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The Search for the Perfect Cup of Tea in Glasgow

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Beauty of the scenery and the authenticity of the attractions can make or break a trip. But the one thing that often ends up shining through is the spontaneous exchanges with the locals. And as far as chatty residents go, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the Glaswegians. How did a simple cup of tea in Glasgow completely transform my stay?

Charmed by Glasgow

 “Can I get you something, luv?

Five minutes. All it took was five minutes in Glasgow for me to be effortlessly swayed by the Scot’s notorious charm. Admittedly, it would’ve been unthinkable to remain stoic with Susan, a benevolent lady with immaculately coiffed white hair working the main floor at the Willow Tea Room. This legendary Art-Nouveau tea house is listed in pretty much every guidebook. And yet, it still manages to make you feel like you’re right in your granny’s living room… just a pair of knit slippers away from a perfect illusion.

Mind you, this friendly interaction could have very well occurred in a pub, a shop, or even in the street. For it is not uncommon to be chatted up in that informal manner in Glasgow. By men or women. I am once more taken aback by this disarming familiarity while sitting at The Lismore pub a few hours later. The barman, a chap named Alister, whose substantial waistline gives away a certain expertise in everything pertaining to beer, asks:

You want anything to drink, my darling?”

Few people are aware that Glasgow is actually Scotland’s largest city. Her rival, Edinburgh, is indeed very strong competition. But far from being the ugly sister, Glasgow thrives, thanks to fine cultural establishments like the Kelvingrove Museum, to an effervescent culinary scene, to a vast architectural heritage, but mostly, to people like Susan and Alister, who continue to make the capital incredibly likeable – who even went on to make it its slogan: People Make Glasgow.

And if the Scottish accent represents a definite challenge for anyone who isn’t a native English speaker, fret not: the Glaswegians’ sincere friendliness and camaraderie will undoubtedly be quick to tear down any linguistic barrier.

How about that cup of tea in Glasgow?

Here are some great places to sit, daydream, warm up and chat with the fabulous people who make Glasgow such a British gem. On the menu: one, two and three tier trays, lots of fun and a few treats!

  • Art Lover’s Café: Yet another Art Nouveau masterpiece by Mackintosh, featuring exquisitely designed rooms and the freshest ingredients sourced from top-notch local providers.
  • The Corinthian Club: Experience the grandeur of a Grade-A listed building, rich with historical elegance, crowned by a breathtaking glass-domed ceiling; indulge in its renowned signature afternoon tea, complete with the sparkle of champagne!
  • Cup Tea Lounge: Step into an ornate tea room adorned with exquisite Victorian tiles. For a delightful twist, try their whimsical gin cocktail teapots!
  • voco Grand Central Hotel: Take a seat and journey into the past at this iconic hotel, gazing over Central Station to revel in the nostalgia of the golden age of travel. Don’t miss their celebrated pink afternoon tea, complete with the option for delightful pink bellinis.
  • Crossbasket Castle: Nestled on the fringes of Glasgow lies the 17th-century Crossbasket Castle, a beacon of luxury among Scotland’s hotels. With a menu curated by the renowned celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr., this destination epitomizes the pinnacle of sophistication. Pinkie finger up!
  • Red Bus Bistro: Experience a unique twist on afternoon tea aboard a vintage Routemaster bus! It combines delicious treats with a tour of Glasgow’s premier attractions.
  • Hidden Lane Tea Rooms: In Finnieston, one of Glasgow’s trendiest districts, the charmingly eclectic mix of vintage and mismatched china sets the stage for a delightful afternoon tea. Enjoy pastries freshly baked on-site, along with their signature homemade Chai.

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