Guide to the West End: Top 5 Hidden Gems

For most Glasgow uni freshers the true starting point of student experience is familiarising themselves with the West End and learning to navigate all its nooks and crannies. The West End is a truly unique area of Glasgow: having the University at its centre, it’s the pulsing heart of Glasgow’s student life and delights dwellers with its multicultural and historical character. To facilitate your discovery of the West End, here’s a quick guide to five slightly tucked away top spots you might not immediately notice, but will definitely want to check out for top notch food and drinks, entertainment and exploring the cultural scene. 

  1. Ruthven Lane

Just off Byres Road, this small lane with a bohemian twist to it offers a plethora of charming spots. Popular restaurant The Hanoi Bike Shop serves quality Vietnamese food, and you can browse the many vintage and second-hand shops where innumerable finds of all kinds such as clothes, books, furniture and much more can be hunted down for very low prices.

  1.   Tchai Ovna

If you’re a dedicated tea lover who appreciates an unconventional twist this homely teahouse on Otago Lane will be nothing short of perfect for you. Serving around 100 kinds of tea from all over the world alongside homemade vegetarian food and offering a unique intimate atmosphere, a visit to Tchai Ovna is a must do in the West end. 

  1.   Voltaire & Rousseau

Nothing more fitting to do after your afternoon tea at Tchai Ovna than losing yourself in the towering piles of second-hand books that fill up this small bookshop: it’s the other hidden jewel of Otago Lane. Be prepared to be there for a while while you search for the perfect book, and don’t worry: most of them are incredibly cheap.

  1.   Inn Deep

Only a few steps away from Kelvinbridge Subway Station, this riverside pub is not only the go-to place for excellent craft beer and food, but also offers weekly poetry nights and occasional music sessions: the perfect opportunity for an alternative evening with a funky atmosphere that will open your eyes to the Glasgow art scene. 

  1.   Hidden Lane 

Right behind busy Argyle Street, this secluded cobbled lane hosts a colourful community of over 100 studios where artists and small business owners work independently. A stroll through Hidden Lane will leave you feeling inspired and enriched, and at any time you can pop into the adorable Hidden Lane Tea Room for a cuppa and some delicious baked treats. 

[Susanna Zarli – she/her – @veterisflammae]

[Photo credit: Alan Partridge/]

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