Guide to Glasgow's West End
1. Aston Lane
To start your visit to Glasgow's West End, check out some of Scotland hippest shops and restaurants along the infamous Ashton Lane. Ashton Lane is a cobblestone backstreet in the West end lined with bars, restaurants and even a cinema. All of these places are housed in the old, brick houses that have stood on this street for ages. It's iconic white painted brick houses with black roofs, and blackened cobblestones is a quintessential image of Glasgow and a must-stop spot for travellers. We stopped off at for the Grosvenor Cafe for a drink before settling on a place for lunch. We decided to grab a seat on the balcony to people watch. It was the perfect place for this. From up here you could see everyone coming and going below, and I imagined that at night it would be ever more a spectacle.
2. De Courcy's Arcade
We continued down the lane and stopped in at a few vintage shops at De Courcy's Arcade. There were so many things I wish I could have fit in my suitcase. I had my eye on an entire set of tea cups and saucers but knew; this would never make it back home in one piece. In the arcade, there were a few vintage shops along with a very sweet vintage tea room serving up some of the most delicious looking drinks we'd seen all day. But it was no time for cakes, well, not yet anyways.
3. Vintage Shopping
We stopped into a few more vintage shops on our way to our lunch destination. We ended up at 'Starry Starry Night' which was a delightful little store where specializing in pristine condition army jackets! They were a bit too heavy for our suitcase but if this has been our last destination we sure would have taken a few home for ourselves. I did buy a lovely embroidered piece of cloth. A tiny little souvenir of the store. There was an incredible amount of quality items here, and it turned out they were one of the stores that Downton Abbey frequented when looking for clothing for the show! We also stopped into 'Ruthven Mews'. This little arcade which contained a few different vintage shops, some with fascinating specialisations. I poked around one store that was filled with old dishes and canisters. I found a very darling cookie tins and bought them for only a few bucks. They were perfect for travelling with as I used them to store my socks or small clothing!
5. Afternoon Tea at Kember & Jones
After shopping, we finally decided it was time to grab something to eat. We had our heart set on Kember & Jones, a delightful little bakery/cafe. Kember & Jones are popular for their local produce and in-house bakery.
We were dying for some a sweet and savoury meal so we opted to order their local cheese and charcuterie board along with a freshly baked scone with clotted cream and jam. It cream was like eating air, and the scone was heavenly fresh. One of the best I'd ever eaten. The cheese board was chock-o-block full of local cheese, fresh pate and homemade chutney. It was divine.
6. Used Book Shops
After filling our bellies to the point of bursting, we wandered through the street, stopping into all different shops on the way home. We stopped into on charity shop where I found a 1911 printing of Shakespeare's Henry IV. It smelled wonderful; you know that old book smell that is beyond replication.
7. Oran Mor Pub
After a long walk, we stopped into the Oran Mor pub. The Oran Mor was a Kelvinside Parish Church was built in 1862 by J.J. Stevenson that has since been restored and turned into a bar, event and theatre space.
It was one of the coolest bars I'd even been to. The stained glass on the windows and the old wood on the floors were all original, and the place was brimming with history. Even the bar itself, which was a new installation felt lived in like it had been there for ages.
8. Glasgow Botanic Gardens
After having a drink in the pub, we headed off to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The gardens were created in 1817 and as such, the trees, flowers and even the building feel like it has been a part of the city for hundreds of years. When we arrived, the sun was out and shining, and the flowers in the garden simply glowed.
The most famous building in the gardens is the Kibble Palace. A 19th century wrought iron glasshouse. The building initially just an exhibition and concert venue but in the 1880's it was turned into a greenhouse. For a city that doesn't get the most warmth or sun, this place was an oasis for the people to visit when they needed a respite from the cold.
Inside the glass while the domed structure is bright green plants growing wild and yet restrained. Plants from all over the world have lived here for 120 years. We walked through the pathways like walking through a maze. Losing each other for moments and then seeing each other reappear around the bend. We sat down for a few minutes here and there to take a break from all the walking, and there wasn't a perfect place to take a break.
9. The Hillhead Bookclub
After the gardens, and before heading home, we stopped off at the Hillhead Bookclub. The Book Club is a fun bar where patrons can play retro video games, ping-pong, board games and even order cocktails served up in a gramophone. Yes, you heard me right.
You can play Sonic the Hedgehog on old big box TVs, old gastronomic creations and play a myriad of old board games inside the dark and edgy interiors.
10. Old Salty's
To finish off a tour of the West End of Glasgow, you need to end with Fish and Chips and 'Old Salty's' is one of the best places to get it.
Don't miss out on trying the macaroni pie. Whether you eat inside or get it for "take away" it's the best way to end your day, or start it for that matter ;)