Your Key to the City – Alan Grimes – Glasgow

July 31, 2017

I am lucky to live in the cultural and architecturally rich city of Glasgow but work overlooking beautiful Loch Lomond, here are a few of my favourite things to see and do


When Visiting Glasgow’s bohemian west end you might easily miss the charms of Ashton Lane, this picturesque cobbled street is furnished with fairy lights and home to loads of great bars and restaurants, you must visit the famous Ubiquitous Chip and the Grosvenor Cinema.


Ubiquitous Chip                                                        Grosvenor Cinema


A short walk from the lanes is the jewel in the west end, Glasgow’s Botanical Gardens. They are ideal for a peaceful walk or a relaxing break between shopping and sightseeing and don’t miss Kibble Palace, the striking greenhouse designed by inventor and engineer John Kibble, which features fine marble statues surrounded by vivid flowers and the National Collection of Tree Ferns.


Botanical Gardens                                                        Necropolis Cemetery


The Necropolis is a remarkable Victorian cemetery adorned with some 3,500 monuments and inspired by the famous Père Lachaise in Paris . Amongst the most notable graves are a monument to Protestant Reformation leader John Knox, and a Celtic cross designed by influential Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Guided walking tours around the cemetery are available a few times a month and are a brilliant way to uncover it’s fascinating history.


St Aloysius Church


Glasgow is home to a number of magnificent churches. Amongst the most impressive is St Aloysius’ Roman Catholic Church, which boasts an opulent Renaissance design based on the Church of the Gesù in Rome and houses a copy of the famous Our Lady of Montserrat statue, one of only two outside Catalonia. Another must-visit is the Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, the only church designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh


Mackintosh Queens Cross


The delights of Loch Lomond are only 30 minutes away from Glasgow however they are a world apart. Why not start your day at Balmaha and get the beautiful wooden mail boat over to Inchcailloch. It is a wonderful place to visit due to its rich natural and cultural heritage and the perfect way to experience remoteness, wildness, and weather permitting you can visit the island all year round. Each season brings something new to discover, in the spring the island is carpeted in bluebells which creates a magical backdrop for the wildlife that lives there. In the early 8th century, an Irish missionary, St Kentigerna settled on the island, she died here in 734 and legend has it that a nunnery was established right here, Inchcailloch means “island of the old or cowled woman!

The Hawk Walk at let’s you truly admire one of Scotland’s most majestic and fierce predators. This unique falconry experience will teach you how to handle a bird of prey, including how to correctly call and cast off the bird. Once you’ve mastered the basics of calling and casting off, you’ll be taken into the grounds of the hotel and allowed to put the theory you’ve learned into practice with your own bird of prey. Simply see your Clefs d’Or concierge for any assistance.

By now if you are ready for a proper drink then a beautiful and ancient distillery is the place for you, pair up the 21 year old with some of their home made chocolate for a real treat!”



Alan Grimes is the chief concierge at Cameron House in Loch Lomond. He is chair of the Society of the Golden Keys for Scotland and won the prestigious Concierge of the Year award at the 2011 Morris Golden Keys Concierge Awards.