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OutUK correspondent Adrian Gillan is taking the high road north of the border for a queer cultural treat in gutsy Glasgow!

Glasgow skyline
Glasgow's skyline. Photo courtesy: Visit Scotland

Scotland’s largest and most vibrant city: or so it says on the tin. Dockyards and access to America and beyond meant Glasgow quickly grew to become one of the most important trading hubs of the British Empire, as still witnessed by her imposing architecture and squares. She has since re-emerged triumphant from industrial decline, to reinvent herself as a modern, buzzing city of style and culture.

SIGHTS

Take in the central George Square itself, with its imposing columns, statues and City Chambers; the old Cathedral, especially spooky in the basement; the renovated Merchant City quarter; and Glasgow Green with its People’s Palace pleasure complex. Explore the amazing masterpieces of Glasgow’s most famous designer son, Charles Rennie Mackintosh - notably the Glasgow School of Art, Willow Tea Rooms and The Lighthouse tower.
Out west, take in the lovely Kelvingrove Park and its renovated museum, Glasgow Uni (including the excellent Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery) and Botanic Gardens.

Also peruse the renovated dockside area, with its Science Centre and restored Victorian Tall Ship just across the way.

River Clyde The River Clyde at night.
Photo Credit: Scottish Viewpoint
For art’s sake, enjoy the latest exhibitions at the vibrant Gallery of Modern Art or Centre for Contemporary Art.

SCENE

Near the Central Railway Station, The Waterloo claims to be the city’s oldest gay pub, but is just as buzzing and packed now as of yore. That said, it’s enough to make you crave some style, so wait no more: a whole clutch of newer gay venues in the Merchant City quarter await! Merchant Pride is very much a hole in the wall neighborhood pub and bar, then there's Underground, with in its alternative basement bunker, Speakeasy, a relaxed bar serving sandwiches and pub classics from 5 - 9pm followed by drinks into the wee hours, or Katie's Bar on John Street which boasts a huge, open-plan space with comfy seats, pool tables and a stylish brick décor. They have karaoke nights and performances from local and international names.

Delmonica’s is a triumph of sofas and tunes to set chic toes a tappin’. When Del’s bars shut shop and lights flood up, pouting punters haven't got far to travel they just dutifully file next door.

It's The Riding Room and larger annex, the plush Polo Lounge. Don’t be fooled: Polo’s not quite as pretentious as its ground floor rather posh leather-and-oak style gentlemen’s club upholstery may suggest. Venture downstairs and you’ll soon find your fair share of mature strong cheese and trancy dance. Having a great night out. Photo: ninode
The Gallery Bar is one of Glasgow's newer gay spaces. Located on Brunswick Street, it's friendly and relaxed with well-priced drinks, great music, TVs showing live sports and entertainment at the weekends. But to view Glasgow's true queer soul, and to dance the night away, visit revamped AXM Glasgow that still seems to pull in the crowds, a few of whom still slur loyally that they’d “never visit Polo”, as they bop to pop, or slump into their umpteenth pint of the night.

To end off your Glasgow evening out, steam away at The Pipeworks sauna. It's recently completed a much needed £400,000 refurbishment programme, upgrading facilities, and adding a new floor, including Private Rooms and a cinema cruise area.

EVENTS

In February, Scotland celebrates LGBT History Month with an excellent selection of programmes and activities right across the country, so you can enjoy everything from film screenings and debates to parties and ceilidhs.

Glasgow's Pride celebrations are famed for their fun, friendly atmosphere and their great programme of events including parties, club nights and art exhibitions.

STAY

Base yourself at the Grasshopper Hotel Glasgow, a value-for-money boutique luxury affair slap-bang in the city centre, perched high above Glasgow Central Station, close to all scene and sights! The 30 bedrooms combine style and comfort - think Egyptian cotton linen and Arran Aromatic toiletries - with high ceilings and large windows, many boasting views. 
All have free Wifi along with Sky HD television which includes the movies and sports packages. Supper is served Mon-Thurs in The Kitchen, where you may also enjoy a sociable breakfast any morning. Lovely bright lounge sitting room too. Free fresh cookies and cakes on plates throughout! Grasshoppes Hotel
Glasgow's Grasshopper Hotel
To find out more about great accommodation offers, booking your city break to Glasgow, or LBGT related activities to see and do in the city, visit visitscotland.com. Also check out our hotel partners Booking for more great deals.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

AXM Glasgow (90 Glassford St; T: +44 141 552 5761; facebook
Delmonica's (68 Virginia St; T: +44 141 559 6594; Website
Grasshoppers Hotel (87 Union St; T: +44 141 222 2666; Website
Katie's Bar (17 John St; T: +44 141 237 3030; Website
Merchant Pride (20 Candleriggs; T: +44 141 564 1285; facebook
Polo Lounge (84 Wilson St; T: +44 141 559 6593; Website
Speakeasy (10 John St; T: +44 141 553 5851; Website
The Gallery Bar (101 Brunswick St; T: +44 141 552 6310; facebook
The Pipeworks (Metropole House, 5 Metropole Ln; T: +44 141 552 5502; Website
The Riding Room (58 Virginia St; T: +44 141 559 6592; Website
The Waterloo (306 Argyle St; T: +44 141 248 7216; Website
Underground (6A John St; T: +44 141 553 2456; facebook
Revised November 2021

 

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