Whether you’re a student, alumnus or just love this quiet corner of Glasgow, here are my top reasons to spend some time in the vibrant West End, home to the iconic University of Glasgow (as seen in Outlander).
1. It looks like Hogwarts!
There is no doubt that these stunning surroundings are the number one attraction at Glasgow Uni! The neo-gothic buildings that make up the older part of campus are saturated with spires, steep staircases and square courtyards. Wander up to the quadrangles and discover the cloisters, or go back in time in the turrets. Okay, so the fashionably dressed students may ruin the Gryffindor vibe, but the photographic opportunities are endless, especially with all the seasonal colours.
2. It’s crammed full of culture
The university itself could keep you occupied for days. There’s actually a museum on campus — the Hunterian — which is currently exhibiting sketches by the famous Scottish artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (he designed the Glasgow School of Art).
Fancy heading further afield? Well, the university is situated at the heart of Glasgow’s culture scene. Take a five minute walk through the beautiful Kelvingrove Park and discover Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Along with Egyptian relics and European artwork, the building also houses the stunning ‘Christ of St John on the Cross’ by Salvador Dalí. At the top of Byres Road (again, 5 minutes from campus) are the Botanic Gardens, featuring Victorian glasshouses crammed full of plants. Looking to find out more about Glasgow? Nearer the Clyde is the Riverside Museum, a showcase of Glasgow’s transport history (cars, contraptions and cycles).
3. You won’t go hungry
Just a few minutes walk from the main building is Byres Road, the street in Glasgow’s west end. Both students and professionals love this quirky and lively quarter of the city, which is full of bars, restaurants and vintage stores. There’s a vast number of eateries — you’ll find the usual chains like Zizzi’s and DiMaggio’s, plus some good old Glaswegian fish and chip joints. Café wise, don’t miss Tinderbox, Roots and Fruits or Cottonrake bakery (all which offer seriously good cakes). If a night out is more your style, take yourself to quaint Ashton Lane. Here you’ll find the renowned Ubiquitous Chip restaurant (it’s a Glasgow institution) and an array of bars to quench your thirst. Sláinte!
4. It’s a haven for music lovers
You might not believe it, but one of the university’s student unions has acquired quite a reputation for hosting huge bands. Stars such as Nirvana, Queen, Coldplay and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have all performed at the Queen Margaret Union once upon a time. Although perhaps today’s calibre of musicians are a little less legendary than Freddie Mercury, 2015 sees the QMU welcome Charlie XCX and Professor Green. Okay, so it’s not Chris Martin… (P.S. The new Hydro arena isn’t far away either).
5. You’ll get the famous Glasgow welcome
To be honest, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome wherever you are in Scotland (in my opinion!) but especially so in Glasgow. This city is known for its friendly folk (hence the slogan ‘People Make Glasgow‘) and if you study here, you’ll see why. Term kicks off with a range of Freshers’ week events which will get you discovering campus, enjoying the nightlife and meeting new people. Fancy picking up your wizard’s cloak? Ask a student more about life at the university here.