West End / Garnethill / Circular

4.3 miles – Approx 1 hour 20 minutes to 2hours

View Larger Map

Starting off from the junction of Byres Road and University Avenue, head north east towards Great Western Road passing the Hillhead Underground station on your right hand side. On this stretch of Byres Road you will pass many restaurants & bars along with some small boutique shops. More bars and restaurants can be found in the lanes running parallel to Byres Road, with Ashton & Cresswell Lane being the most established.

The temptation to kick-start your walk with a quick drink may be strong but we recommend you avoid this and plough on…if only for the fact the drink will taste sweeter if you have it at the end of your walk!

Ruthven Lane on the other side of Byres Road also has a selection of independent shops along with the impressive Rutheven Mews arcade that has a great range of antique shops for all tastes and budget. If you can drag your self away from the bars and shops keep heading north until your reach Great Western Road.

All Tomorrow's Particks -© Get Around Glasgow T-Shirts

All Tomorrow’s Particks -© Get Around Glasgow T-Shirts

On your right hand side should be Oran Mor the former Kelvinside Parish Church now converted into a multi use arts venue with bars, restaurants and a venue that hosts live music and theatre shows. The auditorium also has a fabulous mural ceiling by Alasdair Gray. At this junction cross over Great Western Road to Queen Margaret Drive, you should be able to see the Botanic Gardens on the left hand side. Continue north past the old BBC building on the right and cross the Kelvin River before turning right into Garriochmill Road.

Where Garriochmill Road meets Kelvinside Terrace South you will find a set of stairs designed by the famous Glasgow architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson. There is a heritage trail plaque marking the 60 steps and a local trust has been set up to try and restore the 60 steps to their former glory and to ensure they can be enjoyed by people for many years to come. More information on the trusts work can be found on their website: The Greek Thomson Sixty Steps Conservation Trust.

Alexander Thomson's Sixty Steps in the Glasgow West End - © Get Around Glasgow Photos

Alexander Thomson’s Sixty Steps in the Glasgow West End – © Get Around Glasgow Photos

Continue along to the junction with Belmont Street and turn right, once again crossing the Kelvin at Kelvin Stevenson Memorial Church which was designed by the architect J. J. Stevenson and built between 1898-1902. You are now heading south towards Great Western Road, once you get there turn left and head eastwards to the city centre once again crossing the River Kelvin above the Kelvinbridge Underground. The Great Western Bridge was opened in 1891, five years before the Glasgow Subway made it’s first journey around Glasgow.

Glasgow Coat of Arms on Great Western Bridge - © Get Around Glasgow Photos

Glasgow Coat of Arms on Great Western Bridge – © Get Around Glasgow Photos

Turn right into Park Road and then left onto Woodlands Road passing by the Stand Comedy club on the right continuing on past The Dram, The Halt Bar & The Arlington Bar. At the garage take a right turn and head up Lynedoch Street. Take the first left onto Lynedoch Terrace and continue ahead to Woodside Terrace and turn left heading along past the Georgian mansions. After the mansions and just before the 80’s carbunkle Fountain House, home to the GMB Union there is a pedestrian footbridge which will take us from Woodlands into Garnethill. The footbridge allows for great views of the wonderful Charing X & St George Mansiosn and the brutality of the M8 motorway that splits the West End & City Centre with a cold grey slab of concrete and rusting iron barriers.

Trying to blend fashion and functionality can often be one of the most difficult elements of any task but it is good to see that the city planners didn’t waste much time on this aspect!

Once across the the footbridge, continue eastwards along Renfrew street past some crumbling B&B’s and the rear of many of the Sauchiehall Street pleasure palaces.

At the brow of the hill and once you’ve walked under the horrifying 60’s building you will find the jewel of Glasgow’s architectural heritage, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art. There have been forests wiped out to create the books and magazines that have bestowed platitudes on the Glasgow School of Art building and the other great work in Glasgow by Mr Mackintosh and we don’t think anything we can add here is going to greatly improve this output.

Glasgow School Of Art front door sign - © Get Around Glasgow Photos

Glasgow School Of Art front door sign – © Get Around Glasgow Photos

Check out these sites for more info on the Art School & Charles Rennie Mackintosh:

Art School Tours : Mackintosh Tours
Charles Rennie MackitoshThe Society

Continue on eastwards after the art school until you get to Rose Street where you will see the art deco art house movie theatre the GFT turn right here and then right again onto Sauchiehall Street heading westwards. This section of Sauchiehall street has countless chain bars and restaurants but for every 5 boring identikit places a few gems can be found in the rough. We particularly like the Variety Bar and Nice n Sleazy, the latter has been providing the good people of Glasgow with great music and White Russian cocktails for over 20 years and the Variety Bar has being doing mostly the same for much much longer.

We definitely recommend popping into either (or both) of these bars at any opportunity.

Once you have navigated the take away madness on Sauchiehall Street, cross the M8 staying on Sauchiehall Street heading westwards. Things quieten down quite a bit as the street widens with tree lined crescents hiding offices in Georgian town houses and Victorian tenements. As the street bends to the right carry on walking, where you will eventually pass the newly refurbished bowling greens that will be used as part of the Commonwealth Games when it comes to Glasgow in 2014.

From here Sauchiehall Street merges with Argyle Street and on the right hand side you will see the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the most visited free to enter museum in Scotland.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery opened in 1901 for the Glasgow International Exhibition but after a major refurbishment it re-opened in 2006 with over 9,000 objects to much acclaim and fanfare. Some of the highlights are Salvador Dali’s “Christ of Saint John of the Cross”, “Sir Roger” a large stuffed Asian Elephant with a colourful past and a Spitfire suspended from the roof that was part of the 602 City of Glasgow Squadron.

It also played host to an excellent AC/DC exhibition, proving that art can appeal to all sorts of people!

Sadly that exhibition is no longer available in the city but whether you are a mod, rocker or perhaps consider yourself to be slightly more refined, you will hopefully find something of interest in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

If you are in need of a refreshment, the gallery has a café but if your need is for something a little stronger, across from gallery you will find the Scottish craft beer specialists Brewdog who along with their fantastic beers also sell some of the best burgers in Glasgow.

River Kelvin with Glasgow University in background - © Get Around Glasgow Photos

River Kelvin with Glasgow University in background – © Get Around Glasgow Photos

If you manage to escape the gallery or Brewdog, continue westwards crossing the Kelvin again and turn right into Church Street, where you should continue on until it meets Byres Road and turn right.

Lots more bars, coffee shops and Asian restaurants at this section of the West Ends main thoroughfare and it’s not to long before you have returned to where we started at University Avenue.

The walk could be done in just over an hour but with so many great diversion along the way you might want to make an afternoon or a day of it.