The city of Glasgow, Scotland
For the visitor, central Glasgow can be divided into two main areas, the City Centre, which contains the majority of tourist sights and much of the city’s shopping and entertainment, as well as its commercial heart, and the West End, the bohemian area of cafés, restaurants and bars surrounding the University of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Museum. The best way to explore the City of Glasgow and get good vistas of the city is to climb the many “drumlins” (hills) upon which the central area is built.
Outside of central Glasgow, the East End lies east of the City Centre centered along Gallowgate and London Road. The South Side contains the neighborhoods that lie to the south of the River Clyde, while the North Side is the area north of central Glasgow. Along the banks of the River Clyde west of the City Centre is an old industrial area which is in the process of regeneration and contains many new and impressive structures, such as the Clyde Auditorium, the Science Centre and the Riverside Museum.
The City Centre (known as “town” or “the toon” to locals) is bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, High Street to the east, and the River Clyde to the south. This is the area where most visitors will start, and the most notable elements are the grid plan of streets and the lavish Victorian and Edwardian buildings and civic squares which give the area much of its character. The main arteries of the City Centre are Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street which both run on an east-west axis. They are linked by Buchanan Street which runs north-south. Together, these three streets form the main shopping thoroughfares.
The eastern side of the City Centre is a sub-district known as Merchant City, which contains Glasgow’s original medieval core, centered around the Glasgow Cross (the junction of Trongate, Saltmarket, High Street, Gallowgate and London Road). Merchant City extends up to George Square, with many ornate buildings that date back to Glasgow’s emergence as an industrial city. High Street north of the Glasgow Cross is the main artery of Old Glasgow and leads uphill to the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis cemetery.
The western area of the City Centre contains the city’s core commercial and business district and is dominated by Blythswood Hill, which is centered around Blythswood Square. Running parallel to Sauchiehall Street, Bath Street is the main route into the neighborhood and has a rich mix of independent shops and bars, as well as distinctive Georgian town house style architecture. South of Blythswood Hill is the city’s financial district, with many modern glass and steel office buildings which stand alongside their classical counterparts. Further south, on the north bank of the River Clyde is the district of Anderston, formerly a dockland area, badly scarred by the city’s industrial decline and the urban regeneration schemes of the 1960s but now being redeveloped as a residential and commercial area.
To the west of the City Centre, no official definition of where the West End boundary line exists, but it can roughly be defined as being bounded by the M8 motorway to the east, Great Western Road to the north, the River Clyde to the South and Crow Road to the west. The nucleus of the area is undoubtedly the neo-Gothic University of Glasgow, which acts as the anchor for this bohemian district, with its lovely architecture, tree lined streets and quaint shopping areas.
The primary east-west artery is Argyle Street/Dumbarton Road, while Byres Road is the main north-south artery and contains a number of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Ashton Lane connects Byres Road to the University campus and is a cobbled backstreet with distinctive whitewashed buildings, holding an eclectic mix of bars and eateries that make it a tourist hotspot (be careful as the Lane can be a bit of a tourist trap during the summer months when the students of the university are not there to keep the bar prices reasonable). To the east of the university campus and just downhill is Kelvingrove Park, with the tree-lined Kelvin Way as the main avenue through the park, which connects with Argyle Street near the Kelvingrove Museum. In case you are wondering from where to start your next trip, try to explore the City of Glasgow.