Word of Mouth: Glasgow

With design as a theme, we explore the wonders of Scotland's cultural hub

by Leora Novick

A country dominated by lush countryside, Scotland is at first glance a mélange of greys and greens. Storm-streaked skies and rolling green waves dotted with grazing sheep are but a hint of the country’s appeal, and Glasgow is leading the colorful revolution with its hub of creativity. From culinary risks to brilliantly hued design, Scotland’s largest city is now glowing brighter than ever. This “second city of the British Empire” has created its own foothold as the first stop in Scotland’s cultural tour.

Blythswood Square Hotel

Design inspiration rises with the sun in Glasgow, and the local hotels are eager to oblige. At the top of the list (and budget, it should be noted) lies Blythswood Square Hotel. Located in the former red light district, the building plays homage to its scarlet past with crimson colored lobby booths, starkly contrasting against the black and white marble decor. From its 46 seat cinema cloaked in different varieties of Harris Tweed, to the citywide renowned spa, a stay at The Blythswood proves that historical hotels can marry modern luxury in a seamless way.

The Riverhill

The buzz of creativity in Glasgow can be found in the kitchen as well. The Riverhill offers the ideal primer on Scottish food, with their classic, yet elevated breakfasts. Housed in a clean, modern space, the pared back design lends itself well to the eatery’s simple, yet refined takes on Scottish classics. Start your day indulging in “porridge with all the bits” or go full Scot with the classic eggs, sausage, toast, and beans combination.

Ox and Finch

For lunch, the unmissable Ox and Finch holds court in the now refurbished and revitalized Finnieston district of Glasgow. Dishes designed to share mandate a group outing, and in truth the lively, buzzy atmosphere is best suited to a coterie. With the menu curating a healthy balance of meat, seafood, and vegetables, it’s hard not to order one of everything. From the smoked haddock brandade with poached egg and capers to the mozzarella with nectarine, mint, and balsamic, each dish is fresh, exciting and yet not overwhelming.

The Gannet

The Gannet is another Finnieston resident, adding to the neighborhood’s stylish demeanor. From creative partnerships with brands like TrendsonTrends, curating events that gather together local Scottish creatives and culinary visionaries, to their spartan, yet inviting space that highlights the cuisine without detracting from the taste; this local eatery is adding cache to an ever rising culinary wave in Glasgow. While many of Glasgow’s restaurants seem to favor pared-down minimalism when designing their spaces, there is one Glaswegian business that is determined to add a bit of color to the Scottish lifestyle.


Bluebellgray, a home and decor brand founded by color enthusiast Fi Douglas is a welcome bright spot among Glasgow’s design scene. A graduate of the renowned Glasgow School of Art, Douglas promotes color as a lifestyle with her hand drawn patterns and floral designs, housed in a pretty as a postcard apartment style showroom in Glasgow’s Park district. As warm and effervescent as her designs, Douglas has managed to walk the line between creative and chaotic, designing an aesthetic of bright, whimsical, floral accoutrements, while still remaining measured in their balance. The result is bright and positive.


The idea of restraint seems like a common theme among the creative set in Glasgow. At Trakke, designer and founder Alec Farmer (another Glasgow School of Art alumnus) began with one concept, and tweaked, added, removed and refined until he found his signature style of sturdy, yet stylish backpacks. Inspired by the Highlands, this Scottish brand is infused with local inspiration and it shows. From quality materials and sturdy, durable products, each Trakke item highlights the Scottish enduring spirit and appreciation of nature.

Hero image and Gannet images courtesy of The Gannet, all others by Leora Novick