• MZ

    Select your country and language

    Selected country/territory
    All countries/territories
  • MENU
Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
The Street
            Back to Open Skies

Travel to Glasgow


West End, Glasgow

1 December 2014

Words by Gareth Rees / Images by REM

The East End of the city, the location of the Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has been the focus of the world’s media this year, but the area of Glasgow – once the second city of the British Empire – every visitor should stay in is the West End. Centred on the much applauded Byres Road, where many of the area’s most feted restaurants, bars, cafés and shops can be found, the West End has long been home to both the affluent, who occupy its striking sandstone townhouses, and students and staff from Glasgow University, which was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and is one of the institutions most associated with the West End. 

But beyond Byers Road, the area also encompasses the vast and lovely Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum and numerous other streets and neighbourhoods alive with independent shops, restaurants, bars and cafés, including Finnieston, the heart of the West End’s food culture; Gibson Street, close to the park and the university; and the lively Ashton Lane, home to The Grosvenor Cinema and the famous Ubiquitous Chip restaurant.

Ubiquitous Chip

Owner Ronnie Clydesdale opened the Chip, as its staff and patrons fondly call it, on Ruthven Lane in 1971, with the aim of introducing Scottish cooking to a Glasgow public sadly lacking in restaurants celebrating Scotland’s culinary heritage. Clydesdale moved it to its current home, a former undertaker’s stables on the cobbled Ashton Lane, in 1976, and it is now one of the most famous and lauded enterprises in the city. Boasting three bars, a roof terrace, brasserie and fine dining menus, and a handsome open-air courtyard, as well as numerous artworks and murals by distinguished figures such as artist and writer Alasdair Gray and artist Michael Lacey (both regulars), it would be a crime to visit the West End and not patronise the Chip. Order the venison haggis (served since 1971), order the caramelised lamb sweetbreads, order the pea and mint velouté – in fact, order anything. You won’t be disappointed. 

12 Ashton Lane
Tel: +44 141 334 5007


One of the best-known establishments in Glasgow’s West End and a Gibson Street institution, Stravaigin, which has been awarded with both Michelin’s Bib Gourmand status and two Rosettes from The A A Guide, covers all bases when it comes to food and drink. If you’re looking to enjoy a casual long lunch or dinner, the upstairs café bar has you covered with a menu that ranges from its award-winning haggis, neeps and tatties to nasi goring, served up with a pint of speciality ale, a dram of whisky, a cocktail or one of the many wines by the glass on offer. 

The café bar is also open for breakfast and weekend brunch. Downstairs is a more formal restaurant, offering a menu that features dishes such as Moroccan spiced mackerel fish cakes, roast horse mushroom and aubergine baklava and spiced caramel pineapple, coconut and lychee sorbets. Both menus celebrate Scottish produce, without restricting themselves to Scottish recipes. 

28 Gibson Street
Tel: +44 141 334 2665


Specialising in fresh, high-quality Scottish seafood served with little embellishment, Crabshakk, which opened in 2009, has been so successful that it has inspired many new restaurant and bar openings in the vicinity, making Finnieston’s Argyle Street a culinary hotspot.

The brainchild of founder and architect John Macleod, a well-known figure on the Glasgow restaurant scene, Crabshakk, with its cramped but contemporary white-tiled interior and young staff, has garnered attention both nationally and internationally – the epitome of the stylish, cool, modern Glasgow. Be warned, it is tiny, and popular, so it’s definitely worth making a booking. 

1114 Argyle Street
Tel: +44 141 334 6127

Ox and Finch

A recent addition to Finnieston, Ox And Finch is the latest restaurant to open in the neighbourhood, which has established itself as a big draw for food lovers in the past few years. Its contemporary bistro stylings – booth seating, exposed brick, paper place mats, dishes served on slate and wooden boards – fit right in, and Jonathan MacDonald’s (formerly head chef with the McLaren racing team) food has garnered some enthusiastic reviews. 

Seared scallops, chorizo and sweet corn, blow-torched miso salmon tataki, confit duck and Thai yellow curry, hanger steak, Jerusalem artichoke and shitake mushrooms: just reading the menu is enough to make your mouth water. 

920 Sauchiehall Street
Tel: +44 141 339 8627

Kelvingrove Park

Created in 1852 by renowned Victorian landscape designer Sir Joseph Paxton – also responsible for London’s Crystal Palace – Kelvingrove Park is 85 acres of undulating greenery on the River Kelvin surrounded by some of the city’s best-known institutions, including Glasgow University and Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum. 

The park is home to numerous monuments, as well as a bowling green, a croquet lawn, a skate park and the newly renovated bandstand and amphitheatre, originally erected in the 1920s, which now hosts open air performances. At the height of summer, the park is populated by West End residents lolling on the grass, walking their dogs or simply taking a pleasant stroll through what is a truly beautiful public space. 



Offshore, open since 1999 – although new owner Elvira Hughes only took over earlier this year – is popular with students and staff from nearby Glasgow University. With the tagline ‘Social Coffee In Glasgow’, it is a more traditional café than its Gibson Street neighbour Artisan Roast, with the focus firmly on creating a laidback atmosphere, rather than singing the praises of single origin coffee or rhapsodising about a well-made cappuccino. 

The coffee is not as good but, located on the corner of Gibson Street, right beside the River Kelvin, Offshore’s large street-facing windows make for a bright interior and present an opportunity for people watching. The down-to-earth crowd-pleasing menu includes pastries, scones, toast and porridge for breakfast, as well as an assortment of snacks, including sarnies, bagels, baked potatoes and homemade soup. 

3-5 Gibson Street
Tel: +44 7912 894 795

The Shop Of Interest

Opened by artist and designer Martin Grubb and May McGurk, a silversmith who works at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, The Shop Of Interest is a small art and crafts boutique on Argyle Street in Finnieston. 

If you plan to spend a day casually exploring the West End, you should definitely pop in and browse its stock of original art, prints, jewellery, fashion items, furniture and trinkets created by various local artists, jewellers and designers. If you’re looking for a gift for a friend or loved one, or a unique memento from your trip to Glasgow, look no further. 

1058 Argyle Street
Tel: +44 141 221 7316