Happy Boxing Day,
Every year, I write a post like this one with the best places I’ve been to during the year. Some years it’s easier than others. This year, despite the pandemic and resulting restrictions, I’ve managed to have some very cool experiences, some life changing, even. We have the usual eight categories this year, which are:
- Best museum
- Best gallery
- Best historic place
- Best library
- Best place to watch football
- Best fish supper
- Best park
- Best beach
This year we have two defending champions winning again and four new entries romping home with their categories. There’s even an unlikely winner coming up. Let us begin.
Best museum – London Transport Museum –
A new entry and the London Transport Museum was excellent. The Hidden London temporary exhibition was tremendous and very well designed. The London Transport Museum is very thorough, with particularly excellent displays about design.
Runner-up – V and A Dundee –
The V and A in Dundee, 2018’s winner, is good and I enjoyed visiting a couple of months ago to wander about the Mary Quant exhibition and being able to wander a very quiet Scottish Design gallery.
Honourable mention – Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow –
Astonishingly, Kelvingrove has never featured in any Best Of. My first visit post-pandemic was excellent, well laid-out and it felt very safe.
Best gallery – Trongate 103, Glasgow –
Last year’s winner in this category because of the same exhibition, Oscar Marzaroli. I’ve been at least four times, once post-lockdown, and it’s a superb exhibition.
Runner-up – Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow –
Another post-lockdown visit for a place that’s never featured in a Best Of. The thematic approach to their collection was well-done, including a cool black and white photograph of the old Yankee Stadium in New York.
Honourable mention – Kirkcaldy Galleries –
Kirkcaldy has won this category twice. I was there in February and it did the job. Hopefully I’ll get back there again next year.
Best historic place – Dunblane Cathedral –
Dunblane Cathedral is a new entry. It’s a beautiful, interesting church. Go, if you can.
Runner-up – Scone Palace, near Perth –
Another new entry. A guided tour post-lockdown and it was excellent, a good tour and beautiful grounds.
Honourable mention – Dunure Castle, Ayrshire –
New entry again. Dunure Castle is a cool ruin on a cliff in Ayrshire. The setting makes it.
Best library – Any library I work in –
Obviously but I can’t think of any other libraries I’ve been in this year.
Best place to watch football – Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh –
Sigh. I particularly remember the atmosphere the night Hibs played Inverness in the Cup. Games are behind closed doors right now so no live football since March. Easter Road has won three times.
Runner-up – Rugby Park, Kilmarnock –
This one is included because of matchday catering, before and after the match. Dinner was in a French restaurant in Glasgow.
Honourable mention – Tannadice Park, Dundee –
My last visit to Tannadice was in January and the sunset was beautiful on the walk back into Dundee city centre.
Best fish supper – Giacopazzi’s, Eyemouth –
Purely and simply, the best of this year. I like Eyemouth and the food was superb.
Runner-up – Merchant Chippie, Glasgow –
A new entry and a very decent fish supper, the produce sourced from Pittenweem.
Best park – Pollok Country Park, Glasgow –
Another new entry but one of the finest parks in Scotland and within walking distance of the house. A fairly regular haunt during lockdown and after. A visit to Pollok House was an autumnal highlight.
Runner-up – Bellahouston Park, Glasgow –
A new entry and another place I have come to know well this year, also within walking distance.
Honourable mention – Greenwich Park, London –
The views across London from Greenwich are incredible, one of the best views of the metropolis.
Best beach – West Bay, North Berwick –
I was last in North Berwick in March and it was a cold, bright day. The sand blew with the wind.
Runner-up – Belhaven Beach, Dunbar –
Belhaven is a frequent winner though North Berwick edged it because it was such a perfect day.
That’s the 2020 list, the sixth Best of list so far. Despite the pandemic, I’ve been very lucky to visit some incredible places and have amazing experiences this year. Who knows what 2021 will bring? It’s been fun assembling this list as ever. Until next time, cheers just now.