Thank you to my guest writer, Glasgow local Caroline McCaw, for her insight into some of the best things to do in Glasgow’s buzzing Southside area. Now that I’m based in Seoul, I don’t have much time to explore or write about my bonnie homeland, so it’s great to have someone to do it for me! Thanks again for such a great article!
Visitors to Glasgow are often drawn to the West End of the city. Home to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the University of Glasgow, the West End is a top spot for tourists. Take a trip to Byres Road and you’ll find a hedonistic paradise of boutique shops, trendy bars and quaint cafes – it’s no wonder people are drawn here!
But over the last few years, the Southside has fast become one of the most intriguing parts of the city. There is a buzz in the Southside and a community spirit unlike anywhere else in Glasgow. The area is home to people of all walks of life and this eclectic mix of cultures has created a vibrant (and sometimes quirky!) community.
Things to do in Glasgow’s Southside
The Bungo Bar & Kitchen
Before you embark on your Southside adventure, fill up on a hearty breakfast at The Bungo! Located in the area of Strathbungo, voted one of the best places to live in the UK, The Bungo is a local favourite. Their breakfast and brunch menu is available until 4:30 pm so treat yourself to a long lie before popping in for a tasty breakfast. There are veggie options available, its doggy-friendly and you can even have a cocktail with your breakfast – what more could you ask for!
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) from the city centre and get off at Queen’s Park on Pollokshaws Road. Breakfast ranges from £4-£8.50. (www.thebungo.co.uk)
The Govanhill Baths are close to the heart of every Govanhill-ian. The building was originally a public bathhouse in the early 1900’s and later became a popular swimming spot for the residents of Govanhill. When the council tried to close the building in 2001, locals occupied the building for almost five months in protest and there was a picket line outside the building for a year after it closed.
A few years ago, it reopened as a community hub offering free health and wellbeing workshops, yoga classes and even film screenings. The building itself is beautiful and it’s a true testament to the community who fought to protect it!
Take a First Bus (4,5,6,7) from the city centre and get off at Victoria Road. Admission is free but some classes/events have a small fee. (www.govanhillbaths.com)
At the very heart of the Southside is Queens Park, loved by locals and tourists alike. You could easily spend a few hours here feeding ducks in the pond, walking through the poet’s garden. Don’t miss The Glasshouse which houses a café, botanical garden, pond with koi fish and – if you’re feeling brave – a hot house with snakes, spiders and reptiles. Take a wander to the flagpole at the very top of the park and you’ll enjoy one of the best views of the city.
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) from the city centre and get off at Queen’s Park on Pollokshaws Road. Admission to the park and The Glasshouse is free. (http://www.friendsofqueensparkglasgow.org.uk)
For a laidback lunch, check out Coffescene in Battlefield. This café has a relaxed vibe and a great menu. They do a lunch deal – any sandwich/toastie/panini, a packet of crisps/piece of fruit and a coffee for £6! Try and grab yourself a spot on one of the comfy leather sofas, enjoy the free wi-fi and relax to the sounds of Marvin Gaye and The Drifters.
Take a First Bus (4,5) from the city centre and get off after the New Victoria Hospital. You’ll find it on the corner opposite the Battlefield Rest restaurant. Coffeescene is open til 9:00pm during the week, 8:00pm on Saturdays and 6:00pm on a Sunday.
Tramway is a real hidden gem and well worth a visit! It might not look like much from the outside but this aircraft hangar like building houses a trendy café and various exhibition and performance spaces. Check ahead and plan your visit – there’s always exhibitions, stand-up comedy and performing arts on. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend trying to catch Ballet Black! Don’t forget to visit The Hidden Gardens out back too.
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) from the city centre and get off at the McDonalds on Pollokshaws Road. Admission to Tramway and The Hidden Gardens is free but special events may incur a fee and advance booking is recommended. (www.tramway.org; www.thehiddengardens.org.uk)
The Rum Shack Bar & Canteen
If you’re looking for a fun night out, get yourself down to The Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road. This Caribbean bar and canteen has a great selection of traditional Caribbean food (I’d recommend the jerk chicken with jasmine rice or the goat curry!) and an impressive drinks menu. They have live music and DJs from 9pm at the weekend, and if you fancy a dance then you can head downstairs to The Dancehall which opens at 11 pm at the weekend.
The Dancehall is a pretty laidback club, entry is only £3, the dress code is pretty casual and it’s a mixed crowd of 20- and 30- somethings just out for a good time. Join in the fun with a glass of the house ‘rum punch’, don’t be fooled by its refreshing and fruity taste – this cocktail is serious stuff! A hearty breakfast at Bungo the following morning may be required!
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) and get off just after The Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road. Meals range from about £8 – £12 but check the Facebook page for weekly deals and student discounts. (www.rumshackglasgow.com)
The Allison Arms
The Allison Arms is the pub everyone wishes was their ‘local’. Drinks are well priced, the music is good, the bar staff always have a smile and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. If you’re looking for a taste of Glaswegian hospitality then look no further than The Allison Arms! Most nights, it’s packed with locals but new faces are always welcome and you’re sure to make friends here.
It closes at 12 pm but it’s just across the road from The Dancehall so you can always head over there for a dance afterwards. End your night with chips n’ cheese from the takeaway beside The Allison Arms and you can consider yourself a true Southsider!
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) and get off just after The Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road. The Allison Arms . Meals range from about £8 – £12 but check the Facebook page for weekly deals and student discounts. (www.rumshackglasgow.com)
The Scotland Street School was designed for the Glasgow School Board by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the early 1900s. The school is now a museum showing how education has changed in Scotland over the last 100 years. The building is beautiful and fans of Charles Rennie Mackintosh will not be disappointed by its striking design. The museum itself is great fun and really interactive – once inside you can wander freely around the school, sit in reconstructed classrooms, play with chalkboards or old school toys and even dress up like a pupil!
Take the subway to Shields Road, the school is just a minutes walk down Scotland Street. Admission is free and the school is open Tues to Sun. (https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/ venues/scotland-street-school-museum)
Some Great Reward and the Oxfam Music & Book Store
There are a growing number of independent stores and boutiques opening in the Southside. Victoria Road is a great place for a browse around the shops. Vinyl fans should check out Some Great Reward.
This little vinyl store and café is a great stop for coffee and cake and a browse through their impressive record collection. The records are at the back of the café and there’s even a record player and headphones on hand so you can have a listen before you make your final purchase. They sell high quality and brand new records so you won’t find a second-hand bargain here but you will find a few rarities that are worth every penny!
If you’re looking for second-hand vinyl then the Oxfam Music and Books store further up Victoria Road is a great place to pick up records from the 80s and 90s at a great price. Rare finds don’t stay on the shelves long so be sure to check out the new releases section and snap some records up quick.
Take a First Bus (4,5,6) from the city centre and get off at Victoria Road just before Queen’s Park. (www.somegreatreward.scot)
I hope that this guide has inspired you to visit this lesser known part of Glasgow on your next trip to the city! Glasgow has so much to see and should be on the UK tourist map just as much as London or Edinburgh.
Are you going to add this cosmopolitan city to your Scotland Itinerary?
Hey everyone, Happy May! I hope you all had an eventful April, a great Easter and managed to see some Spring blooms. As most of you know, I’m writing this update from Seoul! I moved back to Korea late last month after 1 year of being out the country and, oh my god, it’s so nice to be back! Do you have a country that feels like your second home? That’s Korea for me.. and although I didn’t always love living here, it’s a pretty special place that I have all kinds of nostalgia for.
I’ve been back for almost 2 weeks now…. say, what!? And I’ve been up to a fair bit- but I’ll tell you all about that in due time. For now, here my chat from April.
Where I’ve Been
I spent my final month in Chiang Mai doing the exact same things that I spent every other month doing: saying I’d go places and then barely dragging myself out of Nimman coffee shops. By the time it was my big leaving day, I didn’t want to leave at all. A tiny part of me wanted to sleep right through my 5 am alarm clock and save Korea for another time but I dragged myself up and go out to the airport. It seemed like my 5 months in Chiang Mai went by so quickly and I knew there would be a lot I’d miss about the easy breezy city.
My friends. The low cost of living. The lady who made chicken fried rice on my street. My awesome yoga studio. KHAO SOI.
My experience with leaving places always sems to be the same. A month before I go, I can’t get wait to get away, then, painfully, a few days before, the place digs its claws in and I don’t want to go.
And this was unsurprising really since April was such a fun month.
Thai’s celebrate Songkran, Thai New Year, in April and it’s something I recommend you experience at least once in your life! In Chiang Mai, the festival lasts for 5 days, making it the biggest celebration in the country. I spent one of the days getting right in aboot it with my Hello Kitty water gun- which couldn’t really compete with the jetpack water pistols and buckets everyone else had! The rest of the time, I got involuntarily “in aboot it” since, you can’t really escape Songkran, even if you want to!
I didn’t realise that my auld street in Santitham was actually going to be a bit of an epicentre for all the action. There was a guy sitting outside my apartment with a massive bucket of water and a bottle of whisky all weekend having a rare time to himself. I literally had to change my clothes every single time I left the house and time my trips out accordingly.
I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life- in Scotland, we think we love New Year but I think the Thais are outdoing us. It was literally 5 days of constant celebrations, Sangsom and soggy pants.
And then a few weeks later, it was time to leave! I was gutted. I made a fab Irish pal in Chiang Mai who I was gutted to say bye too. I’ve made a lot of friends in my past 4 years of being an expat but can count the amazing friends on one, maybe, two hands. So, it’s always a bit of a sting when I need to let good pals go. I’d love to sit here and say, I’ll make similar friends again soon but I know that’s probably not true. It is what it is.
But, I’m still glad to say that as soon as I touched down in Seoul, all my jitters about leaving Chiang Mai stopped! Which leads me to my next destination…
I’m now a Seoulite- can you believe it? I actually only visited Seoul a handful of times when I lived in Korea so it’s crazy to be living here. Seoul is actually my favourite place in the whole country (maybe my favourite city in the world after Glasgow?) so I kind of pinch myself whenever I catch a glimpse of Namsan Tower or hear the jingle music playing on the subway.
It’s a wee bit sad how starstruck I’ve been by everything.
I’ve been settling back into life here pretty easily and, tbh, can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. There’s honestly so much to do that its kind of overwhelming. Art parks. Mural villages. Themed coffee shops. Quirky shopping districts. And, of course, all the touristy stuff that I’ve never got around to seeing on my previous dashing visits.
Seoul seems to be the perfect place for me. I have super fast WiFi, a million places to work from, I’m surrounded by a language that I’m loving learning, there are great blogging opportunities, good swatch and all my favourite food is here, too.
I was going to make a cheesy joke about Seoul being my soulmate but I’ll spare you the cringiness.
Since coming here, I’ve met up with Marie from Be Marie Korea, hosted an online entrepreneurship to a group of 6 amazing ladies and I’ll F I N A L LY be meeting up with Samantha from There She Goes Again. Sam and I both started our blogs at roughly the same times and have been pretty close internet pals ever since- she’s one of those people who it’s kind of weird to think I’ve never actually met before.
What teatime looks like with creatives around the table!
So buzzing for us to finally meet IRL!
And I also had the perfect day out in Gapyeong last week- after living in eternal summer for a year, I managed to experience Spring and Autumn, my two favourite seasons, both at the same time at The Garden of Morning Calm.
Hoping to be reporting back with even more cute day trip tales next month!
Any Other News?
I’ve got nae chat actually. Aside from my big move, it’s been back to normality for a bit! I’m sure I’ll have drama soon or a major life derailment soon, though- don’t worry.
Most Popular IG Pic
Awww, it seems like everyone else loves multicoloured Mexico just as much as I do!
This month is going to be all about discovering all the places in Seoul I’ve still not been to, publishing more blog content and doing more work. I’m basically just going to be living like a Seoul kid and giving you all the chat on Instagram and Facebook!