Welcome to Glasgow: your guide to enjoying the city outside COP26
Illustration | Tracy Worrall
5 min read
For delegates lucky enough to find a moment of spare time, COP26 host city Glasgow is home to a world-class array of food, attractions and entertainment. Noa Hoffman’s guide highlights some of the city’s best offerings.
Scotland is “one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world, the history is fascinating, the men are handsome and the whisky is delicious”. So said the bestselling author and Scotland resident, JK Rowling.
Nowhere does the Harry Potter creator’s assessment ring more true than in the country’s most populous city, Glasgow. Overflowing with cultural attractions, great restaurants and an atmosphere no other could replicate, Glasgow is full of excitement and unique, rugged charm. As tens of thousands of world leaders, diplomats, activists and scientists descend on the city for a history-defining summit, they will find they couldn’t be better located to discuss one of the most important issues humanity faces today.
COP26 will be a jam-packed 13 days. But for those keen to explore the host city, whether out of curiosity or perhaps a much-needed break, here are The House’s top recommendations.
When fresh air, a clear head or change of scene is needed, COP26 delegates will find themselves spoilt for choice.
Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis
Dating from 1197, the church is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland and has a fascinating 800-year history. The beautiful medieval building sits west of the Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian garden cemetery renowned for its architecture, sculptures and fascinating history.
George Square is the principal of five civic squares in Glasgow and is considered by many to be the beating heart of the city. Housing Glasgow City Council it also contains statues and monuments honouring the lives of famous Scots Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and James Watt, and two-time PM Sir Robert Peel.
Glasgow’s primary shopping thoroughfare will satisfy any retail need. The characterful street features a range of upmarket stores alongside stunning architecture.
Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery
Few beverages encapsulate a city in the way Tennent’s does for Glasgow. The beer, renowned for its iconic red “T” branding, is a staple among Scottish pub-goers and you’d be hard pressed to find a resident who isn’t a fan. Tennent’s brewery tours are a fantastic way to discover the history of the drink and brewing process.
The University of Glasgow
Scotland’s largest university by student population and the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world is worth a visit for its spectacular architecture. The university comprises more than 100 listed buildings and offers hour-long, student-led walking tours.
RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
With an option to suit every budget, COP26-goers will have no problem finding the perfect spot to wine, dine and lobby after long days of debate, discussion and negotiations.
The Ubiquitous Chip ££
Located in the Glasgow foodie hotspot of Ashton Lane, the Ubiquitous Chip is renowned for its fine dining menu comprised of fresh Scottish produce. The restaurant has a stunning interior featuring an enchanting hanging garden. Food connoisseurs travel from far and wide for the Aberdeen Angus fillet steak au poivre.
This delightful seafood restaurant is owned by a family of fishermen from the Western Isles of Scotland. At an affordable price, patrons can dine on Michelin-quality lobster and crab cakes, among a range of other dishes. With Scottish seafood among the best in the world, this cosy eatery is not to be missed.
Sugo Pasta £
Situated smack bang in the city centre, Sugo offers a wide variety of pasta dishes served as they would be in Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia. Each dish is paired with sauces and ingredients authentic to the region from which they originated. The restaurant serves on a walk-in basis, so no reservations are required.
The 78 £
The all-vegan bar and kitchen situated by Kelvingrove Park offers a range of delicious mains, small plates and deserts. With reducing meat and dairy intake a key step in the fight against climate change, the restaurant is the perfect dining spot for COP26 delegates.
Glasgow hosts an excellent range of sporting activities and events.
Celtic is one of Glasgow’s main football clubs with a large and excitable fanbase. While no home games are scheduled during COP26, the club’s home stadium Celtic Park offers tours and dining experiences popular among Scottish football fans.
Another of Glasgow’s beloved football clubs, Rangers are based at Ibrox Stadium (insert above). The club will be playing a home game against Ross County on November 7. Kick-off is at 3pm.
One of two professional rugby union sides based in Scotland, the Warriors are beloved among fans of the sport. No home games are scheduled during COP26 but the team is worth watching during any return visits to the city.
BARS AND PUBS
Whether you’re toasting a successful negotiation, drowning your sorries or just looking for somewhere to enjoy Glasgow’s unbeatable nightlife, when the sun sets on the Clyde these venues are the place to be.
The Flying Duck
The underground bar and live music venue is a shining example of Glasgow’s world-class cultural offerings. With a vegan kitchen, pool table, quizzes, film screenings and drag karaoke, The Flying Duck has all the ingredients for a memorable night out.
The Ben Nevis Bar
Located on the bustling Argyle Street, the classic Scottish pub located close to the Science Centre is famous for its jovial atmosphere and live music. Pub-goers can sip on a variety of whiskeys while enjoying traditional Scottish music.
The beerhall, garden and restaurant fuses German beer culture with Scottish hospitality. Craft beer connoisseurs will find themselves in heaven with a colossal menu of freshly brewed drinks. There’s also a great food menu.
The beer garden is renowned for its setting and impressive drinks menu. Patrons can sip on classic and innovative cocktails while enjoying the warmth and glow of the outdoor firepits.
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