The 29 best things to do in Glasgow right now
Glasgow has always oozed cool, but it’s only gotten cooler. After all, this is the city home to a number of cracking live music venues and nightclubs, bars full of character, and an ever-growing young creative community keeping the party going. This city is the perfect balance of it all: elegant Victorian architecture, fantastic restaurants and plenty of museums and galleries to explore, which makes it great for a weekend break or a much longer stay. In fact, you might just find yourself wanting to move here full time (everyone else is doing it). From green space to vintage shops, here are the best things to do in Glasgow right now. RECOMMENDED:🍔 The best restaurants in Glasgow🏛 The best attractions in Glasgow🏨 The best hotels in Glasgow This guide was recently updated by Laura Menéndez, a writer based in Glasgow. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
What to do in Kelvinbridge, Glasgow’s coolest neighbourhood
What’s the deal with Kelvinbridge? Walking westwards across the Kelvin Bridge by night, the glowing apex of the illuminated university spire just visible behind the Hillhead tenement skyline, the moonlight rippling on the typically rain-swollen waters of the river as it roars beneath your feet – can there be any more quintessential or enchanting view anywhere in Glasgow? The point where Great Western Road spans the River Kelvin (technically the Great Western Bridge, but nobody calls it that) has been a key nexus of the West End for centuries. And in recent years, as Byres Road’s fortunes have faded and Finnieston has reached trendiness saturation point, the Kelvinbridge area has seen a flurry of new openings – shops, bars, restaurants, cafés, arts venues and even a radio station – helping to reinvigorate what was already one of the prettiest, most historic and most happening neighbourhoods in the city. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world If you only do one thing... Go vintage. The Kelvinbridge area is one of the best in Glasgow for retro retail therapy of every kind – be it vintage clothes at Glasgow Vintage Co or Retro, furniture at Authentics, books at Thistle Books or vinyl from Mixed Up. Go off the beaten track Find the leafy riverside footpath beneath Kelvin Bridge and follow your feet. Head south through Kelvingrove Park or north past the Botanic Gardens – two of the city’s most gorgeous green spaces. Fancy exploring a little further? H
What’s it really like being a barber in Finnieston, Glasgow?
Scott Hughes, 46, thinks men need more places where they can just rock up and chat – and says barbers like his, Soul Barber Room, are the perfect fit. So, what else has he learned styling hair in Glasgow’s Finnieston? It’s all about the chat‘Cutting hair is the middle ground to a good conversation. The amount of people you meet, from every walk of life, is the great thing with this profession. I’ve worked everywhere from London to San Francisco and Dublin. But Scottish people will talk about anything.’ Barbering has enjoyed a big renaissance in recent years‘A massive hole developed in barbering in the 1980s, for the simple fact that a lot of older barbers were dying off. A lot of guys started visiting ladies’ hair salons, because it was a much more pleasing environment. Now there are loads of new barbers, doing super-cool cuts, which is great. Men need more places where they can come and just chat. There should be a barber shop or hairdressers for everybody.’ Some men will open up to their barber more than they would to a therapist‘There’s not a desk between us, a barrier. We’re in close proximity, there’s contact, it’s a pretty personal thing. I’ve had people who have told me about coming into hundreds of thousands of pounds and going to some exotic destination and squandering it all. An elderly gent who had been in the shop bequeathed me his northern soul record collection after he passed away – it turned out he had been a DJ at Wigan Casino.’ Boring conversation is the
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Public House by Nico
Flushed by the success of his other two establishments – flagship 111 by Nico in Kelvindale and its younger sister Six by Nico in Finnieston – it’s with justifiable swagger that Scots-Italian restaurateur Nico Simeone takes over the former premises of The Mallard for his new, rustic-yet-refined gastropub. The idea may have been knocking around for a while. High-end (yet still affordable) chippy food was a theme of Six by Nico, and Public House similarly plays on elevating unassuming Scottish classics. Indeed, some flourishes, such as serving one dish – smoked chicken ‘sandwich’ cock-a-leekie – under a smoke-filled transparent cloche for a theatrical reveal, are recycled from the Six repertoire. But in terms of value for money, Public House doesn’t compete with Six. The standard of cooking is consistently high (try the fish pie with dulse seaweed butter, and the flat iron steak with chimmichuri) but you’re paying gastropub main prices for small dishes. Somewhere between the delicious, yet lonely-looking, burger, or the beer-battered haddock on mushy peas, sans chips (they’re extra), you may yearn for the comfort of tradition: filling, rib-sticking portions, bang for your buck and a few pints (not schooners as they serve here). The chestnut gnocchi diced up with sprout tops and smoked pancetta or tender lamb faggots with zingy mint sauce may leave you wanting more, but not necessarily ina good way.
Seven must-see comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe
Your laughter muscles duly rested by a diet of Dostoevsky and Adam Sandler movies throughout the early summer, you’ll be ready and crying out by now for the comedic onslaught of the Edinburgh Fringe. Everywhere from street corners to enormo-venues, you’ll find all kinds of people vying to make you think they’re the most hilarious thing since internet videos of cats, be they stand-ups, sketch troupes, improvisers, absurdist performance artists or just plain freeform weirdoes. Let us help you sort the funny hahas from the funny hows by highlighting six shows we think will be definite winners this Fringe, from promising up-and-comers to senior stars. Katy Brand: I Was a Teenage ChristianLong before her critically-acclaimed Big Ass Show for ITV and subsequent sidestep into novel writing, Katy Brand (pictured) was literally a teenage Christian who attended church four times a week between the ages of 13 and 20, doing her utmost to put the “fun” into fundamentalism. An autobiographical solo show on that subject heralds Brand’s very welcome return to live comedy for the first time since 2010, as she relives seven years of being “an obnoxious, self-important dick”, albeit one who at least knew she was going to heaven. If heaven is a three-week run of daily shows at the Pleasance, then truly she has made it. Pleasance Courtyard, until August 29 (not 15), 4.45pm Burnistoun Live at the FringeGlaswegians go where no true Glaswegian goes willingly: 50 minutes east on the train to that
Eight of the best late-night shows at the Fringe
The massive irony of paying so much for digs in Edinburgh during the Fringe is that you don’t go there to do boring things like sleep. With opening hours relaxed during August – 3am for most pubs, 5am for clubs and some of the larger venues – you can entertain yourself more or less 24/7. There are always a load of good (and typically quite noisy/rowdy) shows on to cater to the night owls. Here’s a round-up of eight different reasons to stay up well past your bedtime at the Fringe, from late-night comedy and cabaret, to club nights. Who eats breakfast anyway? Russian Standard House of Davai presents PingTronWe’re not sure who had the ingenious idea of a quickfire table tennis tournament with the lights turned off and a load of Russian vodka poured into the mix, but we definitely salute them. Illuminated only by the spooky-futuristic glow of UV lights to help guide the balls over the net, this sure to be wildly popular event sounds like stupidly good fun. Gilded Balloon Teviot, August 11-14, 18-21 and 26-28, 12.15am Beardyman: One Album Per HourLondon beatboxer, live looping maestro and comedian Beardyman – AKA Darren Foreman – takes musical prolificacy to the next level with his latest sure-to-sell-out Fringe show. The vocal virtuoso capable of emitting, manipulating and capturing just about any sound you can conceivably think of will create a whole album every night based on audience suggestions. Pleasance Courtyard, August 18-24, 11.45pm Frisky and Mannish: CabaRIOTFam
Five of the best circus acts at the Fringe
Circus is increasingly becoming an established part of the Edinburgh Fringe, as one of the world’s oldest forms of public entertainment only rightly should. The Underbelly Circus Hub venue on The Meadows has returned for 2016 with an even bigger programme of British and international artists, each of them helping to reshape audience’s preconceptions of what circus is all about (clue: it’s not custard pie throwing clowns or lion-tamers). There’s a whole variety of other acrobatic, gymnastic, equilibristic and comedic circus routines to be seen at other venues throughout the city. Here’s a round-up of five that have caught our eye. Ockham’s Razor: Tipping Point Returning for a second consecutive year, following 2015’s award-winning double-bill ‘Arc and Every Action…’, one of the UK’s leading aerial theatre companies present another inspired and fearless new work at the Fringe. Performed in the round, up close and personal with the audience, its sees five performers manipulate five-metre metal poles to create a rich variety of images and situations; from a seesaw with a 360-degree rotation to a swaying forest. The original music is by Adem Ilhan and Quinta, who are know for collaborations with Radiohead, Hot Chip and Bat for Lashes as well as their respective solo outputs. C Venues – C Scala, until Aug 25 (not 16, 23), 3pm Silver Lining & Jacksons Lane: Throwback Youthful and energetic aerial and acrobatic work from one of the fast-rising companies in British theatre Silve
Seven of the best club nights during the Edinburgh festivals
While you won’t find many of them listed in the Fringe programme, the club nights and parties that roll on through the night are one of the best things about Edinburgh in August. Thanks to 5am extended licenses and a huge influx of young people looking for a good time the city’s nightlife takes on a whole new dimension. Here’s a round-up of some of the best ones to look out for this month, running the gamut of music styles from funk and soul, to house and techno, hip-hop, Afrobeat, dub and more. Horse Meat DiscoAnother one of 99 Hanover’s free Thursday specials sees London leftfield disco tastemakers Horse Meat Disco’s James Hillard head north for a night of anything-goes dancefloor movers from classic to cosmic to deep disco, italo, punk funk, house, techno, oddities and a whole lot more. Get down early to avoid disappointment. 99 Hanover Street, August 11 Hot Dub Time MachineAn annual Fringe fixture, self-styled ‘Best.Party.Ever’ Hot Dub Time Machine is a nostalgia-powered decades-and-genres spanning club experience that sees party goers travel back in time and music history, to the birth of rock'n'roll - and then dance, sing, yell, rave and hug their way back to the present day. It’s a twisting to ‘Twist and Shout’, doing the running man to New Kids On The Block and bouncing around to The Proclaimers kind of night out. Corn Exchange, August 12-13, 18-20 Soulsville presents Rhythm Machine “Tom tom heavy synth boogie and smoke hazed new wave disco,” so they say, with
Six great shows for kids and teens at the Edinburgh Fringe
From highly-strung thespians in homemade dress-up to attention seeking comedians; you’ll find no shortage of overgrown kids at the Edinburgh Fringe. But what is there to appeal to actual young people at the festival this summer? A great deal as it happens – 183 shows in the programme altogether, variously made for newborns, toddlers, teenagers and everyone in-between (plus their adults). Here’s a round-up of a mere six among many that have caught our eye, including a couple of popular book adaptations, a playful introduction to a theatre great and an inspirational true-life story. MermaladeLike her hit at last year’s Fringe ‘Land of the Dragons’, Laura Stevens’ new interactive comedy play features a strong female role model who won’t let anyone get in her way. Based on the book by Clare Cockburn-Martin, ‘Mermalade’ is the story of a mermaid left to try and make sense of a cryptic note, with just three annoying oysters for company. She’s brave enough to stand up to some of the biggest entities in the universe – the booming-voiced God of Thunder included – but is she wise enough to find the answers she’s looking for? Pleasance Courtyard, until August 29 (not 17-18, 22-24), 11.15am. Molly WhuppieThe return of an old favourite from Edinburgh kids theatre company Licketyspit. Adventuring young maiden Molly Whuppie is determined not to let the great winter that's frozen even the sea, stop her, her mum and her sister from enjoying a winter feast. So she’s off on a journey, over
Five I-can’t-believe-it’s-free things to do at the Edinburgh festivals
One of the most common criticisms you’ll hear of the Edinburgh festivals is the damage a visit is liable to inflict on your bank balance. It’s true that you can be grossly overcharged for accommodation, food, and some event ticket prices among other things. And don’t even talk to us about the price of a soapy pint of mass-produced lager. But if you know where to go and what to do, you can just as easily spend a whole August day in Auld Reekie entertaining yourself at no cost whatsoever, such are the preponderance of free things happening around the city during festival time. Here’s a handful of suggestions to get you started. Investigate the fringe of the Fringe at the Free Fringe Get back to the grassroots outsider spirit of the Fringe with the variety of volunteer promoted shows presented by PBH’s Free Fringe at different venues around the city. Set up 20 years ago as an antidote to unreasonable hire charges for venues and high ticket prices for the public, they charge nothing for their shows spanning comedy, theatre, music and much more, save for a voluntary donation in a bucket at the end. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of very unremarkable stuff to sift through, but surefire hits too, including London-based Danish comedian and podcaster Sofie Hagen (Liquid Room Annexe, August 6-28, 7.50pm), who charmed the pants off crowds and critics alike last year with her show about being a teenage Westlife obsessive, eventually walking off with the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award f
Five must-see gigs at the Edinburgh festivals
Thanks to the Edinburgh International Festival’s bold new programming ethos under Artistic Director Fergus Linehan, rock, pop and electronic music is no longer relegated to the margins during August like it once was. You can find a whole variety of gigs, big and small, in rooms throughout the city this month, featuring an eclectic range of local and touring artists from post-rock heroes to Mercury Prize-winners and fast-rising outsiders. Here are five of the best – and a sample song from each to help seal the deal. Anohni Responsible for one of the best and most fiercely political albums of 2016 so far in the shape of the Mercury Prize shortlisted ‘Hopelessness’, you may better recognise Anohni as Antony Hegarty, the England raised, New York-made lead singer and songwriter of the Mercury Prize winning band Antony and the Johnsons. Now self-identifying as a woman, she’s taken a new tangent into electronic music, with the help of a pair of cutting-edge producers in Scottish sometimes Kanye West go-to-guy Ross Birchard AKA Hudson Mohawke and American experimental musician and composer Daniel Lopatin AKA Oneohtrix Point Never. As it comes to the Edinburgh International Festival, the accompanying live show – incorporating live music, film and dance – promises to prove as visceral and uncompromising as Anohni’s songs, which rage against mass surveillance, drone warfare and ecocide through the medium of soulfully transcendent synthpop. Wednesday August 17, The Playhouse, £25-£30.
Eight reasons why we will (and won’t) miss the Red Road Flats
The remaining six of the original eight blocks of the Red Road Flats high-rise housing complex are, after standing for decades as hulking, doomy, dilapidated monuments to an unsuccessful social experiment, set to be demolished this Sunday with a single controlled explosion. Many people will be happy to see the end of these brutalist eyesores, and their constant reminder of all the political and planning folly and attendant societal misery that they’ve come to represent. Others will miss their epic silhouettes on the Glasgow skyline, and lament the very public destruction of places many people once happily called home. Here’s a quick history of these infamous buildings, which have proven controversial from first to last. Construction of Glasgow's Red Road flats. 1960s. http://t.co/jq47aTcKDm pic.twitter.com/Y8UCaEvar8 — Yoor Wullie (@YoorWullie) July 25, 2015 The Red Road Flats symbolised an idealistic attempt to make a better GlasgowBuilt in the 1960s to house nearly 5,000 people displaced from inner-city tenement slums as part of Glasgow’s massive post-war regeneration project, Red Road was the biggest of many ambitious tower housing projects around the city spearheaded by idealistic Glasgow Corporation architect Sam Bunton. The tallest of the development’s eight blocks – which between them comprised two 28-storey 'slabs' and six 31-storey 'points' – were for a while the highest residential buildings in Europe. To new residents leaving behind outdoor toilets, inadequate
Seven late nights on the Fringe
There’s just a week left before Edinburgh returns to its old sleepy self again, but don’t fret. With opening hours being relaxed as they are during Fringe time – 3am for most pubs, 5am for clubs and some of the larger venues – there’s plenty of opportunity to wring every last millisecond of fun out of the festival month’s final seven days. Assuming you’re not the kind of person who’s into boring things like sleeping, anyway. To aid you in planning your after-hours shenanigans, here’s a round-up of seven different reasons to stay up well past your bedtime, from late night comedy and cabaret shows to club nights. Just don’t be making any breakfast plans for the next day. The Stand Late ClubNo trip to the Fringe would be complete without some late night comedy, nor indeed some late night comedy at The Stand. Across two hours each night, five different stand-ups perform their best and bawdiest material while the audience – and probably the stand-ups too for that matter – get steadily trollied on a late bar. Keep an eye on @StandComedyClub for lineup announcements. Guests so far this year have included Johnny Vegas, Stephen K Amos, Tiffany Stevenson and Craig Campbell.The Stand, August 28-29, 11.45pm Late Night Phantasmagoria with Jack LukemanVeteran Irish cabaret, rock and folk singer Jack Lukeman – better known as Jack L – returns to The Famous Spiegeltent for a late night stint after appearing on the Fringe last year as part of La Clique, and following a UK tour with Jools Holl
Three Fringe shows about mental health
With 3000 different shows in the 2015 programme, you could pick practically any subject from fruit carving to nudity and try and argue that it’s some kind of a theme at the Edinburgh Fringe. But if there’s any one subject in particular that seems to be generating a lot of interest and attention this year – and there's always one – then it’s mental health. Everyone from The Guardian to BBC News and i-D have reported on the trend in Edinburgh this August for shows tackling depression and other mental health issues. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact of Tory cuts drastically reducing spending in mental health care? Or possibly the fact that depression and addiction-suffering comedian Robin Williams committed suicide exactly a year ago? Or maybe the performing arts is simply reflecting a loosening of the traditionally stiff British upper lip when it comes to the stigma of discussing, y’know, feelings and stuff? (The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, which announces its 2015 programme on September 9, has been using the arts to raise awareness of mental health issues for many years). Whatever the explanation, it’s encouraging to see a once taboo subject become so widely addressed and discussed at the world's biggest arts festival. Here’s a round-up of some of the specific shows and events that have been piquing such interest. Fake It ’Til You Make It A four-star hit says our expert, Fringe First-winning Edinburgh regular Bryony Kimmings’ ‘Fake It ’Til You M
Top five circus acts at the Edinburgh Fringe
The circus is coming to town like never before. For the first time, this year's Edinburgh Fringe has its own dedicated circus venue in the form of two big tops on the Meadows called the Underbelly Circus Hub. Forget hackneyed ideas about clowns with cream pies, human cannonballs and lion tamers (as if anyone will ever dare mess with a lion again in the wake of #cecilgate). Here you can expect a first class line-up of 12 international circus shows including European, UK and Fringe premieres by global artists from Belgium to France the Czech Republic, Australia, Canada and Palestine. It’s a reflection of the growing popularity of one of the world’s oldest forms of public entertainment at the Fringe. As ever there’s a whole variety of acrobatic, gymnastic, equilibristic (that’s balancing and stuff) and comedic circus routines to be seen across Edinburgh this August, at the Circus Hub and venues beyond. Here’s a round-up of five of the best in the ring. Ockham's Razor: Arc and Every Action…One of the UK’s leading circus companies bring an award-winning double-bill to the Fringe that will completely shift your perception of what circus is all about. Far from trying to portray themselves as superhuman daredevils as circus performers tend to, Ockham’s Razor instead attempt to create acrobatic aerial spectacles full of humanity and vulnerability. ‘Arc’ is the story of three people at close proximity but somehow isolated from one another, suspended on a rotating rig three and a half m
Ten times bagpipes weren’t ear-splitting and horrible
Let’s face it, the sound of bagpipes is a pretty Marmite-y proposition – for every person who goes glassy-eyed at a stirring reel, there’s someone else who wouldn’t wish such dour tunelessness upon their worst enemy (admittedly dodgy buskers are mostly to blame for this). But we’re sure that Piping Live! will again do much to endear doubting listeners to Scotland’s national instrument as the annual Glasgow festival comes around again this week, assembling some of the finest pipers from all over the world for a week-long jubilee of droning. If you’re not convinced, here’s a round-up of ten occasions when the bagpipes crossed over into other, often unlikely genres of music and actually sounded pretty cool. 1. The White Stripes – ‘Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn’In honour of his family heritage (he’s Scots-Polish by descent) Jack White went full Scottish on this song from The White Stripes’ sixth and final album, 2007’s ‘Icky Thump’. Written about the thistle, the Scottish national flower, it features piping from London-born Pipe Major of the Tennessee Scots Pipe Band Jim Drury. 'Bagpipes are due a revival,' said White in an interview around the time. 'They a very somber instrument, very beautiful in the right context.' 2. AC/DC – 'It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock’n’Roll)'An AC/DC song about rock’n’roll – who’d believe it! But what’s unusually novel about this tightly-wound opening track from 1975’s ‘TNT’ – a classic of the Australians’ Bon Scott-fronted, pre-mega