The spotlight is on Glasgow this month as the world’s leaders gather for the COP26.

But don’t let the environmental talks be the only thing you think of when it comes to this stunning Scottish city.

Glasgow is jam-packed with art galleries, museums, quirky boutiques and incredible restaurants.

From a walking tour dedicated to the art of the city’s most famous son Charles Rennie Mackintosh to food cooked by Michelin-starred chef Lorna McNee, here’s what should be on your Glasgow bucket list:

Refurbished station stay

The Glasgow Central hotel has a slightly new name – it’s now the Voco Grand Central – and a rejigged look. Dreamily positioned for train passengers inside and above the city’s grand, eponymous station and below an iconic clock tower, it dates to the 1870s.

A wide, spiralling rectangular staircase now leads to 184 rooms daubed in subdued blues, burnt yellows and soft pinks.

The focal Champagne Central bar remains, with entry to it taking guests past
a new gallery wall featuring public-made paintings of such legendary past guests as JFK and Frank Sinatra.

From £88pn

The world through women’s eyes

Formerly a bank, library and tobacco magnate’s mansion, Glasgow’s central Gallery of Modern Art turns 25 this year.

The first of a series of celebratory exhibitions is Drink In The Beauty, which showcases environmental-focused work by female artists from the museum’s collection, including amazing algae photographs by 19th-century botanist Anna Atkins (until January 23, free).

Further west, the park-set Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has galleries devoted to taxidermy and ancient Egyptian artefacts behind its impressive baroque, red-sandstone facade.

Love cheap days out? Here are two Glaswegian bargains

The 200-year-old Botanic Gardens are free.

Out on the South Side, the Star Bar famously offers three old-school lunch courses for just £3.

And all-day tickets on the efficient, three-carriage Subway cost just £3.

Mackintosh-themed mosey

One of the founders of British Art Nouveau style, Glasgow-born designer, architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh is now the subject of a city walking tour.

Running on Saturday mornings until late October, it covers his most famous still-
standing works, as well as covering how the temperance movement inspired Glasgow’s leading tea-shop entrepreneur to commission Mackintosh to design her famous cafés.

‘The tour lasts two hours,’ explains co-founder Liv Barber, ‘starting by a Mackintosh mural by the River Clyde and finishing, aptly, at a tearoom. We walk around 1.5 miles in total, squeezing in lots of lesser-known sights along the way.’

£18pp.

Britain’s best female foodie

Glasgow’s most vogue restaurant has been around for 11 years. It was only this year, however, that Cail Bruich’s resident cook Lorna McNee became Britain’s only solo female Michelin-starred chef.

Devoted to seasonal ingredients – local where possible – her tasting menus might include langoustine accompanied by pink grapefruit and ponzu or a blue-cheese mousse framed by peach wisps.

Devouring them inside a smart, bistro-like space amid the hip West End district, each diner has reserved well ahead. ‘Bookings are only available up to 90 days in advance,’ says Rhianne Fyall, the reservations manager, ‘with dinner slots filling especially quickly.’

From £75 for seven courses

Retail therapy

Though high-street brands cluster around the centre’s hulking brownstone streets, the leafier West End is where you’ll find Glasgow’s cooler boutiques.

Byres Road, for instance, blends an absurd amount of trendy hairdressers with svelte patisseries, just-opened bar Juicy UK – home to a custom açaí bar – and boutiques like Finnieston Clothing’s new concept store, where some homeware is sold alongside earthy outerwear for both sexes.

The area of Finnieston itself, actually found across from elegant Kelvingrove Park, has the same liberal, studenty vibe plus a smattering of artisan coffee shops such as The Steamie.

Return trains from London Euston to Glasgow via Warrington Bank Quay cost from £68, avantiwestcoast.co.uk

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