Welcome to this week’s “Where Is…?” – a weekly feature where I get to speak to fellow wanderers about where they are in the world. This week I am chatting to Kelly Hayes, the founder of Travelling History – a travel blog for those who enjoy learning about the history and culture of their vacation destinations. Originally from Canada, she moved to Glasgow in 2013 to complete her master’s degree in Scottish history. She’s obsessed with all kinds of history and I love how she brings stories alive through her blog. And today she talks about life as an expat in Glasgow.
What’s it like living in Glasgow?
Glasgow is such a friendly city and I feel like it’s really become my second home. Often when visiting Scotland, I think people’s first thought is to go to Edinburgh. While Edinburgh is a beautiful city, as Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow has a lot to offer tourists including museums, music, festivals, food, drink and more!
Scotland generally has a reputation for being rainy! What is the weather like at this time of year?
This time of year the weather is usually really nice in Glasgow (for a change!). Generally, it does rain in Glasgow quite a bit, but there’s been a few weeks that have been nice and sunny and close to 20 degrees.
Where in Glasgow do you live and what is it like?
I stay in the west end of Glasgow (Partick to be exact), which was traditionally a highland neighbourhood when highlanders moved down to the city. I love the west end because there’s lots of young people, it’s trendy and there is plenty to do.
What activities do you get up to when you’re not studying?
The best thing about Glasgow is that a lot of the cultural sights in the city are free! Museums are free to enter and my favourite is definitely Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum located in the west end. It has a great collection of Scottish and international exhibitions. If you venture out of the west end and into the city centre, the Glasgow Cathedral and the Acropolis are a must-see in my opinion (and both free as well!).
Can you recommend any things to do for first-time travellers to Glasgow?
I would highly recommend visiting Pollok House, often described as Glasgow’s ‘Downton Abbey’. It’s a beautiful stately home located on the south side of the city with beautiful gardens that are perfect for strolling around on a nice day. It’s very affordable to enter and they often have activities for children as well.
I would also recommend going to a traditional Scottish ceilidh. A ceilidh is a traditional social gathering which includes song and dance. Sloans (Glasgow’s oldest bar and restaurant) has one every Friday night and it’s a great way to meet locals and immerse yourself in some Scottish traditions.
As a lot of the cultural attractions in Glasgow are free to visit, there aren’t actually too many tourist traps. You might want to stay out of the gimmicky tourist shops in the city centre, but other than that tourists should be safe!
Any other travel advice you would like to add?
Glasgow is a very cultural city and therefore has a great food scene, which I don’t think everyone immediately thinks of when they think of Glasgow. Glasgow was actually named the most vegan-friendly city in the UK so there are excellent vegan/vegetarian restaurants!
What three must-have travel items would you recommend for Glasgow?
First, if you’re coming to Glasgow definitely pack a rain jacket or umbrella. While in the summer the weather is generally better, you never know when that rain is going to hit you. Second, I always have my smartphone. Like many cities there are so many great apps that can help you to discover Glasgow. Third, I always have my hair straightener…. You never know when you’re going to need it in this weather!
And finally, what has been your favourite destination so far?
My favourite destination of all time is the Isle of Skye, which is about a 5-hour train ride north of Glasgow. With it’s stunning mountains, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. It is a great place to explore during the summer while eating great seafood and listening to wonderful traditional music.
If you’re a travel blogger and would like to take part in this guest interview series, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org