During my last stay in Glasgow I took part in a tour organized by People Make Glasgow and Visit Scotland. The itinerary started from the banks of the river Clyde and then reached the heart of the West End district. In that way I discovered the Clydeside Distillery, a new attraction that opened almost at the end of 2017 and then The Hidden Lane, a community of over 100 studios located next to Argyle Street.
The Clydeside Distillery
The tour started off by visiting Queen’s Dock, near the Hydro Arena. The dock was inaugurated by Queen Victoria in 1877 and the Pump House was the most emblematic building of the area. Today, it hosts the new Clydeside Distillery.
There we meet Bridgeen Mullen – Clydeside Distillery Visitor Centre Manager – who explains to us all about the new distillery. As a matter of fact, the full visitor experience includes:
- an interactive whisky experience;
- a cafè-restaurant;
- a retail unit offering a wide variety of Scotch Whisky brands;
- a whisky tasting bar.
The cafè and shop open Monday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Clydeside Tour
It’s possible to book online the tour. This is divided into three parts:
- find out more about the history of the Dockside and the whisky industry in Glasgow thanks to several live footage and animation. You can visit this area on your own;
- then, an expert guide will awaits you to take you around the distillery itself. You will see the craftsmen in action using traditional methods and time-honoured skills. Before continuing the visit enjoy the amazing view over the Clyde from the Still House;
- for the grand finale reach the Tasting Room to savour three drams from across Scotland and then you can buy your favourite one.
The tour runs every hour from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm and it lasts around 80 minutes. Regarding the prices:
- adult, £15
- child (8-17), £5
- concessions, £13
- family, from £33
So, after 140 years since the opening of the Pump House and The Queen’s Dock – both witnesses of the exports of Scotch Whisky with ships – the process of the distillation of whisky officialy returns to Glasgow… and you can’t miss it 😉
The Hidden Lane
We leave River Clyde’s bank headed to Glasgow West End, precisely to Finnieston district, to explore The Hidden Lane. Behind Argyle Street, this is a lovely area with painted houses and, If you’re looking for something off the beaten track, that’s definitely your place.
Here you can visit more than 100 studios of designers, photographers, artists, artisans, jewelers, musicians, and so on. Not only that, among the other things you can find even an Art Gallery, two yoga studios and the Tearoom where we went to lunch.
No matter if you go for breakfast, lunch or for an afternoon tea, The Hidden Lane Tearoom deserves a visit. In this way we had the chance to discover a lovely hidden gem, an ideal place where to relax for a while. Speaking about food and drink, there’s plenty of choice including homemade soups and cakes, scones, pancakes, stews, many platters and more than 30 types of tea!
After the break we continued exploring Hidden Lane with the visit of two studios just in front of the Tearoom.
The first one was Libby Walker, an illustrator who produces drawings, digital and screen prints inspired by urban landscapes of Glasgow and the other Scottish cities.
Once there, she explained to us her way of working and we could see some of studio creations like cups, cards, furniture, bags and so on. Apart from here and her online shop, some items are available in many retailers in Edinburgh, Falkirk, isle of Skye and obviously Glasgow.
Then we walked a few steps to Bonnie Bling, an acrylic jewellery and fashion accessories’ studio opened in 2010. The graphic designer Mhairi Mackenzie showed us the production creation process as every item is designed, lasered and produced right here. The studio is usually opend every Monday and Saturday from 12 to 4 pm.
The online shop features necklaces, broochs, charms, hats, pins, clocs, mugs, gift ideas and many more.
How to reach The Hidden Lane
Hidden Lane is located in 1103 Argyle Stret – in the center of Glasgow West End – with access between Sandyford Flowers/Harvey’s and GG Brother Liquor/Greggs (on the opposite side there’s Villa Toscana – Italian Restaurant).
Some places of interest easily reachable in less than a 30-minute walk from the studios and the tearoom are:
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (0,4 miles)
- Charing Cross train station (0,4 miles)
- Hydro Arena (0,5 miles)
- Riverside Museum (1,2 miles)
Otherwise, if you’re visiting Glasgow you may take advantage of the Glasgow Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (buy the ticket here) departing from the city centre and get off at Kelvingrove bus stop.