Guest Post by Charlotte Le Good
There are about seven different ways of talking about the rain in Glasgow – pelting, sprinkling, drizzling, misting, pouring, pissing it down, raining cats and dogs… the list goes on, and on (like the rain). *But* no matter how you say it, or look at it – in fact, no matter how often you pray to the Gods (or devils) of meteorology for some respite from the misery in this green, sodden land, it will probably rain in Glasgow. And you can’t let it stop you, because if you did, life would become a string of interminably dripping afternoons wasted watching the clouds glower back at you whilst your Facebook friends Instagram themselves sunbathing in every other bloody country in the world.
Yep, you’ve got to get on with it. And you should probably attempt to stay dry. Because Glasgow is a phenomenal city, really, brimming with history, art, sporting events, and music. It’s housed a renaissance (or a few, depending on who you ask), played backdrop to the high jinks of shipping moguls, the architectural monoliths of tobacco merchants, and more recently the Commonwealth Games. In the last few years Glaswegian residents have seen the likes of Harry Potter, prestigious art prizes, ghosts, whiskey breweries, MTV music awards, and Scarlett Johansson herself (gasp). From high art to popular culture to enormous sporting events, world bagpipe competitions, and everything in between, there’s something to do no matter the weather.
- Invest in a good raincoat and umbrella
With rain comes the wind, and no one is going to have any sympathy when your poor excuse for an umbrella flaps like a whirligig in a hurricane. Glasgow is a walking city, particularly the city center, and no two things are next door to one another. A good coat, and a sturdy umbrella will truly save you from pneumonia and soggy toes.
- Find somewhere with a fire
Whet your appetite and dry your toes at a traditional pub with a good roaring fire. The Belle on Great Western Road (ten minutes from the Botanical Gardens) is an absolute gem, though tiny. Other fire-side venues include The Ben Nevis (Finnieston), The 78 (Finnieston), upstairs at The Curler’s Rest (West End), and Babbity Bowster’s (city center). Scotland is known for its whiskey, but nothing beats a good mulled wine near Christmas, a Hot Toddy if your throat’s a scratchin, or a large, cold apple cider (alcoholic, of course).
- Lap up the (FREE) Art
Glasgow boasts some of the UK’s most brilliant art museums. The Kelvingrove is a must-see – not only for its extraordinary facades, or its free daily organ concerts (so cool, I swear, well, er, maybe you have to be there), but because the vast Victorian museum really has something for everyone. Art buffs can soak up the famous Salvador Dali “Christ on the St. John the Cross”, then wander the Glasgow Boys exhibitions; historians can learn about the ancient Celtic peoples of Scotland, then drool over the extensive sword and armour collection; and people who hate museums can eat delicious cake in the café while making the most of the museum’s free Wifi. If the Kelvingrove isn’t enough (and the rain keeps a-pouring), the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre (also free) is just as absorbing (and the cakes are almost as yummy).
- Let yourself Eat Cake
Scottish people love tea, and they love cake, especially tray bakes (you basically melt delicious sugary things together and cover them in chocolate, nom nom nom). Glasgow is a sea of delicious cafes – from the most decadent tea-rooms, to the healthiest vegan-ist hippsterist coffee snob joints, there is a café for everyone in every part of the city. Artisan roast by Kelvingrove park is a favourite of mine (though it sure gets steamy). Gesso at the very end of Sauchiehall street is equally fabulous, with beautiful pastries, delicious coffee, a wide selection of tea, and a reasonably priced brunch menu, loads of seating, and booze! In the West End, Café Siempre serves good coffee and lunch with comfy couches and a good student deal on Tuesday mornings. Nearer the city center, Project Café turns out sustainable, eco-friendly, and vegan offerings with proceeds going to local communities. Other cozy dives include the CCA on Sauchiehall Street, The Blue Chair on Glasgow High Street, and Offshore by Kelvingrove Park.
- Catch some live music
When it rains a lot in Glasgow, you have plenty of time to get creative. There are countless incredible bands coming out of Glasgow all the time. The city gave us Paolo Nutini, Calvin Harris, The Fratellis. And uberhip acts like Young Fathers, Chvrches, and Passenger are continuing to showcase Glasgow as an incredible city of music. If traditional music is more your thing, there are plenty of live music sessions every day of the week – from Monday nights at the Islay Inn (West End), to Wednesday day time sessions at Babbity Bowsers (Merchant city), and countless gigs in between, you’d be hard pressed not to find a cozy pub filled with fiddlers, accordions, and goodness-else-knows-what. Classical aficionados can flock to the Royal concert hall, which plays host to many a symphony orchestra, not to mention the Conservatoire musicians. Indie, folk, and blues fans will find that the bars of Sauchiehall street (Box, Nice n Sleazy, Broadcast) and Bath Street (Howlin Wolf) play host to many an acoustic night, not to mention top quality bookings. King Tuts on Bath Street is Glasgow’s most iconic music night, booking the best of up and coming musical acts in the UK (closely followed by Stereo, and The 13th Note). Last but not least, the Art School, The Berkeley Suite, and Subclub are iconic clubbing venues in Glasgow, whether you’re looking for the newest hippest strangely titled DJ, or some good old raving filth, there’ll be something worth the hangover every night of the week.
Charlotte Le Good is a 24-year old prose fiction writer and spoken word artist currently residing in Glasgow, Scotland. She holds a BHons in English and MSt in Creative Writing from Oxford University, as well as an MA in Literature from UCL. After spending two years working in a large London advertising agency, she escaped to Switzerland to work a ski season, before returning to the West Coast of Scotland, where she grew up. At the moment she is a reviewer for Scottish arts blog The Mumble, an occasional slam poetry judge, and is currently completing her first novel. Two other novels live in shoeboxes under her bed.