Update 2017: Having received two new reviews from a reader we thought we should update our information on Glasgow with regard to trendy places to visit and their accessibility.
In 2014 we wrote about the Glasgow School of Art (See below) and it’s new Reid Building. At the same time the world famous Mackintosh Building suffered from a destructive fire that meant it had to be rebuilt and restored to its former glory of 1910. This is slow progress as they restore all the Rennie Mackintosh fixtures and designs but you can see the progress from their from their blog and the video below from 2014. You can still visit the very accessible Reid building and go on their walking tours that show the, ‘hidden architectural gems of Glasgow’.
Reader Linda, has also added two new venues for us……………
First is GoMA, Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, here are her findings with regard to accessibility,
“Old building but equipped with ramps and lifts to allow movement through building. Disabled toilets in lower floor and also at top level. Grab rails but smallest space so require assistance to negotiate doors and forget getting door locked whilst using loo. And then assistance required to exit space. At least they’ve tried….”
They’re displaying work by Stephen Sutcliffe for October 2017 – Jan 2018. Locate in Royal Exchange Square it’s close to, accessible, Princes Square Shopping Centre (see below), if you fancy a shop or bite to eat afterwards. GoMA gets 2 BBS Ticks for style and accessibility.
The second review is of Drygate Brewing Co, which is a,
“Very accessible gastropub. Lift goes up to Brewhouse (even more relaxed) and disabled toilet. Also access to exhibition / concert space at rear. Disabled parking available and best loos encountered with room for manoeuvrability of chair and grab rails”.
Sounds great and looks stylish in an ‘industrial’ way. It is a brewery but they serve other drinks including a Romanian Chardonnay (never tried but intrigued). There’s a shop, brewery, restaurant and terrace so they get 2.5 BBS Ticks.
August 2014: Watching the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling on whether Scotland should stay part of the UK, my mind started to wander and I was impressed not by the rhetoric (neither side have convinced me Yes or No – but I don’t have a vote over something that will affect 60m of us), but by the surroundings the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It was impressive even though the Herald Scotland described it as
“the Spitfire, the Dali – but generally it looks like Scotland’s grandest junkshop, its maze of galleries tottering with random loot.”
It’s accessible according to their website (accessibility info. here) and I thought we should look at other places in Glasgow before any possible sovereignty changes make it necessary to get a visa to enter…………….. So staying in Kelvingrove, in the ‘hip’ West End of Glasgow, I realised we’d already reviewed a top restaurant there, the Sisters which sounds great but is not accessible as it’s up 12 steep stairs and there’s no toilet (only gave them a generous 1 BBS Tick as it looks good and food sounds lovely). Nearby, in Argyle Street, is the ‘traditional Scottish’ Ben Nevis Pub which is worth visiting if you want a taste of many whiskeys and craft beers. Reviews are mixed as it appears the ‘Scottish Folk Music’ at night attracts a younger crowd and during the day it’s a quieter traditional pub. As for access, one entrance has a small lip but the other is completely flat. There’s no disabled toilet but the nearby Crabshakk and Kelvingrove Cafe have disabled facilities that are available to their patrons……..Only a provisional 2 BBS Ticks then!
Moving on down Argyle Street, to the disabled toilet, the trendy seafood restaurant Crabshakk offers a lunch and dinner menu Tuesday-Sunday, devised from ‘the catch of the day’. It includes dishes such as octopus and asparagus a la plancha with aioli and squid ink mayonnaise, breaded brill burgers and rare rump of beef with shellfish oils. It’s small and has a mezzanine that’s not accessible, however, there’s flat access downstairs where you can sit at one of two tables. They have a disabled toilet with all the grab rails (not verified so if anyone’s been tell us here). Looking at the food and the fact that it’s a ‘hot ticket’ to dine there, they get a provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks.
The other place mentioned by the Ben Nevis pub is the Kelvingrove Cafe, a 19th century ice cream parlour transformed into a ‘Cocktail Bar Diner’ that channels ‘the spirit of Brooklyn and Paris’ (with accessibility and a disabled toilet). It has great reviews for its cocktails, particularly the ‘Inverso’ (rum, pomegranate and French bitters Amer Picon) and the ambience is uber chic in a ‘speakeasy’ style. This all adds up to another provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks.
If you just want a good cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake go to Roots Fruits and Flowers, also part of Glasgow’s boho quarter. A beautiful flower and food shop with tasty delicatessen food to eat in or take out.
For another informal brasserie the Hyndland Fox fits the bill. Further into the West End of Glasgow, it serves food all day but according to most critics the desserts and cooked Scottish breakfasts are best. There’s wheelchair access and a disabled toilet and they get a provisional 2 BBS Ticks due to the mixed reports on the ambience and service.
Other places to eat and drink include: The Ubiquitous Chip (restaurant & courtyard are accessible, brasserie upstairs isn’t and there is a disabled toilet), which is highly recommended by The Good Food Guide and Conde Nast Traveller; Mono a vegan restaurant we recently reviewed as a healthy, accessible eating place; The Restaurant Bar & Grill a classic brasserie serving steaks & cocktails on the second floor of the up market Princes Square Shopping Centre . It’s accessible through the centre’s lift and a dedicated lift when the shops are shut and there’s also a disabled toilet. They all get a provisional 2.5 BBS Ticks.
So where to stay in Glasgow? Our previous research identified the 5 star hotel Blythswood Square as a good accessible place to stay. A refurbished Georgian townhouse in the Glasgow Central conservation area, it has a contemporary elegance and (unusually) an accessible Spa. A cheaper alternative is to stay at the boutique Dakota Hotel in Motherwell, 15 miles outside of Glasgow. It has a disabled room on every floor!
A final few places to see are the Glasgow Film Theatre an independent cinema and art centre. It shows new art house releases, independent documentaries and cult classics. There’s full accessibility with a ramp at the front door and a lift to screens upstairs. There are multiple wheelchair spaces in all of the screens and further information is available here. A provisional, maximum 3 BBS Ticks, if what they say is correct.
The celebrated Glasgow School of Art is another must see. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the late 19th century it’s one of the city’s greatest buildings or it was…. Unfortunately due to the extensive fire in May of this year it is now being rebuilt and restored and won’t be open for the next 5 years. See the video below,
However, there are walking tours (would take a miracle in my case!), of other architectural Mackintosh gems lead by GSA students and you can find out about these by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The other part of the campus is the ultra modern and impressive Reid Building. Designed by US architect Stephen Hall, it is open and houses the in-house shop where you can pick up original designs by staff, students and alumni. Completely accessible with disabled toilets it gets another provisional 3 BBS Ticks as it’s the ultimate in style with accessibility.
Finally a quick word on how to get to Glasgow. Flying is quickest (see our air travel guide) by BA, Easyjet, Ryanair, Flybe, KLM, Aer Lingus or Lufthansa – depending on where you’re flying from. Another option is Virgin Trains and they have an ‘Assisted Travel Service’ which basically says book in advance and hope they’ve remembered you’re on the train when you want to get off. If anyone has tried this service let us know if it works???????
Hopefully this brief guide has given you a taste of Glasgow and it’s accessibility. I love the place and have always found the Glaswegians to be fun and happy to help. Why not write to us with your recommendations.