THIS week I’m heading to the deep south. Or rather, the vibrant neighbourhoods of Langside and Battlefield in Glasgow’s leafy south side.

This area on the edge of Queen’s Park has become increasingly popular with young professionals, creatives and families thanks to its attractive tenements and townhouses, burgeoning café and brunch scene and close-knit community spirit. It also has a fascinating history that stretches back to Mary Queen of Scots and encompasses Glasgow’s Victorian expansion.

So, if you’re looking for a good urban walk on a crisp autumn day, Langside and Battlefield has history, greenery and culture in spades.

Historical highlights

Okay, let’s do Langside first. The name comes from the Gaelic an Leathad Fada, meaning “long field”, and the area originally came to prominence in 1568 as the site of the Battle of Langside, the last (and unsuccessful) campaign fought by forces loyal to Mary Queen of Scots before her exile and death in England.

The original settlement of Langside grew up around what is now Algie Street (named after 19th century Glasgow tea merchant Matthew Algie). The White Cart river supported paper and meals mills going back to the 17th century, but by the early 19th century many of the villagers were weavers and flower growers.

In the mid-19th century, Mansionhouse Road became a popular location for new upmarket houses to be built, including some by Alexander Greek Thomson. In the years that followed, as Glasgow expanded into the wealthy Second City of the Empire, many more terraces and tenements were built in the surrounding streets. Langside became incorporated into Glasgow in 1891, just after the Victoria Infirmary, one of the most prominent local landmarks, was built.

Langside was also known as a terminus for trams, and its library, opened in 1915, was the last in Glasgow to be funded by Andrew Carnegie. The old “Vicky” hospital closed in 2015, with a new campus opening nearby. Langside College, now part of Glasgow Clyde College, also attracts students from all around.

The streets of Langside run into Battlefield, which takes its name from the Battle of Langside, and is commemorated by another of area’s significant landmarks, the monument designed by Alexander Skirving, erected in 1887 to commemorate 320 years since Mary's defeat by James VI.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the neighbourhood was a centre for Glasgow’s Jewish community, with the former synagogue on Falloch Road now converted into flats.

What to do

Arriving by bus or train from the city centre, the best way to explore the area is on foot. Start your walking tour at Langside Halls, on the corner of Kilmarnock Road and Langside Avenue. This beautiful building started life in Queen Street as a bank in 1847, before being moved, brick by brick, to the south side in 1902-03. It was taken over by a community trust in 2013, and there are exciting plans for it as a community and culture hub. Currently closed for upgrading, it is planned to re-open soon. The area immediately outside the halls was recently redeveloped into an attractive community “square”.

From there, take the Langside Road entrance to Queen’s Park and explore the tranquillity of the Scottish Poetry Rose Garden. Heading east, come out of the next exit back on to Langside Road, taking in the Battlefield Monument and the stunning Church on the Hill. Now a bar, it was he last classical to be built in Glasgow, and was also designed by Alexander Skirving, a pupil of Alexander Greek Thomson, after whom a nearby street is named.

From there, take a stroll up Camphill Avenue, taking in the impressive tenements (and views from the upper section) all around, turning left on to Mansionhouse Road, with its beautiful stone villas, and back on to Langside Avenue. At the monument, take Battlefield Road and walk down to Battlefield Rest, with its gleaming tiles and octagonal clock tower, built in 1905 and described as “the most exotic tram shelter in Scotland”.

Take in some refreshments at one of the cafes on buzzing Battlefield Road before heading back up to towards the park, past the old Victoria Infirmary (which is being converted into flats). Once back in Queen's Park, head up to the flagpole, one of Glasgow’s best view points. Panoramic views of the city await, and on a clear day you can see to the Campsie Fells and Ben Lomond.

Look out for the increasingly busy calendar of cultural events round these parts throughout the year. Launching in 2013, the volunteer-run Southside Fringe, which takes place throughout May, has built up an ambitious programme of events covering just about every genre of culture you can think of, including music, art, drama, comedy, cabaret and food and drink and spoken word.

Taking place over a weekend in early June, the Southside Film Festival is also growing in prominence. Also in June, the Battlefield Community Project Street Party is a joyous day of family fun.

Where to eat

You’ll find some excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner spots in Battlefield Road. Grain and Grind serves some of the best coffee in the south side – the beans are roasted on-site – not to mention a brunch menu that attracts customers from all over Glasgow. Resident Anna Jackson says: “How lucky am I to have this place on the doorstep? The mushrooms, garlic and hollandaise on sourdough is a triumph! And Kitty’s doughnuts are not to be missed. The brownies are unbelievably good, too. Get there early at weekends."

Wanamoka has tasty soups, hot meals, tray bakes and cupcakes, as does Blether on nearby Sinclair Drive. Jo Howie says: “I work locally and often pop in to Blether for a bacon roll and a slice of coffee, walnut and cinnamon cake. Yum!”

Dinah Robertson is a big fan of the aforementioned Battlefield Rest, which has been a much-loved neighbourhood Italian restaurant for 25 years. “Definitely one of the best Italian eateries in Glasgow,” she says. “Especially great for the lunch and pre-theatre deals.”

The retro Langside Café in Langside Place has been feeding local folk for a century. Great for breakfast rolls and bagels, and lunchtime toasties and baked potatoes. It’s also the place to go for an old-fashioned banana split or knickerbocker glory.

On Langside Road, the Ivory Hotel’s burgers and steaks - not to mention the floor to ceiling windows – make it a favourite dinner spot, while Church on the Hill offers an extensive pub menu and a tasty Sunday roast.

Where to shop

For new glasses, Dinah recommends optician Burnside McPhee on Battlefield Road. “You can't get better service anywhere,” she says.

Nearby No 22 Home & Living has lovely design ideas and accessories, as does BB Interior Design, on Millbrae Road.

A while a few doors up from No 22, Southside Gallery can see to all your framing needs and sells a wide selection of prints. Further down the street, Paper Moon is great for cards and gifts.

Craft emporium The Wool Haven on Langside Place sells some of the loveliest socks in Glasgow and offers year-round knitting and crotchet classes.

Where to stay

Park view: Set in a town house dating back to 1876, The Ivory’s refurbished rooms are elegant and spacious. From £103 per night.

Home from home: There are plenty of nice rooms and flats listed on Airbnb, including a beautifully appointed two-bed tenement in Langside, which sleeps six. From £73 a night.

What to do nearby

For tasty eats, great gigs, fun workshops and general south side community togetherness, the Glad Café on Kilmarnock Road, just across from Langside Halls, is the place to go.

Featuring one of the world’s best collections of footie memorabilia, the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park is just a 10-minute walk from Battlefield Road.