Glasgow Doors Open Day Festival 2018 - Preview
If you happened to follow my Instagram stories last Thursday at @edienthusiast, you might be aware of my recent Glaswegian adventure. The lovely people behind @glasgowdoorsopendaysfestival invited me and Shawna of @exploringedinburgh to visit our favourite Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival venues and show you a sneak peek behind the scenes.
This year the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival is on between 10-16 September and it is a week long celebration of Glaswegian architecture and heritage. The full programme is available here with all buildings, talks and tours free to attend. The long list of venues might be a bit overwhelming first, so let us help you with a sample itinerary. We were using public transport to get around during the day and the route is doable in a leisurely pace including comfort breaks.
Stop 1: Olympia Building (Venue 49)
The Olympia building dates back to 1911 and during its eventful past it used to house a cinema, a bingo hall and a furniture store - don't worry, not all at once. After extensive redevelopment it was reopened in 2012 and today it is home to Scotland's first British Film Institute Mediatheque amongst other tenants. The terrace offers beautiful views over the cute square and the whole Bridgeton Cross area. My favourite architectural feature of the building is the stunning staircase designed by Page Park Architects.
Address: 2-16 Orr Street (ScotRail Bridgeton Cross)
Doors Open Days: Tours Tue & Thu 5.30pm; Sat 11am & 12pm (45 minutes). Advance booking is essential.
Stop 2: The Briggait (Venue 2)
After a short train ride from Bridgeton Cross to Argyle Street and a wee walk, we arrived in the heart of Glasgow's Merchant City.
Did you know that The Briggait was the city's fishmarket for over 100 years, until its closure in 1977? Today this stunning building is home to 80 artists and cultural organisations including the Wasps Artist Studios. The beautiful hall is often used as venue for various events and exhibitions. Have you visited it yet?
Address: 141 Bridge Gate (ScotRail Argyle Street)
Doors Open Days: Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm. Booking not required.
Brunch stop: Wilson Street Pantry
Conveniently located in Merchant City, the Wilson Street Pantry is only a few minutes walk away from The Briggait. We popped in for a quick brunch and a cuppa - those Eggs Bennies were perfect, I went for the one with salmon and can only recommend it. Also bonus points to the café: I managed to charge my phone and camera batteries while I was eating.
Address: 6 Wilson Street
Stop 3: The Glasgow Art Club (Venue 13)
Our next stop was the beautiful Glasgow Art Club and we picked this venue due to its special connection to Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The gallery (pictured above) was largely designed by Mackintosh himself and you can find his signature style even in the smallest details, from door handles to the carvings on the mantel. We particularly loved the stencilling of the Mackintosh Frieze, which was his first major public work painted in 1893.
Upstairs, we got access to a wee painters' studio where we admired the beautiful chaos of artist easels, chairs and various props. Isn't it pretty?
Address: 185 Bath Street
Doors Open Days: Sun 10am-4pm (updated opening hours). Booking not required.
Mewsing at Park Circus
Both Shawna and myself adore the cute lanes of mews houses in Edinburgh. When I heard Glasgow also has some mews at the West End, we decided on a slight detour and headed straight to Park Terrace Lane.
The lane is situated at the back of Park Circus and it's also the perfect spot to have a peek into 22 Park Circus. Once the city's registry office for civil marriages, the building was originally built as the home of the wealthy Glasgow industrialist, Walter Macfarlane. At some point after the Second World War it even housed the Italian Consulate. 22 Park Circus currently has a private owner and sadly not participating this year's GDODF. We are secretly wishing that one day we will be able to enter the building and admire its richly decorated interiors.
Stop 4: The Common Guild (Venue 94)
After our small mewsing detour, we were back on track and continued our walk to The Common Guild. Located in a beautiful Victorian townhouse right next to Kelvingrove Park, the gallery serves as an event and exhibition space for visual arts. They also have a unique library with a great selection of art books, catalogues and periodicals. We particularly loved the period features of the space such as the stunning white staircase (pictured above).
Address: 21 Woodlands Terrace
Doors Open Days: Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm. Tours: Sat-Sun 12pm, 2pm, 4pm (30 minutes). Booking not required.
Cake stop: Chaiwallah West End
Have you ever had tea and cake in a former Victorian public toilet? The derelict brick building of the toilet block at Eldon Street was converted into Chaiwallah, a unique coffee shop in 2017 and has been popular among locals ever since. The café is conveniently located next to Kelvingrove Park and we popped in for some peppermint tea and lemon drizzle cake before moving on to our next venue.
Address: 55 Eldon Street
Stop 5: Trinity House (Venue 113)
And the next venue we visited is a real stunner! Trinity House used to be a training college for Scotland's Ministers for 112 years. Today the building has been converted into private apartements with its beautiful hall retaining its period features. We felt extremely privileged to gain access to the tower of Trinity House and after a long climb we were rewarded with postcard perfect views over Glasgow.
Address: 31 Lynedoch Street
Doors Open Days: Tours Sun 4pm, 5pm, 7pm (30 minutes). Advance booking is essential.
Stop 6: Anderston Kelvingrove Parish Church (Venue 87)
The final stop of our GDODF preview adventure was the Anderston Kelvingrove Parish Church, just a short walk away from Trinity House. Having lived in Warsaw, the Polish capital for a few years during my studies, I have a secret love for concrete and brutalist architecture.
The Anderston Kelvingrove is a stunning brutalist example from the 1960s with its distinctive pyramid roof and bright sanctuary. I don't think photos reflect enough its magical atmosphere which should be experienced in real life - so go and check it out for yourself. The church will also serve as GDODF festival headquarters during the open doors week, the perfect excuse to pop in several times if you wish so.
Address: 759 Argyle Street
Doors Open Days: Sat 11am-3pm, Sun 1pm-4pm. Booking not required. Tours available on request (15-30 minutes).
Coffee Stop: The Steamie
After a busy day of viewing beautiful Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival venues, we headed to The Steamie in Finnieston for some hot drinks and cake. If you are a fellow coffee lover, don't miss their fine small batch roast. If you are less of a coffee fan, they have plenty of hot chocolate options on the menu.
Address: 1024 Argyle Street
Hope you enjoyed this year's itinerary and you are looking forward to the fest. If you need further inspiration, last year's sample itinerary is available here with all venues opening their doors again during this year's festival. Venues include: Arlington Baths Club (Venue 89), Glasgow City Free Church (Venue 18), Holmwood House (Venue 67), The Lighthouse and Theatre Royal (Venue 35).
All photos by The Edinburgh Enthusiast (C).
Acknowledgement: Thanks to the lovely Molly and GDODF18 for organising us access to these stunning venues, we thoroughly enjoyed every moment. We gained no financial benefits from this promotion and the views and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and purely my own.