My Britain: Glasgow

 Two Glaswegians share why Glasgow is an absolute must-visit 

Known as the "Dear Green Place" thanks to its history of creating and protecting its parks and green spaces, Glasgow has emerged over the years as one of Britain's finest "destination cities". Scotland's largest city is renowned for its culture, sport and the distinct character of its people—the Glaswegian sense of humour (or crack) is world famous thanks to comedians such as  Frankie Boyle, Billy Connolly, Limmy and Susan Calman. 

Glasgow is well known for its musical offering, with a host of live venues encouraging an export of successful musical acts, including Primal Scream, Simple Minds, Franz Ferdinand, Lulu and Chvrches, to name just a few. 

Artistic practices also thrive in the city thanks to the Glasgow School of Art, many of the buildings of which were designed by the renowned artists Charles Rennie Mackintosh. And the city's many galleries regularly attract high profile exhibitions. 

Kevin Dow


Kevin Dow is front of house at The Gannet, an institution of fine Scottish dining in the heart of Glasgow. He was recenty nominated for the GQ Food and Drink Awards as "Best Front of House". 

I was born and raised in the West End of Glasgow. I have lived in the city for the majority of my life, apart from a couple of short stints in Edinburgh, where I fell into working in bars and restaurants when I was meant to be studying; and a spell in France, where I fell more in love with food and the culture of “living to eat”.

Growing up just off Byres Road, there was always something going on and plenty to do and explore. At that time it was a buzzing shopping area with lots of individual retailers and independent suppliers, full of interesting characters with the BBC based at the top of the road and the university very close. 

I love the people in Glasgow, the green spaces, the architecture, the music, the style. There is an undeniable sharp wit amongst Glaswegians and we are not afraid to laugh at ourselves—there is always someone with a quick retort or an insightful quip. The diversity of cultures living in Glasgow makes it such an interesting and vibrant place.

"There is an undeniable sharp wit amongst Glaswegians and we are not afraid to laugh at ourselves"

Known as the Dear Green Place, you are never far from a park or open space here and with such a mix of architectural styles, I always tell visitors to look up.  The buildings are incredible.
Glasgow is also renowned for music—there are so many bands that have emanated from the city and become internationally successful. Growing up I immersed myself in the music of 
the city spending so many nights in the amazing venues across town.

Glasgow is not short on spirit, it is a warm, welcoming and friendly city. The people here are genuine, honest, proud and never short of an opinion. Glaswegians love to enjoy life, and want everybody to enjoy it with them, they have a brilliant, sharp sense of humour and love to laugh.

Having worked in hospitality in the city for well over 30 years I have met so many interesting people, they love to know you and be known by you and are truly interested in your welfare. It is difficult for me to go anywhere in the city without bumping into someone I know or who knows me!

The Gannet was one of the first restaurants that opened in what is now the destination dining area of Finnieston in Glasgow’s West End. Started in 2013 by chef/owners Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein, I joined them in 2014 to lead the front of house team.

"It is difficult for me to go anywhere in the city without bumping into someone I know or who knows me!"

Over the past eight years we've built a strong network of  local suppliers and artisan producers furnishing us with some of the most fantastic ingredients from Scotland’s rich larder, recognised by many as the best in the world, including sustainably caught seafood, grass-fed heritage aged beef, free-range poultry and wild game.

We have gained a reputation as one of the must-visit restaurants in the city with 3 AA Rosettes and Michelin Guide Plate listings and a host of accolades over the years. As well as the amazing food on offer, we aim to make every visit an experience—the comfortable and relaxed environment; warm, friendly and approachable service style—allowing guests to enjoy  the very best Glasgow and Scotland has to offer.

It's hard to name my favourite spot in the city—there are so many to choose from, and over my lifetime Glasgow has become a destination city, building a reputation as a centre of academia, culture, business, conferencing and tourism. But I think the spot that reminds me most of Glasgow and growing up in the west end is the Kibble Palace glasshouses in The Botanic Gardens.
 

Lisa Lawson

Lisa Lawson is the founder of Dear Green Coffee Roasters, a Glasgow-based ethical coffee roastery. 

I was brought up just outside of Glasgow and have lived in the city since 2002, so I've been here for most of my adult life! I spent a lot of my childhood in Glasgow and as soon as I had finished studying and travelling I always knew that I’d return. I've never wanted to live elsewhere thanks to the art, music and now the long-awaited foodie scene. 

I love how Glasgow has the feeling of being in a village, yet being surrounded by the buzz of a city! There's so much heart and soul in Glasgow, and it's full of friendly, resilient and welcoming people.

Having worked most of my life in hospitality, I’ve been excited by the growth of quality restaurants, cafes and bars in recent years. I’ve witnessed areas like Finnieston, Dennistoun and the Southside all developing into destination neighbourhoods next to beautiful parks, with interesting new businesses to visit. It's amazing to see how despite the city developing, time seems to stand still here when you look around at the enduring beauty of the Medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture. 

"I love how Glasgow has the feeling of being in a village, yet being surrounded by the buzz of a city"

I launched Dear Green Coffee Roasters in 2011 as there weren't any specialty coffee roasteries based in the city. I named the company after Glasgow, the "Dear Green Place" and have roasted and supplied cafes, restaurants and bars in the city and beyond ever since. We now also host the annual Glasgow Coffee Festival, putting Glasgow on the map as a quality coffee destination. Dear Green has been on an incredible journey since its founding, and has been supported by loyal customers since day one. We’re lucky to be based in such a great city and we're extremely proud to be part of Glasgow’s story.

It's so hard to pick a favourite part of Glasgow. I love that I work near the Barrrowlands Ballroom and experience the oldest part of Glasgow each day, yet live on the Southside and can go running in Pollok Park each evening and feel like I’m in the countryside. 

Plan a visit to Glasgow at Visit Scotland, or People Make Glasgow

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