Down past Trongate and the edge of Glasgow Green, far away from the West End bubble, lies the magical world of Glasgow’s famous Barras Market. The Barras isn’t sexy – it’s not even all that clean – but it sure is fun.
The market starts as you pass under a big metal banner bearing its name, and continues as a maze of shops and stalls, inside and outside. Traders sell packets of tobacco out of their fists, fruit and veg sellers shout for customers, stall holders patter away, and children ask you to go into the off licence for them.
Amongst this metropolis of stalls there are DVDs, furniture, books, clothes, electronics, nick-nacks. Basically, anything you might want. Plus, attached to the market is the Barrowland Ballroom, which hosts gigs for reasonably famous bands all year round. The Barras is not glamorous, and it’s more than a little rough around the edges, but the Barras is a beating heart of timeless Glasgow culture, and all the banter that goes with it. You won’t find specialist cheese and cigar shops like those on Great Western Road, and it’s all the more fun because of that. The West End is great, but it’s not the real world. In contrast, the Barras offers you a labyrinth of shop stalls, manned by real Glasgow people, complete with missing teeth and that unique Glasgow humour. [TW]
Despite the misleading title, this article isn’t about the joys of the Glasgow Subway, although it is fantastic and well worth the money. Instead, I’d like to let you know about some of the more… hidden places you can seek out and discover all around our fair city.
For instance, did you know that way back in 1896, a railway station was opened in the Botanic Gardens? Closed for passengers around the start of World War 2, and then closed fully in 1964, the station is still accessible if you know where to go. I would like to point out that whilst it is not illegal to enter the premises, thanks to the Scottish ‘right to roam’ laws, the site is considered dangerous. Myself, qmunicate and the Queen Margaret Union do not accept responsibility if you get run over by a ghost train, or the like.
For the less adventurous, there’s room 256 in the Kelvin Building of our own fair University. Seriously, go check it out. It’s the office of a Dr. J. Malkovich. If you are a bit confused by this, check out the movie “Being John Malkovich”.
There are loads of other strange and hidden places all over Glasgow, just get out there and don’t be afraid to have a good explore. If this has sparked your interest, check out websites about ‘Urbzing’ for all sorts of destinations and ideas. [KA]
Folks from Edinburgh may disagree with this, but Glasgow culture is one of the best in Britain. Glasgow’s famous for its art and it’s got galleries to match. Although there are many fantastic options, the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) particularly stands out.
The best-looking thing in the Merchant City used to be the town house of a tobacco lord, and has been a bank and a library before becoming the art gallery we know and love in 1996. GoMA has been fantastic in displaying the work of great Glaswegian artists like John Bellany and Ken Currie, as well as bigger names from elsewhere like Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Sebastian Salgado.
GoMA is also in possession of an unofficial symbol of the city. Standing outside the Gallery is Duke Wellington’s statue, but to you and me its ‘the statue with the traffic cone on its head’. You can see it on postcards, you can see it on T-shirts and you can see the smirk it brings to people walking past it. [AM]
Burrell Collection and Pollok House
Glasgow’s had it fair share of rich philanthropists, but you’d be hard pressed to find one who gave as generously and extensively as William Burrell. Will used to be a shipping magnate and earned piles of dollar with which he collected exotic artefacts, art masterpieces and historical relics from all over the world. Known as The Burrell Collection, these pieces are housed for all to come see in a custom-built museum on the Pollok Estate.
Just over the hill from the Burrell Collection is Pollok House, a Georgian mansion modernised and filled with more ace stuff. In its beautiful granite walls you can find a large collection of Spanish art and paintings by William Blake. Antiques and glassware litter the House for your perusal and you can nip to either of the shops or dine in their restaurant if you fancy. If it’s fresh air your after, you can stroll around the extensive gardens, which feature over 1,000 types of Rhodedendrons.
A veritable haven of culture sits on the Pollock Estate and it’s definitely worth the journey to take a look. [PE]
A map of these places can be seen HERE