City Centre (South and South East)
Glasgow Travel Blog› entry 2 of 9 › view all entries
Decided for the first day of ''discovering'' my own town to head for Glasgow Green and The Peoples Palace and Winter Gardens. For me this invovled getting the train into town and getting off at Central Low Level station.
When you come out the Low Level station onto Argyle Street you find yourself under the bridge that carries the tracks from the main terminal heading southwards and over the Clyde. It is known locally as The Heilanman's Umbrella, as during the Highland Clearances in Scotland many families were evicted from their land and moved to Glasgow to look for work and housing. Many spoke no English, their native tounge being Gaelic. As they were spread across the city the would meet up at weekends in the centre and, given the amount of rain Glasgow gets, would often shelter under the bridge.
Walking Eastward along Argyle Street you cross a junction with Union Street to the North and Jamaica Street to the south. At the bottom of Jamaica Street, ie.before you get to the river, you will find Jury's Inn Hotel on one side and the Euro Hostel accomodation on the other side of the road.
Moving along you come to Buchanan Street to the north (will cover it in another part). Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street form what is called the Golden Z shopping area of Glasgow,which may interest some, but not me ;-). Like,I think, all cities in the UK it claims to have the best shopping outside of London.
On the south side from Buchanan Street is St Enoch Square.
There used to be another major railway station here but it was demoished and all that is left is the old Subway station part of it, which is now a travel information centre for local buses and trains. It is now the site of the St Enoch shopping centre ( I'll return to it)
Walking on past Queen Street (Glasgow's other main rail station is at the top end of it across George Square), and onto the junction with Glassford Street/Stockwell Street.
The Trongate is one of Glasgow's oldest streets going back to medieval times. Goods being brought into market in the city were subject to tax and here they were weighed on a scale known as a Tron which was an old heavy beam or balance used a weights system in Scotland back then. The Tron Steeple is what is left of an old church, but has been rebuilt and now houses a theatre .
On the corner of Trongate and Albion street is an old baronial building that now is luxury rented accomodation( Fraser Suites). Never been inside but it looks nice from the ourtside.
At the end of the Trongate is,Glasgow Cross and the Tollbooth Steeple. Built in 1627 the Tollboth Clock Tower is all that remains of Glasgow's original council buildings and was where people had to go and pay their taxes(tolls).
Heading east the road splits in a Y, at the point of the split sits the Mercat Building, Glasgow Cross originally being called Mercat(Market) Cross. I headed right along London Road as far as James Morrison Street and cut down into St Andrew's Square where there is a lovely 18th Century Church. While the church was being built the retreating Jacobite army camped around it's walls in 1746. Last used as a church in 1990 it is now a venue for concerts, drama groups and can be hired for private functions.
I doubled back and onto the Saltmarket and down to Glasgow Green. At he bottom of the road is the Albert Bridge over the River Clyde, and over on the banks of the river on other side is the Nautical College. Just before the before the Albert Bridge there are two buildings on the right.
Glasgow Green is the oldest park, and can be traced back to 1450 when King James II gave the local bishop grazing rights for The Green. The Green is where public executions used to take place. The annual firework display is held here and it also serves as a destination point for many rallies and demonstrations.
It is also used as a venue for concerts and festivals, though given the reputation of Glasgow audiences as a tough crowd many artists may have felt it more of a execution. Most notable was Sheena Easton, born and bred a few miles away in Hamilton, who having achieved some success in th UK and the US returned and did a turn at a festival.
Entering the park here you go through the McLellan Arch, an arch that used to be part of the Assembly Rooms building,before being moved here in 1922. Along the path there is the Nelson Monument commemerating the famous battles won by Admiral Nelson. Beside the People's Palace is the,recently restored, Doulton Fountain, the largest remaining Terracotta fountain in the world, built for the 1888 Exhibition that was held in Glasgow.
Have done a seperate review for People's Palace and Winter Gardens.
Leaving the park and back up onto London Road you come to the (im)famous Barras Market. Open at the weekend, it a series of stalls where you can pick up just about anything. Amusing to an extent ,listening to the vendors patter as they try to flog the biggest pile of junk, but many seem to think there are bargains to be had here. Big problem now is with the amount of counterfeit and bootleg gear on sale, and to be honest I'm surprised the place hasn't been shut down by police and trading standards, though it is bt no means the worst of it's type in Glasgow.
Part of the Barras on the Gallowgate, is the former dance hall turned music venue imaginatively called the Barrowland (Barraland in Glaswegian). Highly praised by a lot of groups for it's atmosphere as it's more still a dance hall design, so it's small and with lower ceilings than an autitorium and has better acoustics. Been to a few gigs there and it is a very different type of experience.
From the Barras I headed back down the Gallowgate towards Glasgow Cross. Brought back a few memories of returning from Old Firm games at Parkhead,which is just a bit further out along London Road. The Rangers fans traditionally made there way back through Bridgeton and along London Road, while the Celtic support would go up and along the Gallowgate.
Any way I cut back down the Saltmarket and came to the Briggait (Bridge Gate), which has a series of workshop/spaces in arches under a disused railway. There used to be a really awful flea market here called Paddy's Market, but it was SO bad it was closed down , because the quality of the stuff they sold there really was that bad the city fathers deemed it an embarassment.
At the bottom of the Briggait at the corner of Stockwell Street is the Victoria Bridge. On the other side of the bridge to the left you find the Central Mosque of Glasgow. Opposite this,on the right hand side, is Glasgow Sherrif Court, reputedly the busiest courthouse in Europe :-O
I headed back up Stockwell Street to Howard Street and cut along. I had done a fair bit of walking by now and decided it was time to have a rest and a beer. Just off Howard Street, and running down to Clyde Street, is Ropeworks Lane and here you will find a pub called Annie Millers.
Having had a couple of beers I headed off into the cold again and back up through St Enoch Square. Solely for the purposes of this blog I forced myself to go into the Shopping Centre :-D. I really do hate these places. There are all the usual suspects when it comes to the high street chains of shops and it is probably the same as every other shopping centre/mall all over the world. The one thing of note, and I did only know this because I heard it on the radio when the place opened late last year, is that it has a branch of Hamley's toy store.
After that I headed off to buy a new pair of boots, for tramping the streets of New York, and the shop only had the ones I wanted in a 9 or a 12, so I left empty handed. No wonder I do all my shopping online. Then it was back to Central to catch the train back to Milngavie