How To Spend Your Summer Holiday
Counting down 5 ways to spend the inevitably all-too-brief Glasgow summer.
“There are two seasons in Scotland,” observed Billy Connolly, “June and winter.”
Whilst the irreverent musings of “The Big Yin” may do our country’s climate a disservice, it would take a debater of Socratic quality to convince a native that our meteorological destiny is anything better than “alright, once you get used to it.”
As the days creep ever closer, then, to that elusive month of June, the residents of Glasgow can begin dreaming of a happier time. A time when they can leave their brolly at home. A time when mothers won’t have to warn their exasperated, fully-grown sons that the roads are due to ice up overnight and they shouldn’t take the car out. A time when stilted small talk with the new work colleague you’ve yet to make a judgement on doesn’t need to include the phrase “Aye, it’s wild outside.”
But what to do with the freedom that only a person using the palm of the hand to shield their eyes from the sun can experience? Certainly, the temptation to overindulge in alcohol, pass out in your back garden and wake up requiring medical attention is strong. But, for those looking to enjoy a summer without the need for emergency fluids delivered via IV, there are other options…
Glasgow’s Public Parks
With over 20 public parks to choose from, Glaswegians looking for a leisurely summer stroll are spoiled for choice.
Perhaps the pick of the bunch is Pollok Country Park, located in the south of the city. Best known for being home to dozens of Highland cows and also housing the Burrell Collection, it is the largest of Glasgow’s parks.
Moreover, the park has received the Green Flag Award for each of the past five years, indicating that it meets the highest national standards.
2. Kelvingrove Bandstand
Restored to its former glory 90 years on from its initial opening, the rise, fall and rise again of Kelvingrove Bandstand is a testament to the power of community spirit.
Originally opened in 1924, over the years it has played host to influential Scottish bands such as Wet Wet Wet and Simple Minds. Towards the end of the 20th century, it fell into disrepair and in 1992 the idea of demolishing this important landmark was publicly floated.
The local response was overwhelmingly and emphatically against this idea, and so began a 20-year campaign to both save the bandstand and restore it to its former glory. A deal was eventually struck in 2012 and, 2 years and £2.1m later, the bandstand re-opened.
As Glasgow’s only active bandstand, it hosts events ranging from concerts, to comedians to movie screenings. To be sure, there are few better ways to experience live entertainment than sitting outside on a warm June evening.
3. Nardini’s Ice Cream
Situated less than an hour from Glasgow by train or car, the coastal town of Largs has plenty to charm visitors with. This is a town, after all, which plays host to a famous beach, an iconic pier and even an award-winning Viking museum.
Perhaps the main reason to visit this summer, though, is for a taste of world-famous ice cream. Located within a listed building, Nardini’s Esplande Café was originally opened in 1935, and benefited from the post-war tourism boon that saw Glaswegians travel “doon the water” to holiday in Largs.
Though Largs’ status as a tourist hub has long since faded, the quality of the ice cream, the prime location and the unique building décor have ensured that Glaswegians will still travel in their droves for a taste of their 32 flavours of ice cream.
4. The Riverside Museum
Located on the banks of the River Clyde, the Riverside Museum is a worthy addition to the West End’s collection of museums.
Containing over 3,000 objects and vehicles which help to detail the history of Scottish transport, the Riverside Museum paints a rich tapestry of Glasgow through the ages.
Even better, the entire experience is completely free and, should the novelty of pretending to drive a real, 19th century steam engine wear thin, there is almost always an open-air fun fair located outside the museum during the summer.
5. The Barras Market
Perhaps the most stereotypical Glaswegian choice possible, the outdoor Barras Market is nevertheless a shopping experience unlike any other in the world.
Explaining the Barras to someone unfamiliar with Glasgow would prove difficult, but it can perhaps best be described as the dodgy cousin of the car boot sale. Make no mistake – this is certainly not the Portobello Road market.
What much can be said is that for anyone wanting to enjoy an authentically proletarian Glaswegian experience, there are few better options.
Walking between stalls which sell items ranging from sports socks to vintage pornography, a prospective customer will almost certainly find something that piques their interest.
Add in a can of Irn Bru and warm, early afternoon sunshine and you have a recipe for a day well spent, and money well wasted.