24 Hours in My Hometown

We asked several writers to describe how they would spend their ideal 24 hours in their home town.

multiple writers
14th June 2022
Image credit: Carly Horne

Glasgow: Carly Horne

So you're visiting the second wettest city in the UK and wondering how to spend your time? Might I first suggest you invest in an umbrella - and a Day Ticket on the city's 125-year old Subway system.

Start your morning off in Hillhead, home to The University of Glasgow (Scottish University of the Year, 2022) and a range of locally-ran coffee spots. Most notably, The Gardener (with a vegan-friendly food menu) or Café Françoise, for the francophiles among us.

A walk up University Avenue provides the perfect opportunity to grab a photo amongst the University's cloisters and to explore the quadrangles. If you have time to hear about the history and architecture of the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world, Glasgow University students run campus tours. Alternatively, their website provides all of the information about a self-guided tour, so you can explore at your own pace.

While the University has its own art gallery, The Hunterian, I would skip this in favour of a short walk to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The latter is entirely free and has an arguably broader range of exhibitions.

Image credit: Carly Horne

If you've got a sweet tooth, Tantrum Doughnuts is not to be missed. With an almost overwhelming range of gourmet doughnuts and drinks, it should be an essential stop for anyone in the area.

Either walking or using your Subway day ticket, you'll travel from the West End to the City Centre. Finding yourself at Charing Cross, this is the perfect time to stop for an afternoon drink of your choice on Sauchiehall Street.

Driftwood Bar is initially a little scary but is the perfect choice for cocktail-lovers - with a Disney and Harry Potter range and 'Mexican grub' to wash it down with. For fans of a little liqueur and local music, Broadcast is also a great choice for a chilled afternoon (or a less-chilled night).

If you're an avid shopper, Buchannan Street is a 15-minute walk from here. Home to The Buchannan Galleries, and the famous shopping street (did you know it's £250 per square foot?) linking nicely to St Enoch's Shopping Centre.

If you're hoping for a little culture, worry not.

Instead of making the journey to Buchannan Street, catch a matinee at the Theatre Royal, King's Theatre or even a student production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. If films are more your thing, check out the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Regardless of how you spend your night, dinner at Halloumi is a must. With a mezze-style menu, your choice of cocktails, wine or craft beer - and Greek coffee for a little fortune-telling (if you wish), it's a must for anyone visiting Glasgow. After you have a slice of baklava, I'd also make a stop into Waxy O'Connor's for a final nightcap.

Warsaw: Anna Goclawska

Photo by Lāsma Artmane on Unsplash

Although one day in Warsaw is definitely not enough to go immerse yourself in the local culture, it will surely allow you to experience some of the best things in the city. When coming for a full day you should wake up early and enjoy breakfast with a view at one of the most beautiful ( and quite cheap!) spots in the city centre, such as Aioli on Chmielna Street or Charlotte Cafe at Saviour’s Square. 

Later you should take a stroll around Politechnika and the City Centre, glancing at the Palace of City and Culture, a marvellous piece of architecture, the Zlote Tarasy shopping mall and walk through the Aleje Jerozlimskie street to the huge Palm placed at the De Gaulle’s square.  

Make sure to leave yourself three to four hours of wandering around the Old Town, starting from Nowy Swiat Street and walking all the way to the Vistula Boulevards. Also, if you are getting hungry, make sure to stop at some point in the old town to try pierogies, traditional Polish dumplings with meat, mushrooms or cottage cheese inside... (these are my favourite).

As the day comes to an end I would spend some time near the river, either near Poniatowski bridge or the Powisle area. You will have a chance to meet many locals or go to one of the frequently happening silent discos and still manage to catch a tram back to the train station anytime during the night. 

Reston: Elizabeth Meade

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Reston, Virginia is the first planned community in the US. If you're visiting D.C., why not stay here and avoid the high prices, traffic and political fanfare? You can go straight into D.C. from Reston's Metro station. Reston is perfect for a "rest(on) day" between day trips.

If you want a fancy breakfast, Silver Diner has lots of American classics, including vegetarian and vegan options. It's the best American chain breakfast restaurant in my opinion. (Honourable mention: IHOP.)

Next: the Walker Nature Center. Opened in 2009, this building is surrounded by a loop trail with interpretive signs that goes down to Lake Audubon, one of four manmade lakes, and back up. I have also spent countless hours staring into the depths of the center's pond. In the spring or summer you are highly likely to see its amphibious residents--especially if it's raining.

For lunch, I recommend Lake Anne Village Center. There are great restaurants, a nice view of the lake, a used bookstore and the Reston Museum. South Lakes Village Shopping Center also has sit-down restaurants with views of Lake Thoreau. Lake Anne has better atmosphere though, with public art.

If you are interested in shopping or seeing a film, Reston Town Center has a cinema, fancier restaurants and a lot of stores. My favourite is Scrawl Books, Reston's indie bookstore. During the winter there is an ice rink, too! That said, everything is expensive, including parking.

For dinner, a bunch of smaller restaurants around Reston (and the neighbouring Herndon) cover many cuisines and specialties, including Peruvian chicken, a New York-style deli, barbecue, Vietnamese pho, Salvadoran cuisine and pizza. It's all delicious, so you're sure to find something that you like. (I personally recommend Salvadoran pupusas, especially since these are rare in the UK, but it's all excellent.)

Norwich: Maud Webster

Image credit: Maud Webster

Located at the heart of Norfolk, the ‘pregnant bump’ of England, is the vibrant, historic city of Norwich. It’s a bit out of the way - England’s most Easterly city - but very quaint and has an amazing cultural and arts scene and just generally lots of things to do.

Boasting a big ol’ castle and two massive cathedrals (one has the second tallest spire in the country, losing to Salisbury), Norwich has a lot of historical significance, especially during Norman and Medieval times.  It’s also England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, with the National Centre for Writing based in Norwich and often hosting events and contributing to festivals like the N&N Festival which descends on the city every summer. 

It’s quite a funny place. A little bit of unproven Norwich trivia is that we once had a pub for every day of the year and a Church for every Sunday, and whilst many of these have closed, we still have plenty of boozers and lots of quirky churches - if either or both of these activities take your fancy. If you’re heading over for an extended stay, then check out some of Norfolk’s stunning beaches (Sheringham, Cromer and the notorious Great Yarmouth are only half an hour by train) or take a look at the expansive Norfolk broads. 

It’s a lovely little city and doesn’t have the business of most other cities in the UK. If you want a scenic somewhere with lots to do at a slower pace then Norwich is the place.

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