggis tour group at the Glasgow University Flagpole
The Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University

Hidden Gems of Glasgow – Cafes

Hidden Gems of Glasgow – Cafes

One of the many things I’ll say about Glaswegians is that we do not like to be behind the times – we’re more of the trend-setting sort.  Our glorious city has fully engaged with the exceptional rise in café culture in recent years.  Although the big-name high street chains are very much present, there are plenty of innovative independent cafés that offer something special.  Here are a few wee hidden gems of Glasgow that you might like to check out……

Tchai-Ovna

Advertised as Scotland’s original teahouse, this fabulous venue is more than a café. You can enjoy music or exhibitions, eat delicious vegetarian food whilst having a unique cup of tea, chosen from a huge selection.  Wee Kilty here is fond of a cuppa, but I have to say I could spend at least half an hour perusing the tea menu.  My favourite is the yogi yougi chai latte, and I take  a great deal of pleasure in topping up my unconventional wee teacup from the teapot.

The decor is of a bohemian, eclectic style and it has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.  It kind of feels like you are entering the cosy and quirky living room of an eccentric old auntie.  I could easily spend hours there chilling out – playing a game or reading while enjoying the people watching.  It seems like everyone who hangs out here is happy. 

Tchai Ovna is still one of Glasgow’s mostly lesser-known treasured secrets, and it is literally kind of hidden, tucked away down a wee cobbled lane. If you’re in the West End, and fancy something a bit different then I would recommend a visit.

The Hidden Lane Tearoom

For some time I’ve been meaning to check out the Hidden Lane in Finnieston.   I was not expecting to find such a wide range of crafty wee businesses in such a unique venue of  multi coloured and higgledy piggledy studios. The tearoom has become a hub for this creative community. There are over 30 different teas on offer along with a creative yet comforting menu including homemade soups, stews or a fantastic range of homemade cakes and bakes.  Wee Kilty can guarantee a great welcome and a tasty, refreshing experience.

Singl-end Café and Bakehouse

Based in Renfrew Street (Charing Cross End) this wee hidden gem certainly has lots to offer the discerning diner.  This community café has such an interesting bo-ho style and cool vibe, and the menu covers all the bases for your snacking needs.  There are plenty of healthy options amongst the glorious range of cakes, and it would be easy to spend several comfortable hours here munching through the exceptional range of tasty treats.  Brunch seems to be a bit of a speciality, with several options for vegetarians or vegans.  A nice touch is the range of breads baked in house.   

Café Strange Brew

No stranger to the South Side of town I happened across this lovely café recently and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. As you probably know by now, wee Kilty has quite the appetite and choosing from the homemade cake selection wasn’t easy. There are several things I really liked about this place; it has a motto (I’m a fan of a motto) – ‘Keeping Shawlands Strange’, it has an interesting menu with veggie, vegan and gluten free options, it has an excellent reputation for brunch (I do like the occasional lie in so brunch should be more widely available in my opinion) and it has a lovely cosy atmosphere. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and dogs are welcome.

Hidden Gems of Glasgow – Ashton Lane

Hidden Gems of Glasgow - Ashton Lane

One of my favourite places, Ashton Lane is situated just off one of the main streets in Glasgow’s West End – Byres Road. It’s a charming lane with a cobbled street, with a fantastic range of pubs and restaurants, plus a retro independent cinema – The Grosvenor which opened in 1921. Being a sociable fellow, wee Kilty here has visited several of these fine establishments, many of which have a unique atmosphere.

I’ve on occasion been known to enjoy a pint by the roaring fire in the upstairs bar of the Ubiquitous Chip – the restaurant has an excellent reputation locally and the various bars always seem to attract a crowd. Across the lane, my drink of choice is Guiness in Jinty McGintys – a top notch wee Irish boozer which hosts live music every weekend, and I have been known to start the dancin’. Another favourite spot is Brel, which promotes itself as Ashton Lane’s most magical venue and claims to have the most awesome beer garden in Glasgow. I’m rather partial to enjoying a beer or two from their fine selection of world beers and although what to select from the menu can be tricky when there are so many delicious options, typically Moules Frites wins out.

And while we’re talking food – wee Kilty boy has quite the appetite. When it comes to a good curry, a serious decision has to be made; the independent, vibrant Wee Curry Shop or the more traditional well known Ashoka chain.  Both serve delicious, high-quality food and definitely fulfil ones appetite.

Now I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression of me – wee kilty is not always out eating and drinking. For an alternative’s night entertainment, I do enjoy a visit to the Grosvenor cinema. This wee gem provides a most comfortable cinema viewing experience – and if you feel like getting cosy with a friend, there is the option to book a sofa rather than your traditional theatre style seats. Although an independent cinema, the Grosvenor has a great programme of up-to date movie releases, and also supports event cinema such as live screenings theatre productions via satellite.

In summary, I think Ashton Lane has plenty to offer and wee Kilty would certainly recommend a visit.

Ashton Lane in Glasgow's West Eng

Ashton Lane

Jinty MgGinty's in Ashton Lane

Jinty McGuintys

The Grosvenor Cinema, Ashton Lane

Grosvenor Cinema

Hidden Gems of Glasgow – The Britannia Panopticon

Hidden Gems of Glasgow – Britannia Panopticon Music Hall

Who knew that the world’s oldest surviving music hall could be found in central Glasgow? Despite being really old (1857) this hidden gem isn’t hugely well known locally, but following various renovation projects, wee Kilty here reckons it’s an up and coming venue.

Although some may think of me as a wee wideo (a local term for a smart aleck/wise guy), I’m just interested in my town’s history, and something that is the oldest on the planet is worthy of a bit of research. Back in the 1850s this place was filled with around 1500 of Glasgow’s workers for each of its four daily performances, all of whom were expecting to be entertained and for many, they were most likely hoping to be completely distracted from the harsh reality of their life of poverty.

Initially the entertainment included the extremely popular dancing girls, as well as various singers – and it had a bit of a reputation for attracting the local women of the night, who apparently did a roaring trade. Under new management, the more sensual acts were toned down and performances became less cabaret and more circus like with acrobats, trapeze artists and animal acts. The music hall kept up with the times, and it was one of the first 300 buildings to have electricity in 1896, allowing for the introduction of animated pictures.

As the years passed, other venues became the new place to go in town, and so the music hall went through another reinvention – carnival games were introduced along with wax works and freak show, and then the basement was turned into a zoo. It was at this point that the Britannia Music hall became the Grand Panopticon – panopticon meaning to see everything.

Sadly, as times changed and new forms of entertainment started vying for peoples’ attention, the Panopticon could no longer afford to operate and was sold to a firm of tailors in 1938. Although a number of changes were made internally, the balcony was left untouched and these days there is a team of volunteers who are working to restore the building to its former glory.

The Panopticon is now operating as a functional venue; it’s open most afternoons for a wee wander about, and there are an increasing amount of events scheduled such as film screenings, cabaret shows and theatrical performances. It’s certainly an interesting place, typically with an interesting audience and my top tip would be to dress warmly if you are going to watch a show – there’s no heating and only a limited supply of blankets!

The Britannia Pantopticon exterior

Britannia Pantopticon Exterior

The interior of the Britannia Pantopticon

Interior view

Advertising an event at the Britannia Pantopticon

Events