Credit: Media Scotland

Just how trendy is Great Western Road?

By Anna Yeomans

Your no-nonsense guide to one of the main arteries of the West End.

Time Out Magazine recently ranked Great Western Road as the third coolest street in the UK, and among the top 33 in the world. While ‘coolness’ is of course subjective, there’s no denying that the West End’s portion of this vast road is home to a whole host of unique spots. Whether you’re new to Glasgow or just need to refresh your memory of the street’s delights in time for the new semester, here is The Glasgow Guardian’s student friendly guide to the beloved Great Western Road.

If shopping’s your thing, rather than braving the crowds on Buchanan Street, you can spend a Saturday meandering along the row of speciality stores. You’ll be sure to pick up a cute retro piece at Glasgow Vintage Company (which offers a student discount) or find a good value second-hand read at Caledonia Books. There are also a number of independent grocery stores and delis, such as: Roots, Fruits and Flowers, El Baraka, Solly’s African Village and Lupe Pinto’s. With the rich variety of produce available from these Great Western Road staples, you’ll be able to impress your flatmates with a hearty meal. 

As well as spots for stocking up on home cooking, there are no shortages of places to dine on GWR, and many of these are accessible on a student budget. As approved by Time Out, Paesano probably takes the top spot – you can enjoy an authentic Neapolitan pizza in a relaxed environment for less than £10. But what’s a ‘cool’ street in 2022 without a classic brunch spot? Urban West has you covered, with breakfast bagels, French toast and all your avocado-based favourites on offer, also for under £10. For coffee, try Papercup, a compact establishment where you can enjoy your drink of choice in a prime people-watching location, or Sips and Baker, which has the feel of a traditional ice cream and coffee shop. 

The fun doesn’t end at dusk either, there is excellent student nightlife on offer too. Yes, not all of them fit the ‘cool’ label, but that’s no reason to write them off. Great Western Road is the perfect place for a more casual night out. Across the road from one another, Coopers and Kitty O’Sheas have a very welcoming and unpretentious atmosphere for students to socialise, and won’t cost you too much for a drink. Another favourite is the hip riverside pub Inn Deep, which is perfect for enjoying a pint by the water on a summer evening. As for those cold winter nights – fear not, The Belle is a cosy sanctuary with its open fire. With its thriving strip of independent businesses and locally-treasured establishments, it seems that GWR is more than deserving of its status as one of the world’s coolest streets, but don’t just take Time Out or even The Glasgow Guardian’s word for it. Get out there and explore for yourself as a student; this article merely scratches the surface.


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