This one’s for Des Moines friends who asked today for advice for an upcoming trip to Glasgow. I was there last May with friends from London and we stayed at the very Scottish, well-located, reasonably priced Kirklee Hotel (www.kirkleehotel.co.uk.; 11 Kensington Gate Glasgow G12 9LG; tel: 00 44 (0)141 334 5555) – an Edwardian house on a pretty residential street with giant orange, pink and purple rhododendron in the city’s West End. A double was $112 (then 75 pounds) per night plus breakfast that included the option of smoked salmon with your eggs. We ate dinner nearby at The Ubiquitous Chip (www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk/index.html; 12 Ashton Lane; (44-141) 334 5007) which specializes in gourmet versions of Scottish delicacies including haggis (which I declined to order but I did taste my friend Francine’s). My Orkney salmon was lovely. The oatmeal ice cream was surprisingly good. This is the place to have ten-year-old Macallan Single Highland Malt Scotch Whiskey. Among nearby sights, you might enjoy the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road; (44-141) 334 2422, http://www.seeglasgow.com.
We were on a Charles Rennie Mackintosh kick so we tried to see as much of his architecture as possible but unfortunately our visit coincided with a bank holiday so a lot of his buildings were closed. I most wanted to see Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art but most of the interior was closed for the holiday. We did go on a hop on/hop off bus that stopped at various Mackintosh buildings, some we’d never have found on our own, including a grade school he designed that was pretty cool. Don’t know if the bus is still operating but you can check on: http://www.crmsociety.com. There also was a one-day Mackintosh Trail Ticket. We had lunch at the somewhat touristy Willow Tea Rooms, which is a reproduction of Mackintosh’s original. Scottish food isn’t my favorite but when in Rome…and this cozy upstairs tea room is a good atmosphere to eat it in. I think I had a baked potato loaded with shredded cheddar cheese.