On July 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:It’s perfectly possible to get a good sense of Glasgow in a single day, but only if you manage to complete all of the following three things: check out a Charles Rennie Mackintosh building, walk around one of the city’s wonderful museums and enjoy a cold beer in a proper Glaswegian pub.
The easiest way to manage all three is to hop on one of the open-topped tour buses from outside Glasgow City Chambers. However, we prefer to explore the city by foot. Start your day of walking at Mackintosh’s Art Nouveau masterpiece the Glasgow School of Art, then head a block down to The Willow Tea Rooms (also a Mackintosh building) for an artery-clogging breakfast.
From there, you’ll be taking the long walk to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum — perhaps the best civic art collection in Europe, not to mention the most popular attraction in Scotland. Feel free to stop at some of the interesting sights en route, such as historic buildings and moving memorials — you can even plop down for a picnic in the scenic Kelvingrove Park. Just make sure to leave plenty of time to explore the entire museum from top to bottom.
After completing your long tour of the museum, stick around the West End. You can either spend your evening trudging around the area’s collection of restaurants, pubs and live entertainment clubs; or, if you’ve had enough for one day, you can simply head to the Horseshoe Bar, which offers all that in one place.
On July 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:From funky fashion to flavorsome food, Glasgow has world-class shopping throughout the large city. High-end designer labels can be found on Buchanan and Argyle streets in the Merchant City, while more casual wear can be found in shopping malls like Buchanan Galleries and Braehead.
The markets are worth exploring, too. Glasgow’s biggest is The Barras (Glaswegian dialect for “barrow”). It sells everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to antiques and collectibles. Another good market is the Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market. The city is also dotted with flower markets, so be on the lookout for those as well.
On July 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Considering it’s Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow has plenty of parks, museums and activities to keep your children entertained. Here are five of the best:
1. Learn about science. Perhaps the finest hands-on museum in Glasgow, the Science Centre lets kids get up close and personal with science. They’ll learn about everything from the biological system to the solar system.
2. Climb some walls. Both kids and adults will like The Glasgow Climbing Centre. Its dedicated Rock Ratz club is tailored to kids between the ages of 7 and 12, giving them some exercise while also helping them develop their coordination, team building and self-discipline.
3. Learn about Vikings. It may be 20 miles from the city, but the Vikingar Museum in Largs is worth the trip. A multimedia experience using live actors, interactive displays, videos and games, it brings the story of the Vikings to life.
4. Take to the water. The James Hamilton Heritage Park, located just outside the city, boasts a 16-acre loch in tranquil surroundings. Some of the kid-friendly activities here include canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and just running around.
5. Check the calendar. Glasgow has kids’ events and activities all year round, from theater festivals to pop concerts to Celtic fairs. Seek out the city’s events calendar before you make your trip.
On July 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:As one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, Glasgow is naturally home to a diverse range of tourist-friendly attractions. Here are five of the best things to see and do in the city:
1. Enjoy the architecture. Glasgow has a huge number of architecturally interesting buildings, ranging from its Gothic cathedral to its Renaissance City Chambers to its style-defying Glasgow School of Art. But perhaps the most interesting of all is the ultra-modern, armadillo-inspired Clyde Auditorium.
2. Take in a museum. There are dozens of museums in the city, showcasing everything from religion to science. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ lesser-seen favorite is probably the Glasgow Police Museum, which celebrates the history of one of the oldest police forces in the world.
3. Stroll through a park. There is more parkland in Glasgow than in any other British city — so make the most of it. Start with a walk around the Botanic Gardens, followed by a picnic in the historic Glasgow Green.
4. Enjoy a concert. Glasgow has a thriving music scene and has played host to popular bands like Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol. For established acts, head to the Barrowland Ballroom; or to discover the next big thing, try Tchai-Ovna.
5. Watch a football match. The Old Firm Derby — the football match between city rivals Glasgow and Celtic — is one of the most famous in the world. But if you’re not around for that, you can catch all the other games in the local pubs.
On June 30, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:London is packed with shops and stalls selling touristy mementos that typically involve red telephone boxes, black cabs or royal post boxes. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s suggestions for more memorable souvenirs to bring home from London.
1. Food hampers. Luxury English food hampers can be found in many London stores – including luxe department stores like Harrods or Fortnum & Mason – and will usually contain traditional English preserves and chutneys, tea and coffee, cheese and biscuits, Belgian chocolates and perhaps some fine wine.
2. Children’s toys. A trip to the world’s largest toy shop, Hamleys on Regent Street, is a thoroughly unique shopping experience, and the perfect place to pick up a quintessentially English toy for a souvenir. Games like Subbuteo, hobby models like Airfix and teddy bears like Paddington are all hard to find in other countries.
3. Museum trinkets. Probably the best places to pick up meaningful mementos of your trip to London are the varied gift shops in its museums and tourist attractions. As well as selling the same typical tourist tidbits, these stores are also home to a wide variety of more upscale items directly related to the venue—whether it’s watercolor paintings, photographs, biographical books or historical reproductions.
4. Challenging food. Despite the huge improvements in British gastronomy over the last 30 years, there are still some favorite local foodstuffs that baffle visitors—so why not share your bafflement with friends and family? A jar of Marmite, a pork pie, a black pudding, a tin of treacle—the options are endless. You can find these at the same locations as the above mentioned food hampers—namely Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges.
5. Sports memorabilia. Walk around London and you’ll see Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham football shirts sold everywhere. But if you really want some sports memorabilia to remind you of England, why not try choosing a lesser-known sport: a national rugby shirt or cricket bat are ideal mementos. Find them at Piccadilly Circus’s Lillywhites.
On June 30, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:There’s always something interesting going on in London, with everything from live concerts to sporting events on at different times of the year. Here are just a few of the city’s biggest seasonal events.
1. London Fashion Week. As one of the world’s truly great fashion capitals, London Fashion Week is always a fascinating cultural event for visitors. Although it’s held twice a year, in both February and September, we would recommend the the September shows to get a sneak peak on what the world will be wearing in spring 2013.
2. Summer festivals. London boasts a number of summer pop music festivals, including Wireless, the Camden Crawl and Lovebox, as well as some world-renowned theatre, dance and classical music festivals. Our favorite is the 80-year-old Regent’s Park Open-Air Theatre, open May to September each year.
3. Wimbledon. The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon takes place in June and July each year, and is accessible to everyone with a travel ticket and a willingness to queue.
4. Open House Weekend. Usually held during the third weekend of September, this event sees hundreds of the city’s most interesting, usually inaccessible buildings opened up to the public. Previous sites have included Mansion House (home to the London Mayor) and the Jewel Tower in the Houses of Parliament.
5. Winter skating. If you visit London between November and January, you’re likely to see a number of outdoor ice skating rinks all around the city. Previous sites that have boasted skating rinks include the Tower of London, the Natural History Museum, the London Eye and—our favorite—Somerset House.
On June 30, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:London may be the largest capital in Europe, but many of its main tourist attractions are within walking distance of one another. So put on a good pair of shoes and prepare for a day pounding the streets—here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best way to see London in one day.
Begin at the transport hub of Victoria Railway Station, with breakfast to go from one of the station’s many coffee and pastry stands. From here, follow the crowd to Queen Elizabeth’s primary residence, Buckingham Palace, and after an obligatory snapshot of a Queen’s Guard sentry, head down The Mall (a wide road lined with trees and Union Jacks that connects the palace to Trafalgar Square). If it’s close to 11 a.m., you might witness The Changing of Guard, but if not, you’ll have to console yourself with Clarence House and Horse Guard’s Parade.
At the end of The Mall, take a left onto Trafalgar Square and stroll around Nelson’ Column. The National Gallery, which is just off the square, is also worth a visit, and because it’s free you can stay for as long or as short an amount of time as you wish. Head to one of the surrounding restaurants afterward for lunch.
When you’ve finished your meal, walk it off by heading from the square down Whitehall Street. You’ll find the Ministry of Defense Building, Downing Street and the Cenotaph along here, but it’s as you reach the end that you’ll see the most famous sight of all: the Houses of Parliament.
There is plenty to see around here—stroll the perimeter for great views of Big Ben, the gardens and the river—but once you have finished, cross the road to Westminster Abbey. Don’t think twice about paying to get inside this 1,000 year old landmark: it’s not to be missed.
From here, head across Westminster Bridge to the other side of the river, where you’ll find the London Eye. Hop on for a spectacular view of the capital, including sights like Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the O2 Arena. After a 30-minute spin on the massive Ferris wheel, hop off and walk just a little further down the river to the renowned Royal Festival Hall—a landmark of Brutalist architecture. Around here you’ll find dozens of excellent restaurants, bars and clubs, so spend your evening in the area. Finally, when the time comes, stroll to Waterloo Railway Station for your journey home.
On June 30, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:London is a culturally and ethnically diverse capital with a penchant for consumer culture and a long-established tourist trade. Put those elements together and you get world-class shopping:
As one of the world’s great fashion capitals, people come from far and wide to sample the city’s designer outlets. Luxury labels (from Armani to Versace) tend to gather in the stylish streets of West London, particularly in Kensington and Mayfair, but more affordable names can be found in the famous Oxford Street. There are also a number of shopping malls dotted around the city, including the enormous Westfield, while small clothes stores can be found on every high street.
You can’t move in the center of London without seeing tacky souvenirs for sale – from inflatable London buses to Union Jack teddy bears. However, the best place to find meaningful and well-thought-out souvenirs are in the dedicated stores inside museums, galleries and various other city attractions. Alternatively, you can head to Harrods to pick up a small slice of luxury London.
London is famous for its markets, and there are stalls across the capital selling everything that anyone could ever need. In the big three alone (Portobello Road, Camden and Brick Lane) you’ll find new and second-hand clothes, jewelry and fashion accessories, furniture, household goods, flowers, electrical items, toys, fruits and vegetables, replica football shirts, arts and crafts, international cuisine and much more besides. Our off-the-beaten track suggestion? Sunbury Antiques Market, a bi-monthly gathering that takes place in London’s Kempton Park.
On June 30, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Although it’s a bustling metropolis, London is a wonderful destination for families with children of any age. From free museums to colossal toyshops, here are five perfect ways to spend a day:
1. Visit the animals in the zoo. London Zoo was founded in 1828 and was the first zoological park in the world. Almost 200 years later it is still one of the best, housing more than 750 different species (that’s close to 17,000 individuals!) and with enough interactive games and activities to entertain the family all day.
2. Take your pick of museums. The second best thing about London is its enormous variety of child-friendly museums—the first best thing is that they’re all free. From the Natural History Museum to the Horniman, the Science Museum to the National Gallery, you could fill two weeks with everything on offer.
3. Have some farmyard fun. You wouldn’t think it from the looking at a postcard of the sprawling metropolis, but London is home to several working ‘city farms’ that welcome visitors for free (although they’ll be glad to receive a donation). Our picks are Hackney Farm in northeast London, with its cute pigs and sheep, and Mudchute Park in East London’s Isle of Dogs, which has horse-riding and a lovely tea shop.
4. Let them loose in Hamleys. Who said taking kids shopping is a chore? Witness your children’s eyes light up by taking them to Hamleys on Regent Street, the world’s largest toy store. With seven levels covering 54,000 square feet, it has more childhood playthings – old and new – than you could possibly afford.
5. Choose an annual event. The British love a family-friendly party, which means there’s always something interesting — and suitable — going on in the capital. From February’s Pancake Day Races to August’s Notting Hill Carnival Children's Day to November’s Bonfire Night, simply take a look at the social calendar.