A Few of Glasgow's Hidden Gems!

Glasgow, UK

Hello, it's been a while! I'm fairly sure at some point I've mentioned my ever-growing love affair with Glasgow. Sadly, I don't get the chance to visit as often as I'd like but every time I do, the city shows me a little bit more of its distinct charm. So, I thought it was high time I share another blog post about this wonderful city. By no means do I know Glasgow as well as Edinburgh, but I have discovered a few of Glasgow's hidden gems which I wanted to share with you. A quick note before we begin, most of the hidden gems are concentrated near the west end (as that's the area I've explored the most), but I hope that you still enjoy them. I plan to update the blog post when I discover new ones, so please do add any recommendations to the comments below!

A Few of Glasgow's Hidden Gems!


1. The Lighthouse & panoramic views over Glasgow (Free)
  • Location: 11 Mitchell Lane
I'm not 100% sure if locals would call this a hidden gem per se, but the first time I peeked my head down Mitchell Lane and spotted the row of illuminated signs which leads to the Lighthouse, it felt like I was stumbling across a real hidden gem. For those of you who haven't heard of The Lighthouse, it's Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture with various exhibition spaces. From my experience, the Lighthouse has a few rooms which host ever-changing exhibitions. In fact, one of my favourite exhibitions I've ever been to was at the Lighthouse, and it was called 'Sample' by Collect Scotland. I found it fascinating as it aimed to shine a light on the textile design industry where designers are often not credited for commercial work. As well as exhibition spaces, the Lighthouse has a permanent exhibition solely dedicated to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's (Glasgow’s most famous architect) life and work. Lastly, the Lighthouse has two viewing platforms which overlook the city. If you're in a rush and had to choose one, I would opt for the spectacular helical staircase in the Mackintosh Centre which leads you up the original water tower designed by Mackintosh to the outdoor viewing platform.

2. The Tenement Museum (£7.50 or Free for National Trust Members)
  • Location: 145 Buccleuch Street, Garnethill
The Tenement Museum is a very recent and unexpected discovery of mine. As I was walking to the West End, I noticed a sign to the Tenement Museum and since I had time I decided to pop in. What a lovely surprise it was! As I pulled the old fashioned doorbell and entered the middle-class tenement, I was transported back in time to early 20th century Glasgow. One of the first things to catch my attention was the faint smell of gas, which automatically alarmed me until I found out that the flat has working gaslights. The flat consists of four rooms which once belonged to shorthand typist Miss Agnes Toward and her mother. Volunteers are always on hand to tell stories and reveal what it meant to be an independent woman during that time. If I remember correctly, the reason why the flat is an authentic time capsule is that Miss Toward was in hospital for the last ten years of her life and when she passed away a relative visited her house to find it frozen-in-time, thankfully the National Trust bought it and has done a great job of preserving it. 

3. Kibble Palace and the Glasgow Botanic Gardens (Free)
  • Location: 730 Great Western Road
You'll find the Glasgow's Botanic Gardens nestled away in the west end. Again, I'm not sure locals would consider this a hidden gem but having visited Glasgow on various occasions and even being in the vicinity several times, I didn't actually get around to visiting it till earlier this year. As I expected, I had an absolutely marvellous time. My friend and I were shocked by the number of various glasshouses, with the stand out one being Kibble Palace. After a little research, I've discovered that it was designed by John Kibble who originally built it at his home Coulport House in Cove on Loch Long as a private conservatory. Later, it was dismantled and moved by barge to Glasgow where it was to be reconstructed in the Botanic Gardens. Thanks to the typical Scottish weather, I didn't get a chance to explore the grounds so I've added that to my Glasgow bucket list. 

4. Tchai-Ovna House of Tea
  • Location: 42 Otago Lane
I owe a huge thanks to Strumpets (a cafe in the west end of Edinburgh) for introducing me to this wonderful tea house as I most definitely wouldn't have discovered it on my own. Tchai-Ovna was started in 2000 by a few students and has become somewhat of a Glasgow institution. The cafe is fairly easy to miss as it's tucked away down Otago Lane, and serves up various vegetarian dishes as well as stocking over 100 teas. Once inside, the cafe has an eclectic, relaxed Boho vibe. I could easily spend hours sipping away on their various teas, and if you wanted to you could as they're open from 11am-11pm.

5. West End Lanes (Free)
  • Location: 42 Otago Lane
I'm not very familiar with the boundaries of the west end but here are a few quaint lanes I've discovered while exploring the west end.
  • Ashton Lane: One of the more famous lanes on the list, Ashton Lane is a somewhat well-love Instagram spot and I can see why. It's extremely quirky, has various places to eat, and even a cinema! 
  • Cresswell Lane: I came across this when I was doing a little research for this blog and it looks like Ashton Lane's cousin. Must add it to my list to visit next time. 
  • Park Circus Lane: Thanks to @edienthusiast for finding this little lane on our trip to Glasgow last year. Naturally, once we heard Glasgow has a Circus Lane, we just had to visit it. I don't think it rivals Edinburgh's Circus Lane but it has a very distinct charm.
  • Park Terrace Lane: You'll find this lane practically across the road from Park Circus Lane. It's a real hodgepodge of different styles but I think that makes it all the more interesting! 

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