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Big Garden Bird Watch
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Easter Spectacular
Wee Write!

Aye Write! Bank of Scotland Book Festival
Glasgow Art Fair

Helensburgh Ale Fest

Bard in the Botanics
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Great Womens Run

Bard in the Botanics
Glasgow International Jazz Festival
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Indian Summer
Scottish Masters Football
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Festival Day Carnival Parade
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Highland Cattle Show
Nexus Scotland
Pollok Family Day
SNO!zone Summer Daze Festival
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Great Scottish Run
Homes & Interiors Scotland
Merchant City Festival
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Autumn Wild Days Out
Big Big World Festival

Christmas Tree ‘tagging’ begins
French Film Festival UK
Getting to Know ‘Yew’
Glasgow Beer Week
Glasgow Christmas Market
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Christmas Tree sales
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Glasgow On Ice
RSNO Christmas Concert
Santas Grotto

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When Glasgow was at the pinnacle of its industrial might it was regarded as the Second City in the Empire. Nowadays, its reputation is more complex; but what is beyond repute, is its charm, its vibrancy, and unique history and culture that makes it such a captivating city. Home to 1.75 million people, Glasgow defines the west of Scotland in so many ways. It was the quiet monastery town that grew post-Union into a hugely populist, multicultural city – thousands of Irish immigrants moved to the city after the Irish Potato Famine of the mid-19th Century, and today it has one of the most cosmopolitan communities in the country. It has seen its population swell to the point of overcrowding, thus leading to the creation of new towns such as East Kilbride and Cumbernauld . Glasgow watched its fortunes rise and fall with that of heavy industry. It got wealthy on the back of tobacco and sugar, shipbuilding and industrial toil; it was these industries that have made an indelible mark on the city, defining its tempo and key. The River Clyde, whose bands flank the south of the city centre, made Glasgow and its shipyards a global brand. Now they are all but gone, luxury flats and redevelopment see Glasgow’s riverside following the rest of Glasgow by rebranding and re-imagining itself. The finance sector is now gobbling up land once used for heavy industry. Glasgow’s economy has irreversibly changed in the past twenty years, but the city’s identity is still instantly definable. There are many factors which make Glasgow the inimitable city that it is. Though industry played its part, it is the people who are more indicative of Glasgow . Glaswegians – ‘weegies’ as the rest of Scotland may refer to them – are real salt of the earth people, no airs or graces needed, with a language and accent that seems to be impenetrable to the rest of Britain. Cultural exports, like television comedies Rab C. Nesbitt and Taggart, are often screened with subtitles. Glaswegian is one regional dialect that those in the south struggle with; rough, guttural and peppered with slang, swearing is oft used for punctuation, Billy Connolly springs to mind! Glaswegian slang, ‘the patter’, is constantly evolving, but when used by Glasgow’s people – in particular its working class denizens – it is as much a badge of identity as it is a means of communication. Another component, key to Glasgow’s identity, is its architecture. If there are some depressingly modernist buildings to be found in the city’s financial sector, relics of the trend of the ‘60s and ‘70s, they are the exception, not the rule. Glasgow’s 19th Century wealth afforded it the best of design and construction, and there’s no greater example of this than the City Chamber Buildings which overlook George Square in the City Centre. Built in 1888, these magnificent buildings have been the headquarters of Glasgow City Council for over 100 years. Many of Glasgow’s more inspired buildings have been conceived by the pen of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Both are instantly unique – Mackintosh’s designs for Glasgow School Of Art, House For An Art Lover and Queens Cross church are typical of his work; while Thomson’s classical approach can be seen all around the city, from townhouses in the leafy residential area of Strathbungo in the city’s southside, to the Caledonia Road Church in the Gorbals. The Lighthouse Museum of Architecture, Mitchell Lane, offers panoramic views of the city centre, and an insight to its architectural heritage. Culture is also firmly cemented into the city’s identity. European City Of Culture in 1990; be it theatre, dance, comedy, art, music, eating and drinking, Glasgow’s social calendar is always chock-a-block. Glasgow is home to a number of theatres, and there can be few cities where drama is brought to the people like it is in Glasgow: The Citizens’ Theatre consorts with TAG Theatre Company, a company devoted to involving youth groups in theatre and educational workshops; The Arches Theatre hosts a number of exhibitions and productions, from avant-garde music festivals to cutting edge performance artists, and is widely considered to be one of the hippest venues in the UK; and the Theatre Royal has been presenting the best in theatre of all disciplines since the late 19th Century. Nighttime in Glasgow leaves little room for sleep. The streets of the West End, City Centre and Merchant City are fringed by a phalanx of eateries, and a great number of bars. Glasgow’s West End has long been the bohemian capital of the city, its lively community swelled by a large student population, and there some of the finest restaurants in Glasgow can be found – Stravaigan (one and two), Number 16, Two Fat Ladies, The Ubiquitous Chip – not to mention some excellent delis, and places for a quick bite or pub lunch. Ashton Lane attracts throngs of revellers at the weekend who shoehorn themselves into the cobble-stone lane for an evening of Guinness at Jinty McGinty’s, or Belgian Bier and moules et frit at Bar Brel. Just a ten-minute ride from the city centre by tube, Hillhead is your stop for the West End’s main thoroughfare, Byres Road. The Merchant City, sitting to the east of Buchanan Street in the city centre, has enjoyed a burgeoning nightlife in recent years. Home to restaurants, bars, boutiques and galleries, the streets around Candleriggs and Bell Street throb with activity. Originally the beat of Glasgow’s mercantile set – the tobacco lords, the sugar lords – now the Merchant City is the preserve of the artist, the hipster, the fashionista, and the evening diner. With bars and restaurants in such number, Glasgow puts its dukes up in the fight against dieting and sobriety. Despite its enthusiastic hospitality, how much you enjoy yourself in Glasgow isn’t measured in pints. Your heart (and itinerary) is more likely to be commandeered by the city’s most famous landmarks. Breathtaking, though by nature sobering, Glasgow’s Necropolis is a cemetery, and not obviously the first port of call for visitors to the city; but its views, its grandeur and its history are compelling reasons to make your way past the Royal Infirmary on High Street, and into the sprawling graveyard where some 50,000 people have been laid to rest. Originally modelled on the Parisian cemetery, Pere Lachaise, it became Scotland’s first ornamental garden cemetery in 1833, a 37 acre site with monuments designed by Glasgow’s auteur architects; Mackintosh, Thomson, and David Hamilton. Built for the living was the People’s Palace , situated in Glasgow Green, it charts Glasgow’s colourful social history. From its formative years in the 18th Century to contemporary times, Glasgow and its people are under one roof. Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the West End is a spectacular building heaving with art and history exhibits, and best of all it’s free. And a lot of what Glasgow offers is free. There are a number of great parks – Kelvingrove Park in the West End, Queen’s Park, Rouken Glen and the magnificent Pollock Country Park in the South. For a taste of real working class Glasgow visit the Barrowlands market in the Gallowgate area of the East End. Easily walkable from the city centre, and located under its infamous ballroom and concert venue, ‘the Barras’ is a flea-market cum institution in Glasgow, and a real eye-opener for any visitor. Glasgow, the sophisticated city; it doesn’t sit comfortably with its image as the gritty, hard city. Yet, with a cultural wealth that dwarfs that of most cities in Britain, Glasgow’s image as a hard city seems woefully one dimensioned. It is football mad, with three 50,000 plus seater stadia catering for Celtic , Rangers , and the Scotland national team. But it is also enthralled by cinema: the Glasgow Film Theatre on Rose Street is an art-deco cinema specialising in arthouse film; and with the new eight-story UGC cinema on the top of Renfrew Street, the city has the biggest multiplex in Britain. Only London’s galleries see more footfall than the Gallery Of Modern Art on Queen Street – Glasgow values its arts, it loves its music, and, as the slogan would have it, ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’. Glasgow’s recovery from the deindustrialisation of the past 30 or so years is moving on at pace. The city still has a lot of work to do before its more deprived areas enjoy an economic and social renaissance, but Glasgow is a city with plenty to celebrate, and even more to look forward to.

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On this day:
The English Restoration - Charles II lands on British Soil - 1660, HMS Pinafore Opens - 1878, Celtic win the European Cup - 1967, Tubular Bells released - 1973, Star Wars Opens - 1977, HMS Coventry Sunk - 1982
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