There is nothing quite like seeing your home country through someone else’s eyes is there? I had the chance to do just that when Monica and Ella flew up to Glasgow from Southampton for a girls’ minibreak and I have to admit I had a lot of fun putting together the itinerary and playing tour guide in my home town. I knew I wanted to show them as much as possible of what Scotland had to offer and in just forty-eight hours I think we managed to cover everything from city architecture and shopping to our famous countryside and lochs…
GLASGOW’S WEST END
Our first stop, just a fifteen minute drive from Glasgow Airport, was Byres Road and a potter around the stunning Botanic Gardens – the Glasshouse is cosy and perfect for rainy days, whilst the outdoor gardens make the perfect spot for an ice cream when the sun shines. Next we fuelled ourselves up, ahead of a whistle stop West End tour, at Kember & Jones, one of my beloved spots for yummy food and homemade cakes. With full bellies we made our way up over University Avenue to the famous Glasgow University and its historic Cloisters set around the internal courtyard to really soak up all the Harry Potter vibes (seriously – you can just imagine a game of Quidditch taking place here). From here we strolled along Kelvinway by the park and over to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of my all time most favourite places to spend a free afternoon – the art and history inside for kids and adults is incredible and the architecture of the actual building speaks for itself.
Scroll down for the rest…
I work with Glasgow & Southampton airports but this post does not form part of our partnership
GLASGOW’S CITY CENTRE
Whilst there is certainly no shortage of places to visit in the centre we made shopping our focus. Glasgow is renowned for excellent shopping and, after stopping for takeout coffee from the best in town at Gordon Street Coffee, Buchanan Street is the place to make the most of that. You could be forgiven for not even realising Princes Square is there but keep an eye out for the giant peacock and you will find your way inside what is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful centres around with stunning architecture, plentiful bars and restaurants and a beautiful selection of brands. House of Fraser, directly across the road, should also not be missed with its breathtaking atrium (you should see it at Christmas twinkling with tens of thousands of lights) and selection of designer, high street and beauty stores within
We concluded our city centre tour with a quick skip round Royal Exchange Square, to take in the exterior (at least if you are short on time) of the exquisite Gallery of Modern Art.
We ate in town at the newly opened SoLA which was a real treat – a pacific grill in the most stylish of surroundings but if you happen to find yourself with time to pop ten minutes out West then The Finnieston should be on your list for a tipple followed by Porter & Rye for the steak lovers, Crabshakk for the seafood lovers or Ox and Finch for something to suit everyone.
Day two was all about the Lochs. I had almost forgotten just how lucky we are in Glasgow to have wide open countryside within a twenty minute drive of the airport but planning this itinerary for my guests really was such a great reminder of all we have to offer on our doorstep. And we headed to Luss, known as Scotland’s loveliest village, to soak in the famous Loch Lomond views from the white sand beach and wooden pier. A potter around the charming streets, past quaint homes and gardens filled with blooms, will truly transport you to another world, a quieter time. The Coach House Coffee Shop makes a lovely stop, if it is not an ice-cream on the pier kind of day, but by now we had lunch on our minds…
And so we made the short drive back along the banks of the Loch to The Boathouse to really soak in all those nautical vibes in a gorgeous setting right on the edge of the water.
Certainly you could spend the afternoon driving further afield, perhaps to Glencoe for the mindblowing scenery and mountains or even further North West to the beaches – Camusdarach is well worth the drive, if time will allow, with its white sands stretching out into turquoise waters. But I wanted to show my home turf, Kilmacolm. Just a twenty minute drive from Glasgow airport, you are welcomed to the village by the Knapps Loch, banked by yellow gorse that gives off the most divine coconut scent in the sunshine and just a forty-five minute walk the whole way round for those that have the stamina. Then it was back to my place for a well earned rest and a home cooked meal.
Brunch cravings on our final morning were more than satisfied at my favourite local treasure, Cairn, with a menu that keeps me returning every weekend and the best selection of home made cakes around (many gluten free and vegan too).
And then, all too soon, it was time to wave Monica and Ella goodbye for their short flight back to Southampton with the promise of repeat and return visits now that we knew just how easy it was…