Glasgow is Scotland's largest city. Its population is almost 600,000 and the city is proud to be the largest retail centre in the UK after London. Glasgow is situated on the west coast of Scotland, in the central belt, only 42 miles from Edinburgh. It is easily accessible by rail, air and road. It is one of the top financial centres in Europe and many of Scotland's largest businesses have their offices here.
In recent years Glasgow has undergone enormous transformation from a run-down city to a forward-looking city of culture. There are many museums and art galleries, wonderful theatres, top-class restaurants, clubs and pubs and stunning parks. The city is within a short driving distance of much of Scotland's spectacular countryside and coast.The award of UK City of Architecture and Design was awarded to Glasgow in 1999. This is because the city has such high-quality design in its architecture. Regency, Victorian, art nouveau and chic ultra modern are all here.
In 1984 the Burrell Collection was opened. A purpose-built gallery, it contains an unusual, eclectic collection of items given to the city by Sir William Burrell. The city's principal collection of paintings, however, is housed in the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum. This is the most frequently visited of Scotland's free attractions.
A collection of Glasgow's trams and trains can be seen in the Transport Museum where there is also a reconstruction of a street scene from the city in the 1930s. The UK has only one museum which celebrates the many religions of the world and it is here in Glasgow. The St Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art is well worth a visit.
The oldest public park in the city is Glasgow Green. Here it is said, James Watt sat on a stone whilst mulling over his ideas for inventions which gave the impetus to the Industrial Revolution.
The Merchant City is an interesting part of town. Mansions formerly owned by rich merchants are among the buildings here, as well as warehouses and banks. A Robert Adam building, The Trades Hall, is situated in this part of the city and is open to the public. Entry is free. For those interested in history and like to walk, there is a Medieval City Trail.
When it comes to eating out in Glasgow, there is endless choice. For French food, try Brian Maule at Chardon d'Or, a restaurant popular with city workers as it has a set-price lunch menu. Terence Conran has only one restaurant not in London and it is here in Glasgow's heart. Etain is decorated with white linen and cool shades and is chic and stylish. Scottish beef and sea bream can be enjoyed from its menu. For a pub atmosphere, try City Merchant in Merchant City. It has stained glass windows which add to the ambience and the menu is great value. Scottish meat, steak, seafood and mussels are highlights of the interesting menu.
Many pubs stay open around the clock and clubs stay open until 3am. In the city there are over 700 bars and pubs as well as nightclubs catering for all types of music. Most nightlife takes place around the West End, the city centre, Merchant City and Ashton Lane which is a cobbled street full of bars and restaurants. The people of Glasgow truly do know how to have a good time and don't know much about early nights!
Glasgow is proud to be a modern city and the people here are thrilled to have been chosen as the hosts to the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Over 700 countries will send athletes to the city for 10 days of events which will be watched by millions of people throughout the world.
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