A beginner’s guide to…Strathbungo, Glasgow

Get the basics on a special corner of Glasgow's Southside

Where exactly is it? Strathbungo is on Glasgow’s southside, a grid of elegant Victorian streets packed with spots to discover. Its intriguing name has never quite been explained: ‘Strath’ (from Scottish Gaelic: Srath) is normally a prefix for a wide river valley – however, there’s sadly no splendid River Bungo. It may therefore represent what linguists might call a “nasalisation” of Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, from Srath Mhungain. Now you know. Phew.

So how do you get there? It’s a thirty-minute walk from the city centre, or five mins in a cab.

Pollock Country Park
Winter at Pollock Country Park. Photo: SE

So what goes on in Strathbungo? It’s regularly voted one of the best places to live, not just in Glasgow – but the UK. There are decent parks: Queen’s Park is on your doorstep, while the semi-rural and sprawling Pollock Country Park is a brisk amble away (lovely on a Sunday with a hangover, see below), recently rebooted with the new Burrell Collection. Overall, expect a distinctive community feel with quality independent shops and businesses.

I’m hungry now. Where should I eat? The unmissable newish spot is Lobo, which serves small plates in a simple dining room on main thoroughfare Pollokshaws Road. On our visit we rated dishes like cumin-roasted carrots with parsley hummus and crispy chickpeas, roast hake with tapenade crust, salmorejo and anchovy crumb, and tasty lamb shoulder pastilla in a vivid spiced pea, mint and dill sauce (main picture, above). Yum.

Grain & Grind
Sunday queues at Sunny Acre café. Photo: SE

Almost directly opposite is Luchador, a relaxed taco joint that is as much bar as restaurant: don’t miss the purple pickled eggs, crispy fish tacos (pictured above), sea bream ceviche and rosy chargrilled hangar steak. I also enjoyed the roast beef Sunday lunch at Zinfandel, while Bungo is one of the area’s hotspots for potent bloody marys and brunch.

Coffee? Sunny Acre is a wildly popular spot (above), especially at weekends. In fact, there’s a lot of choice should you be partial to brunch. Grain & Grind is also a good option, while Seven One Seven is another deli worth a visit.

Bloody Marys at the Stag & Thistle. SE.

How about a pub crawl? There’s a ton of choice. The Koel Schipyard is a cute, candlelit tavern with cosy back room, while The Stag & Thistle is airy and friendly, with a great corner terrace. I also liked the Allison Arms, a characterful boozer with wooden floors, central bar and good craft beer.

What else can I do? Don’t miss a walk through Govanhill, five minutes’ walk away with a long street and diverse community (recommended is The Bell Jar pub and the Transylvania Shop & Cafe). And LGBTQ bookstore Category Is Books is a local treasure, positively packed with a well-curated selection; an essential stop.

Category is Books
A treasure-trove: Category is Books. Photo: SE

Where can I stay? I stayed with an old friend in Strathbungo, as well as a hotel up in Merchant City, where there are lots of well-priced options: the Brunswick Hotel came in at under £60 a night, and is clean and very well-located.

Glasgow is around four-five hours’ on the train from London Euston. Read more on Glasgow in our earlier feature here.

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