To best discover Glasgow, old and new, at least two to three days are required. Try to avoid parking a car near the city centre although, if you must, there is good parking facilities at the St Enoch Centre. Public transport, in the form of taxis, buses and an underground train system, is more than satisfactory. It is also worth noting that there is a rapidly developing Glasgow and Clyde Coast Cycle Route Network which can be used both in the city and through to outlying areas as far as Ayrshire. Details are available from the tourist offices.
A good reference point for starting a tour of the central and eastern side is Glasgow’s Queen Street Station and George Square lying at the heart of the city of Glasgow. George Square, a spacious concrete piazza dotted with trees and flower-beds and surrounded by wide streets, was also the heart of Victorian Glasgow. At its centre is the 80ft (24m) high column and statue to Sir Walter Scott who, in truth, had little to do with the town. The column had been intended for a statue of George III but his failure to preserve the American Colonies along with Glasgow’s lucrative tobacco trade, saw this favoured plinth given to someone else. Statues of Queen Victoria, Robert Burns and, the famous Scottish inventor, James Watt, surround Sir Walter, besides hundreds of pigeons.
Public transport around Glasgow is easy enough to negotiate. There is the circular subway euphemistically called the ‘Clockwork Orange’ or the bus network with several companies, all in their own distinctive livery and often heading for the same destination. St Enoch Travel Centre, housed in a fantastic, neo-Gothic outhouse at the bottom of Buchanon Street, provides maps, timetables and helpful travel information. The Visitor’s Transport Guide is the best free map of the city and West End areas. The easiest way to cover distances, of course, is by taxi.
Sir William Burrell was a wealthy Glasgow shipping magnate who, using the fortune amassed from the astute timing of the sale of his fleet, spent his life travelling the world in search of works of art and antiquities that he liked.The Burrell is now one of the most popular galleries in Britain. Chinese ceramics, Persian carpets, medieval European furniture and stained glass along with modern painting and sculpture make it one of the most diverse collections of artefacts found anywhere in the world. Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt are also well represented. Pollock House is in the same grounds as the Burrell, built in 1750 and housing one of the finest collections of Spanish paintings in this country. There are woodland areas and a pleasant river in front of the house.