I had only been to Glasgow twice before I chose to move here. Once for less than an hour, and the second time for a single weekend whilst I looked for a place to live, my lease to start when I relocated from London less than two weeks later.
Glasgow is a strange city – it seems to me such a young city, trying to grow up and throw off the influence of its more regal brother, Edinburgh. Edinburgh and Glasgow are two cities that could not be any more different, just like siblings who grew up a handful of years apart. Yet, despite its apparent youth it is an old and established city, rich with its own history and culture far removed from any other city in the UK, let alone within Scotland. In fact, Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the fifth largest in the UK.
Glasgow grew up an industrial city, and is in fact the largest city in Scotland, although if you are used to the skyscrapers of New York or Sydney, you will have to rethink your idea of “large” when it comes to Scottish cities. This of course is in stark contrast to Edinburgh, Scotland’s petite capital of towering castles, church spires and embellished monuments.
Glasgow is a city of contrasts
I moved to Glasgow in the midst of winter, and if you plan to visit, or even more, to this city, I highly recommend doing to during this time. Glasgow is the city of contrasts – long winter twilit skies ever brightened by amber street lamps and golden fairy lights that are hung here and there throughout the city to illume the festive season.
No matter what your predilection of entertainment, Glasgow offers it all. The shopping along Sauchiehall (pronounced Sock-ee-hall), Buchanan, and Argyle Streets is some of the best to be found outside of London with offerings for all, with stores ranging from Primark to Armani, and your usual department stores: House of Fraser, John Lewis, and Debenhams.
If food is your thing, Glasgow and it’s West End is a cacophony of cuisines all offering tantalising treats for your taste buds and indulgences. I have lived in Glasgow now for 10 months yet still find myself scratching the surface of places to eat, things to eat. Although the UK may not offer the most authentic of east-Asian cuisine, you’ll find the best of it in Glasgow. Of course, not to be forgotten is the multitude of traditional (non-chain!) pubs, bars, and venues that line every street of Glasgow’s city centre.
Friendly, funny, with a love of banter
Food and shopping aside, Glasgow is full of countless parks which all offer the perfect excuse to head outdoors no matter the weather. I myself have only explored a few of these, Pollock Country Park, Bellahouston Park, Queens Park, but no matter where you are staying or living there are plenty of places for you to stretch the legs and explore.
And let’s not forget the people of Glasgow! Friendly, funny, with a love of banter, I have never met a friendlier people more than happy to help out a stray traveller or immigrant. Of course, there are a few who give the rest a bad reputation, but it’s always the worst of people who shout the loudest, and I haven’t met any of these sorts throughout my life here. Personally, I think their reputation, their bark, is far worse than their bite and I have been nothing but welcome since my relocation.
I may have moved to Glasgow on a whim, my plans instead involving Edinburgh, and although at first I may have had some doubts (don’t we all after a major move?), I am glad to call this city home, and enjoy all my future adventures along its cobbled streets.