Just Julia takes Glasgow with £5 Advance
We invited twenty-something year old Aberdonian, Julia Bryce, to take advantage of our £5 Advance seat sale recently. Here she tells us all about her trip…
I’ve been an avid user of ScotRail since I took my first train at the age of 14 with my best friend at the time for her birthday day out in Glasgow. We were two young girls from Aberdeen taking on the big city feeling totally empowered with our newfound freedom, well, sort of.
Traveling from Aberdeen to Glasgow with no hiccups was pretty impressive for two girls who usually couldn’t coordinate themselves around their hometown. Nevertheless there we were, 14 years old, taking on a big city without any parents, splurging our pocket money on sweets and clothes.
It’s safe to say that when I was contacted by ScotRail about taking part in their £5 Advance Deal, I was extremely keen to return to one of my favourite Scottish cities. Living in Aberdeenshire, getting a taxi home after a night out is an expensive affair so if you get the chance to experience a different city in just a few hours for the cost of £5, well, I’m there.
After catching the train first thing in the morning, still in disbelief at how great value for money our £5 tickets were, my boyfriend and I arrived at Glasgow Queen Street around midday. With food on our mind, and peculiar sounds coming from our bellies, it was time to find somewhere to indulge in some grub.
We had pre-planned and had scouted out some top things to do when visiting Glasgow over the weekend, and decided to head to one of Glasgow’s newly launched restaurants, Halloumi, a Greek restaurant based just a few minutes’ walk from the station, serving up some stunning dishes.
Indulging in a cocktail or two, our mouths watered as we scoped the menu. Choosing from an array dishes we opted for six plates between the two of us. All of them tasted unbelievable and were very more-ish. We had a selection including houmous, keftedes, stiffado, halloumi fries, king prawns with garlic and chilli and the crème de le crème, grilled octopus with smoked paprika and crispy calamari. Delicious.
We then popped into the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) for a wander round the exhibitions they had on. There are always so many unusual and different exhibitions on within GOMA so it was great to interpret them in new ways.
To quench our thirst we then headed for Gin 71. Now, if you haven’t been to Gin 71 before, the idea of having over 70 gins available in one bar can be a little overwhelming, but when you’re as obsessed with craft gin as I am, this place may as well be named gin heaven. After trying out Gordon Castle Gin, The Botanist, Porter’s and Arbikie Gin, we then sampled a few of the prosecco flights.
After, we flagged down a cab and headed straight for the hotel to freshen up. In the evening we decided to catch up with some family and friends, heading to Bar Soba in Merchant City, eating and drinking throughout the evening. After a long week working it was time to hit the hay, we headed back to the hotel and crashed out on the bed.
Treating ourselves to a wee lie in, we headed for breakfast around 10AM. I’d heard great things about The Anchor Line and was keen to try the breakfast menu. A full Scottish breakfast for my other half and American style pancakes for me.
With Christmas quite literally round the corner, we decided to do some shopping. My mum loves candles so I decided to head to Shearer Candles in Princes Square, bagging a Christmas frankincense and myrrh candle and a vanilla and coconut diffuser. After browsing another few shops including the Nike store, Lush Ltd, Ted Baker and the Ralph Lauren store, food began to creep into my mind again…I’m a foodie, what can I say.
For lunch, we headed to Shilling Brewing Co. An old bank tuned brewery with a bar and restaurant inside, Shilling Brewing sported the perfect pick-me-up menu, pizza.
Two unicorn IPAs and two pizzas down, we were both extremely content with our lunch choice, especially as my pizza boasted Irn Bru chilli jam!
We then continued some Christmas shopping at House of Fraser where I drooled over the newly launched Charlotte Tilbury counter. House of Fraser always go all out on the Christmas lights, and as always I was mesmerised with the stunning Christmas displays they had created. We also ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time in Urban Outfitters - I would have happily emptied the shop if my bank account had allowed it.
With the Christmas market at George Square now open we meandered through the different stalls that were serving up some delicious food and drink and unique stalls for Christmas presents too.
With a fine piece on my mind, we headed to get shelter in The Corinthian where we spoiled ourselves with cake and coffee. I absolutely adore The Corinthian and love spending time there. It’s extremely elegant inside and the staff are always a delight. Settling into a cozy, comfortable booth we were treated to an array of cakes accompanied by tea and coffee, it was hard not to want to settle there for the evening.
Alas, bellies full and cake and coffee digested, we decided to brace the cold again and head back to the hotel to rest.
That evening, we headed out to Topolabamba for dinner. With margaritas on tap – or more to say, in a slushy machine – I felt content, enjoying a few drinks before our meal. Dinner was everything I had hoped it would be, full of flavour and exotic smells. We stayed for a few drinks after our meal, perching on the funky bar stools, then headed back to the hotel for a pre-bed tipple.
Another morning and another late breakfast, this time we visited Tantrum Doughnuts. With doughnut and hot chocolate in hand, we headed over to Kelvingrove Museum, not before utterly demolishing our delicious sweet treats.
I love Kelvingrove Museum and always visit it every time I’m in Glasgow. There’s something really relaxing about walking around a museum, and I adore animals so always seem to channel my inner David Attenborough when walking through the animal exhibitions.
We had booked a table at Mother India Café for an early dinner, so decided to give lunch a miss as we were prepared to take on the infamous Indian cuisine the eatery boasts. It was hands down one of the most delicious restaurants I have ever eaten in. Coming in tapas sizes, this allowed us to experiment with new flavours and dishes, which was very exciting. I’m a massive foodie, so getting to try out this restaurant was a real treat.
Walking into Glasgow’s Finnieston area, we headed straight for The Finnieston bar for a few cocktails and drinks. I hadn’t been to The Finnieston before so it was great to finally get to visit the bar everyone seems to be talking about. The cocktails did not disappoint, and the experienced bar staff helped us pick out the perfect gins and rums to suit our palate.
The last day of our trip, we planned to head home a little earlier to ensure we were home for dinner. We decided to indulge at The Riverhill Café, which is just a short walk away from Glasgow Queen Street Station, giving us plenty of time to enjoy our breakfast before getting on the train.
Jumping on the mid-morning service we departed Glasgow Queen Street on the ScotRail service knowing we had put our £5 Advanced train ticket deal to good use. I was still amazed at how great the offer was and the amazing value for money it boasted. You’d be lucky to get a taxi from one end of Union Street to the other in Aberdeen for that price, never mind a train ticket to Glasgow! It’s the best £5 you will ever spend.
For all the lucky travellers who managed to bag themselves the £5 Advanced ticket deal over the weekend of 25 – 28 November, I hope you had as great a weekend as we did. I will definitely be looking out for this deal again, and next time I think I’ll go away for the weekend with my girlfriends too – the more the merrier as they say!
From the comfort of the train we waved goodbye to Glasgow, knowing we’ll be back soon to experience more of the cities delights.
Post by Julia Bryce of Just Julia
Inspired to travel to Glasgow this Christmas?