As part of my birthday celebration, in October 2018 my wife Margaret and I took a mini break over three days with overnight stops in Glasgow and, on our way home, Grassington. Our ‘flying’ Glasgow trip was intended as just a recce visit for us to gain a flavour of what is on offer and worthy of including in a future planned itinerary. Knowing that we would only be arriving by late-afternoon and, following an overnight stay, leaving shortly after mid-day the next day, we saw no point in trying to burden ourselves with a list of things to cram in to the time available to us! The plan was to chill and take in what took our fancy while we were there.
Our Hotel (Millennium Hotel in George Square)
I pulled into the ‘Loading Only’ bay in front of the hotel and Margaret jumped out to visit reception to enquire where we should park! The procedure is to proceed past the hotel for around 100 yards to the multi-story car park on the corner of John Street on the left (the entrance is opposite the Hip Hop Marionettes: Mural Trail #1), take a ticket at the barrier and park up. Before checking out of the hotel, ask a member of the hotel staff to exchange the ticket, for one which will discount fifty percent off the charge when it is inserted into the payment machine at the car park upon returning for the car. During our visit it was £12 for 24 hours parking.
Our room was an executive double room, city view (overlooking George Square), 441 sq. ft. with a king bed! (see first photo in slideshow). Not what we would have normally chosen but a web search had brought it up at the bargain price of £78!! That bed was extremely comfortable with room to spare – I almost needed to use the phone to talk to Margaret!! The room had its drawbacks: the heated towel rail wasn’t; there was no hot water at the basin and I could not get any hot water in the shower, although Margaret did! The dining was excellent although we thought our breakfast was excessively overcharged at £13.99 each, less £2 discounted against the continental breakfast that was inclusive. Despite this, and in respect of the price paid, we were highly satisfied with our stay. Link to Millennium Hotel
It was shortly after 4 pm as we checked in, which left time for a short tour of the city centre shops before freshening up prior to our evening meal back at the hotel. Our first port of call was Frasers – part of the House of Fraser chain – and very similar in layout to Jenners on Princess Street in Edinburgh, which is also part of the House of Fraser chain. The store is enormous and several hours could be spent shopping or just browsing there. We contented ourselves with a mini tour and a shop in the perfumery department where, as I had just used up the last of my aftershave, a purchase was made (it was my birthday the previous day!). Along with my purchase, the assistant filled the package with enough samples of other aftershaves to last me years! Margaret can’t walk past a jewelers without stopping and peering in the window. So we made slow progress as we entered the Argyll Arcade and I soon realised that every shop, on each side of us, was a jewelers! At least on this occasion I was not dragged in to any of them!!
Following our evening meal we stepped out into George Square to marvel at the atmospherically lighted, beautifully architectured old buildings along with the statues adorning the square itself. George Square was originally no more than a muddy hollow, filled with dirty water and used for slaughtering horses! Our hotel was developed initially as a Georgian row of merchants’ townhouses, including one occupied by Sir William Burrell (shipping magnate). At that time the square had been turned into a private garden for the townhouses. The row was converted into a series of hotels in the 1860s, eventually becoming united in a single business, the North British Railway Hotel, as well as part of Queens Station.
After breakfast we checked out of our hotel and checked in our cases at reception for picking up later. Then it was across the road to the corner of the square and stop number one for the City Tour Bus. From our experience in Edinburgh, we were confident that the tour would give us the quickest and most informative introduction to the city, as well as guiding us between destinations with the minimum of fuss. Stop one is the only point on the route where a card machine is made available to take ticket payments, although a cash payment option is available at all stops. A ticket lasts 48 hours and allows the holder to hop on and off any bus, at any stop, at any time during that 48 hours! Our bus had a tour guide but others rely on a pre-recorded commentary, accessed via provided earphones that plug into standard jack sockets at each seat position. The quality of the earphones isn’t the best so, if you have a personal ear/headphone/Bluetooth transmitter with a standard jack available, consider using that instead. Details of bus route and stops, attractions, timetable and prices can be found here. Hop On Hop Off City Tour Bus
Stop 16 was where we first hopped off our bus at Margaret’s suggestion in order to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. This was another large impressive building which comprised a labyrinth of rooms holding a huge and wide variety of exhibits. We spent two hours working our way through the rooms, which was not enough to fully digest everything we saw! We resumed our bus journey via stops 16, through 21 to return to stop one and complete our City Tour.
Before we collected our cases from the hotel there was time for a short informative walk around George Square and the surrounding area using a printed guide that we had brought with us. The guide picks out interesting buildings and highlights their outstanding features. The guide that we downloaded plus other attractions can be viewed here 30-minute Geek Walk and via the following links Other Geek Walks and People Make Glasgow website
During the walk, while we were in Buchanan Street, we took the opportunity to drop down into the recently refurbed Subway station. We didn’t have time to take a journey this trip but a comprehensive tour will be on the agenda for our next trip! Information on the Glasgow Underground can be viewed by following the links Strathclyde Partnership for Transport website and Glasgow Subway – Wikipedia
As we only visited a very small amount of what we discovered is on offer, we are now aware that, just like with Edinburgh, there are sufficient attractions to fill several return visits! For a short pictorial summary of our Glasgow activities click on A Photo Slideshow flavour from our short recce.