Student cities: studying in Glasgow
Scotland’s biggest city is buzzing. It has the largest city centre shopping area outside of London’s West End, catering for all types and tastes. It boasts a mosaic of must-see spots – galleries, museums, sports arenas, a giant crane with spectacular views from its top, even the longest bar in Europe. And it’s known as one of the cultural hotspots of Europe with warehouses full of artists and musicians. Seven Turner Prize-winning artists have been born in, studied, in or have been based in the city in recent years. Whether you like your nightlife loud, genteel, chatty or offbeat, Glasgow after hours does not disappoint.
Free and cheap stuff to do in Glasgow
As well as bags of culture and history, Glasgow has the Titan Clydebank, an old shipbuilding crane that you can pay £4 to climb and get spectacular views across the city from 150 feet up.
If the weather is fine, wander the city’s streets, particularly Argyle Street (for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery), George Square (for the street entertainers) and Sauciehall Street (for shops and bars).
There’s a lot of fine architecture to see, much of it by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 –1928) – one of the city’s most famous people. The Glasgow School of Art is his best known work but see also The Mackintosh House, The Willow Tea Rooms and Queen’s Cross Church. There’s also plenty to view that’s quirky and modern, including the weird, zig-zag roof of the Riverside Museum, the entertainments complex SSE Hydro, Emirates Arena, and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
‘The Dear Green Place’ is the Gaelic translation of Glasgow – an apt title for somewhere with upwards of 90 parks and gardens. If you take the train from Central Station and get off after just a few minutes you can even see Highland cattle, or try out the mountain bike circuits in the grounds of the Pollok Park.
There’s much to do indoors too. The city has more than 20 museums and galleries, nearly all of which have free admission. This includes Britain’s second most visited museum, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. You can wander the city and see anything from a World War Two Spitfire fighter plane, Europe’s largest publicly owned arts collection or preserved body parts, if you’re feeling gruesome. If you love books, The Mitchell Library is Europe’s largest public reference library.
If your university doesn’t have a society for your hobby of choice (and Glasgow’s universities have lots of societies), there will be a group for you in the city. Juggling, skateboarding, singing in a barbershop quartet and advanced cooking skills could all be within your grasp.
Shopping in Glasgow
In Glasgow, the potential for successful retail therapy is huge. Shoppers can soothe themselves among rows of vintage shops, high tech stores and a range of shopping malls.
The West End is still the best known shopping area. Merchant City is full of former tobacco warehouses converted into boutique shops and interesting bars.
The Barras is the city’s long-established, outdoor, weekend market for vintage goods and bric-a-brac. If that doesn’t meet your needs, Sloans Market in the city centre is another popular choice. Blochairn flea market is a cut-price car boot sale with vinyl, rare books, food, clothes, junk and lots more besides on sale. Come along early as it’s very popular.
Fancy eating out in an Indian restaurant? Glasgow has won the Curry Capital of Britain title four times. Only Bradford has taken that accolade more often.
The city isn’t short of many things – certainly not pubs. The Horseshoe Bar in Drury Street features the longest pub bar in Europe, at 104 feet and three inches. There are a lot of drinks you could line up along it. Several of the city’s bars come with a twist – for example running life drawing classes, knitting groups or selling specialist whiskies.
Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music. It is the base for the Scottish Ballet and Symphony Orchestra, but it is also home to great indie music acts from Primal Scream to – more recently – Glasvegas. And if indie guitar bands aren’t your thing, don’t worry: there are live music clubs and night clubs catering for all musical tastes. Take your pick from rock clubs, soul clubs, world music clubs, clubs that encourage cheesy clothes and others that want you spick and span in vintage clothes. Nice‘n’Sleazy is one of Glasgow’s most celebrated clubs. Don’t let the name put you off, it’s just a club where DJs play anything from reggae to punk.
There’s a good choice of independent cinemas in the city. Glasgow Film Theatre is one of the finest.
If you’re looking for work experience
There are opportunities with local businesses across many sectors. The following are particularly strong in Glasgow: leisure and tourism, retail, engineering, IT, finance, healthcare, biosciences, higher education, media, marketing and communications.