Discover Glasgow’s Top 5 Must-Visit Locations Recommended by Sam Heughan

Sam Heughan, the 42-year-old actor who portrays the beloved Highland warrior Jamie Fraser in the time-travel series ‘Outlander,’ has a deep appreciation for history. He particularly loves exploring the clan culture, folklore, and the consequences of the Jacobite Rising. It is this passion for history that fuels his love for the ancient city of Glasgow.

Glasgow, with its combination of medieval cathedrals, cobblestone lanes, Victorian and Georgian architecture, and 19th-century tenements, holds a special charm for Heughan. It was a thriving hub for tobacco, sugar, steel, and ship production during the Industrial Revolution. He describes Glasgow as a city with both beauty and grit, made even more enchanting by its warm and friendly people.

Aside from his role in ‘Outlander,’ Heughan has been busy with other projects. He recently finished shooting a television show called ‘The Couple Next Door’ and is launching a whisky-focused spirits brand called ‘the Sassenach,’ which includes a “wild Scottish” gin. ‘The Sassenach,’ meaning “foreigner” in Gaelic, is a term of endearment used by Jamie Fraser for his wife, Claire.

In his free time, Heughan enjoys exploring the outdoors. He loves walking and running along the River Clyde to Glasgow Green, often stopping at the microbrewery ‘Drygate’ for a beer. Hiking is another favorite pastime, as evidenced by his memoir, ‘Waypoints: My Scottish Journey,’ where he chronicles his experience hiking the 96-mile West Highland Way. He believes that taking a leisurely stroll, or ‘stravaigin’ in old Scots speak, is beneficial for mental health.

Heughan is also a fan of the Citizens Theatre, located in the working-class Gorbals area. The theater is known for its avant-garde productions and community engagement. He has a deep connection to the theater, having visited as a child, performed there as a student, and participated in his first professional show, ‘Outlying Islands.’ Although the theater is currently closed for refurbishment, it holds many cherished memories for Heughan.

On the subject of kilts, Heughan reveals that he does indeed wear them in real life. He believes that kilts evoke a certain feeling, making the wearer stand taller and walk stronger. According to him, Scots wear kilts for any occasion, and wearing one to a pub might even result in a free drink.

Here are five of Heughan’s favorite places in Glasgow:

1. The Ben Nevis Bar: This small whisky bar in the Finnieston area is considered a Glasgow institution. Heughan has been frequenting it since his college days, drawn to its Gaelic-speaking patrons and live traditional Scottish music.

2. Kelvingrove Park: Located in the West End, this 85-acre park is a popular gathering spot for locals. It features Victorian fountains, grand stairwells, and a picturesque stone bridge. Visitors can enjoy picnics, explore the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and visit the nearby University of Glasgow. Heughan also recommends the “secret” bar called ‘Inn Deep’ for craft ale enthusiasts.

3. Dakota Grill: Although he may not stay overnight, Heughan enjoys dining at the restaurant inside this modernist hotel in the city center. The Dakota Grill specializes in grilled grass-fed Scotch beef, ethically sourced seafood, and contemporary dishes featuring venison and lamb. He appreciates the restaurant’s dark and sexy interior, as well as their cocktail menu, particularly the whisky sour.

4. The Cheese Shop: For cheese lovers, this old-world style shop on Great Western Road is a must-visit. Heughan recommends their locally sourced cheeses, along with accompaniments such as quince paste, cornichons, olives, chutneys, and oatcakes. His personal favorites are the Orkney and Isle of Mull Cheddars. The shop also offers tastings led by knowledgeable cheese mongers on Thursday evenings.

5. Gamba: This popular seafood restaurant in Finnieston is known for its high-quality seafood and lively atmosphere. Heughan suggests sitting at the counter, facing the open kitchen, and indulging in the seafood platter with langoustines and scallops. He believes that the food at Gamba truly celebrates Scotland’s reputation for having the best seafood in the world.

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