I love visiting Glasgow. I have several times. I keep going back and finding new things, and of course revisiting some favorites. Scottish weather is lovingly joked about, just like San Francisco or Portland Oregon weather. The fact is, any country with changeable weather must be taken with amusement, how else can you survive when it really gets bad?
Rain, dreich, and more rain. We have that in Portland, other wise known as Puddleton. So when I keep traveling back to a land with the wets, people wonder why. The inhabitants are desperate to get to the Canary Island or Spain, Italy, anywhere with a mild climate. What, you live near California, why do you come here? Simple, love the place, can’t get enough. Lived in foggy, drippy port towns most of my life. Have that Viking ancestry and too pale of skin to go back to California, yeah pink in five seconds here. But mostly it’s places like Glasgow teaming with life and music, food, culture and close proximity to magical day trips to places like the Trossachs National Park that make it a great hub for exploration.
So what do you do when it is positively dripping, or worse, torrents. Most inhabitants bundle up inside and have tea, binge watch if not working, and some maybe while working. If you are one who gets restless when it pours, need to get out a bit, find whatever free entertainment you can for the best dreichy to drookit days. And it’s heading into the Hols, so you need to save money where you can, or shop for gifts that help the museum out.
Since my youth and living in San Francisco Bay Area, I found that museums were always a day well spent. In the US, most museums charge fees to get in and some of the attached galleries as well. In the UK and Ireland, admission to most museums are free of charge, with special exhibits having some fees. There is always something going on in the museums that will entertain you in the main exhibits areas.
I keep coming back to this fabulous place. Recently I went the Frank Quietly Exhibit there, the hours were well spent. The rest of the galleries will keep you busy for hours, and a great way to keep the kids entertained for free. The museum is a classic museum layout with many floors and galleries and a good place to have a tea half way through. The Life Collection features natural history, human history and prehistory sections, with the taxidermy animals is a very good collection and I must admit a childhood favorite to peruse. The Egyptian interactives are a bit of fun. The best spot is the technology and sciences galleries, where I saw a actual Enigma machine putting something tangible on history for me.
In the Expressions Galleries, there are exhibits from painters and other artists. Monet, Gaugin and Renoir are featured. There are also many works from Scottish artists and The Glasgow Boys. This next year will be Charles Rennie Macintosh’s 150th birth year and an exhibition is being planned for that.
The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, Scotland
A great museum on an amazing campus. Plan to spend quite a few hours and not far from Kelvingrove. It’s a fabulous place with collections that should not be missed. James McNeill Whistler and Charles Rennie Macintosh have permanent collections there. The other collections feature art, archaeology, cultures, historical, coins and metal, fossils and a great medical exhibit. Check with the museum for hours of display and access since this is on the university campus.
Aptly named of course for a great indoor garden experience and galleries of local history. This great local exhibition place gets you in the feel for the history of Glasgow. From “Steamy” displays to local shops and other historical displays about everyday life. My favorite display was seeing Sir Billy Connolly’s famous Banana Boots. The sheer size of the Big Yin’s unique equipage was boggling. How did he walk in those things?
The Palace has a nice Victorian Glass House with a great botanics display and tea house. The line can get quite long for the tea. But well worth it after a few hours spent looking at displays.
My favorite place to go back to for tea. This hidden gem has a great alley space with a eclectic food menu and great relaxation spaces, mismatched tables and chairs, tea sets. Squeeze through the alley to get there, great to get off Sauchiehall Street bustle for a bit, although in summer the West End is pretty relaxed as many city residents are still working or out on holiday themselves. Their clotted cream is the best, the real deal. Cakes, biscuits, savories and soup.
Ah, the very best thing to do when it rains and snows, brave the weather and find a book nook. Glasgow has many great new and used book stores. Problem is when you’re traveling you want to scoop an armful, but really can’t fit it in. Just grab one or two, read and leave at your B&Bs with notes about your reading thoughts. You’ll many dusty pages to chose from, Voltaire and Rousseau is quite a jumble to meander through, and that’s the fun. Don’t forget to look up Thistle Books as well, just in case you haven’t found everything imaginable to read.