Credit: Pricilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Coffee and cake for one?

By Zein Al-Maha Oweis

Five places to curl up with a book in the West End. 

As an avid reader, I love going around the West End searching for new spots to read. After living in Glasgow for a year, I have come to cherish those little unique cozy cafes and outdoor spaces that have become a haven to shelter me from the rain when wanting to step away from my research and just relax. I’d like to share a list of some unique gems which I feel all book lovers will enjoy visiting.

The Botanic Garden Tearooms

In April, when restrictions began easing, I ventured around the Botanical Gardens in search of a quiet nook to read my book in peace. This is when I discovered the Botanic Garden Tearooms. Hidden inside the gardens themselves, it has become one of my favorite places to read while sipping on a hot cup of jasmine tea. When I sit and read here, the sounds of leaves falling and the aroma of flowers engulf my senses. You forget that you are sitting in the heart of one of the busiest gardens in Glasgow. However, I would recommend wearing double (or triple) layers when sitting here as it can get very chilly.


While walking along Great Western Road I stumbled upon a wee cafe called Papercup. As you step into the cafe you are greeted with different accents and the smell of strong roasted coffee. My favorite time to visit is on a rainy day. As you sit and read you can hear the sound of rain falling and the pitter patter of footsteps as people rush to get to their destinations. It is like people watching with your ears. Papercup is cosy, friendly and relaxed; perfect for reading.

Jelly Hill Cafe and Bar

If you are looking to mix reading with a fine glass of wine then Jelly Hill Café and Bar is the right spot for you. Situated on Hyndland Street, the cafe offers a vast array of soft and alcoholic drinks that cater to different occasions. Not only that, it is one of the cafes that stays open until 10pm and is just a 10 to 15 minute walk from University Avenue. Jelly Hill has the perfect vibe for readers who enjoy mystery novels; right in time for spooky season.

Café Françoise

One of my favorite spots on Byers Road is Café Francis. Not only is the food delicious and the beverages refreshing but their inside booths are comfy enough to help you escape into a novel and lose track of time. The atmosphere inside reminds me of the cafes on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It’s the perfect place for couples who enjoy reading together, or to delve into a romance novel on your own.

Waterstones (Byres Road)

What better place to read than at a cafe inside a book shop? I love book shops where you are surrounded by the smell of coffee and ink on paper. Since I was a child my parents would always bring me to Waterstones to feed my reading addiction. I loved walking through the different wooden bookcases, always searching for my next read. After setting my eyes on a book and buying it, I would go and sit in the cafe and read. It is a beautiful place that brings back some of my fondest memories.

If you love to read and enjoy spending a beautiful Autumn day with a good book then do consider visiting one of these beautiful reading spots. Now that the days are getting shorter and the weather is nipping our noses, I am definitely going to venture to find some new reading spots in the West End.


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