A GREEN GETAWAY IN GLASGOW: City takes sustainability seriously
As host of the world’s biggest climate change conference last year Glasgow takes sustainability seriously. From its expansive parks and gardens, environmental exhibitions, a dining scene with a conscience, environmentally friendly ways to explore the city’s vibrant culture, sustainable shopping, and green awarded hotels, those keen to enjoy a responsible short break should look no further than Glasgow.
Moreover, the city has been recognized as one of the world’s top five cities for its commitment to sustainable business tourism.
In Glasgow, visitors are spoilt for choice, as Scotland’s stunning scenery seeps into the city in rolling hills, expansive country parks and woodland walks. With over 90 parks and gardens, it is no wonder that Glasgow is affectionately known as the “Dear Green Place.”
• The city’s oldest park, Glasgow Green is just east of the city centre, where one will find the spectacular Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world and the beautiful McLennan Arch.
• Also east of the city is a green space with a difference – the Glasgow Necropolis. This Victorian garden cemetery is brimming with history, varying architectural styles and from the top of the Necropolis, views of picture-perfect views of Glasgow and beyond.
• The west of the city is home to the beautiful Glasgow Botanic Gardens, known internationally for its impressive glasshouses and extensive tropical plant collections, whilst the scenic Kelvingrove Park sits close by.
• Head a few miles south of the city and visit Pollok Country Park. With cycle tracks, heritage trails, a stunning country manor house and its own fold of beautiful Highland Cows – the park has something for everyone to see and do.
One of the most environmentally friendly ways to explore Glasgow is by foot. A walking tour is a great way to find your feet and learn more about the city at the same time. Luckily, Glasgow has a great choice of walking tours from which to choose:
• Why not take in some fresh air while hearing fascinating tales from around the city, admire its architecture, notable sights, and hidden gems. Choose from tours around the city centre or west end or one that takes in many of the city’s colourful murals, all ran by Walking Tours in Glasgow. There are also tours focusing on Glasgow’s fascinating music scene from Glasgow City Music Tours and a Mackintosh tour exploring the life, work and influence of Glasgow’s most renowned artist, architect and designer. This tour is a collaboration between Walking Tours in Glasgow and Mackintosh at the Willow.
• Prefer touring on two wheels? Why not join a Glasgow Bike Tour to take in some the city’s historic sights? Or explore Glasgow yourself with one of the city’s Next Bikes, part of Glasgow’s public bike hire scheme. With 800 bikes for hire in 79 locations, including e-bikes and electric stations available 24/7, it couldn’t be easier to get around the city and beyond. Also why not take a ride on the world’s third oldest metro system, Glasgow Subway. The owners of the Subway are committed to reducing its carbon footprint and adopting sustainable policies and practices.
• Glasgow Science Centre is definitely worth a visit and a great addition to any ‘green’ itinerary with their current Powering the Future exhibition, looking at our energy consumption and exploring green energy options. Although covering a serious topic, this exhibition provides a fun hands on experience with an energy dance floor and Biowall, a living wall containing a range of different plant species.
• Head just 20 minutes south from Glasgow to explore over 130 km of trails and admire over 200 wind turbines at the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, Whitelee. The windfarm also has an onsite visitor centre and lots of activities are available too, including mountain biking, cycle hire and bus tours.
• It is also worth remembering that many of Glasgow’s must-see tourist destinations, such as Glasgow Cathedral, Gallery of Modern Art and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum have received prestigious green tourism awards.
Glasgow’s eating and drinking scene is vibrant and exciting with food and drink to suit all tastes, including many options for ‘eco-friendly’ eats in the city.
• Choose from a great selection of vegan and veggie restaurants offering plant-based menus, such as Mono, a vegan café bar in the heart of the Merchant City. Renowned for its relaxed atmosphere and quality food, Mono also has an in-house record store and regular live entertainment and gigs, helping Glasgow maintain its place as one of the UK’s most vegan-friendly cities.
• The renowned Ubiquitous Chip sources local produce creating stunning Scottish dishes, with minimal waste. For award-winning seafood head to Gamba, which only serves sustainably caught fish and has been given three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association – the highest possible rating.
• Eat with a conscious at Locavore Café, located in their Govanhill shop just south of the city. A social enterprise where all profits are reinvested into building a better local food system, Locavore is unique for being the only fully organic place to eat within Glasgow, even having their own organic market garden.
Glasgow has a considerable second hand and preloved shopping scene, with numerous shops to choose from across the city. Glad Rags Thrift based south of the city saves pre-loved clothes going to landfill, while also providing volunteering and employment opportunities within the community. Starry Starry Night is a magical treasure trove of vintage clothing well worth a visit, or go to Emily Rose Vintage for beautifully, upcycled furniture, homeware, books, and gifts.
For eco beauty and bath products visit Lovesome Emporium in De Courcy’s Arcade in the West of the city. Plus, if you are staying in self- catering accommodation, be sure to check our Roots, Shoots and Flowers, or the Zerowaste Market for environmentally conscious food.
Where to stay
Glasgow has numerous accommodation options, including big brands such as Radisson Blu, Glasgow Marriott, and Jurys Inn, to more unique properties such as the Fraser Suites, offering deluxe apartments. For a more historic stay visitors can’t go wrong with voco Glasgow Central Hotel built in 1883, and all having earned the prestigious Green Tourism Award from Visit Scotland.
First published at Travel Industry Today