Ah… summer in Glasgow. A quiet campus, more available spots in the library, and sometimes even two sunny days in a row! As many students leave Glasgow at this time of the year to go on holiday or move back to their home country after finishing their degrees, it can feel a bit lonely to be left behind working hard on your research project during the summer! So what can you do if you have to keep up the PGR work, yet struggle with loneliness, diminished motivation or absent supervisors and colleagues? That’s right: you combine work with fun summer activities! To keep you going, I have assembled the ultimate Glasgow Summer Survival Guide.
Imagine this: you’re opening your curtains in the morning and the sun is shining. I know, I know, but it can happen! When it does, everybody seems to agree that going outside is a must, because you never know when the next opportunity arises to catch some rays and stack up on vitamin D. An obvious location and local favourite is Kelvingrove Park. Not only is this park conveniently located near the UofG campus, it is also a great hotspot for a barbecue, a lunch break with friends or a meeting place for male Glaswegians to celebrate their ‘taps aff!’ tradition. Some genius-with-too-much-spare-time even created a website to determine whether today is a good day to remove your shirt: The Taps Aff Forecast!
Be aware that once you sit down in the park it might prove difficult to get yourself back to work, though! So if you’re looking for a more structured break in terms of time management: our colleague Sian is relaunching the Tuesday PGR Lunchtime Walks. Join her for a walk around our beautiful campus and meet some fellow PGRs to venture out with more often! Meet them at 12.30pm at No. 11 The Square, opposite the University Chapel.
If you fancy a little trip outside Glasgow and are craving for some fresh air and nature, a train or bus will take you to Loch Lomond in under an hour. You can take a hike or simply have a picnic and enjoy the view. My favourite spots are located near Balloch train station: a bench in front of the castle and a small beach where dogs play and swim, and their humans can buy ice-cream!
If working towards a deadline or general PGR stress is keeping you from taking a day off (although I highly recommend that you schedule at least one day off every week to, you know, celebrate life besides your research), there are lots of options for the evenings as well.
Several pubs and restaurants in Glasgow have beer gardens in summer. Inn Deep is a great place to drink a cold pint right next to Kelvingrove Bridge, which is a great place to end after taking a lovely stroll through Kelvingrove Park. Brel, in Ashton Lane, has a decorated garden where you can try many different foods and drinks. A little bit further down on Byres Road is The Record Factory, which offers music, food, drinks and a beer garden.
Another great evening option is the Luna Cinema at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh! This open-air cinema will be hosted at the centre for plant science for three days in September. You can enjoy three movies under the stars: The Jungle Book (the 2016 version, not the Disney cartoon) on 1st September, Dirty Dancing on 2nd September and La La Land on 3rd September. You can find more information about ticket prices, directions and opening times online.
If you’d like to enjoy some more culture in Botanical Gardens, perhaps Bard in the Botanics is your thing! They organise a range of Shakespeare plays in our very own Glasgow Botanics all throughout the summer season.
Festivals and events
If you like drinking and snacking (who doesn’t?!) you are in for a treat this summer. There’s Cocktails in the City, the Glasgow Tequila Festival, the West End Beer Festival, Vegan Connections, the Big Feed – or if you can’t quite decide which tipple you fancy: The Scottish Drinks Festival! A couple of minutes on Facebook or What’s On Glasgow will find you many more events to explore.
Like music and willing to travel a little further? ButeFest is held at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, about 90 minutes from Glasgow by public transport. The festival consists of three days (28th, 29th and 30th July) and the line-up includes We Are Scientists, The Chair and The Wedding Presents.
While you’re in Scotland, why not enjoy some traditional entertainment this summer? I’m not talking about drinking Buckfast while walking shirtless in Sauchiehall Street, looking for the nearest chippy for some deep-fried delicacies. I’m talking about “I feel like I’m in Outlander” events! The Highland Games are held in numerous locations in Scotland this summer. You can spot many different kilts, watch dance competitions, track and field events, and listen to pipers. Visit this website for an overview of locations and activities.
Finally, between 22nd and 30th July, the Merchant City Festival takes place in Glasgow that combines all sorts of entertainment into one big fest. The diverse programme includes music stages, street arts and comedy. Prepare for samba bands, carnival processions, and lots of street food!
This is just a selection of all the events and festivals that Scotland is hosting in July, August and September. And with the beautiful Scottish Outdoors on our doorstep, you won’t even need to go far to experience that summer holiday feeling. I hope you have a wonderful summer and that you take some time off to relax. Spending a day in one of the many parks or listening to live music with good food will definitely bring you a sunny mood, and we can all use some of that when we have to work during summer!