It's the most wonderful time of the year and the festive period is well and truly upon us now.
Here we share our favourite ways to celebrate Christmas and the festive season in Glasgow. There are loads of things to do in Glasgow during the festive months which include browsing traditional Christmas markets, Christmas shopping, afternoon teas, events and enjoying the holiday lights and decorations. We have also included how to get to and from Glasgow and where to stay whilst there.
There is many ways to enjoy the festive season in Glasgow with many Christmas events throughout the city. Head to the official Glasgow Loves Christmas website to see what events are scheduled during your visit. For more information please visit www.glasgowloveschristmas.com Each year the events list may change but our list should give you a good idea of what Glasgow has to offer.
Here is our list of 12 ways to celebrate the festive season in Glasgow!
Glasgow boasts not one but two authentic Christmas Markets, with more than 100 independent traders setting up stalls throughout both markets.
Enjoy street food and gastronomic delights from Glasgow and across the world, there is a crispy duck rotisserie, bratwurst, crepes, Dutch pancakes, hog roast, paella, Mexican, Indian and Chinese stalls plus lots more, and not forgetting vegetarian and vegan stalls.
There is plenty of drink options too from barista coffees to Glühwein (mulled wine) and each market has wunderbar- cosy, inside and heated bars!
There is an unlimited choice of gifts if you still have Christmas shopping to do, you can buy anything from soap to leather goods, chocolate and sweet treats to local gin and whisky. There is stalls selling delicious cheese and you can often sample these too, our highlight is the peri peri cheddar from The Great British Cheese Company in the George Sq Market. You can also buy personalised Christmas ornaments which make the gift of giving all that bit more special.
Christmas Market at St Enoch Square
St Enoch Square is transformed in to a Christmas village, catch the smells of the food as you meander through the stalls selling artisan gifts.
Open- Friday 9th November until Sunday 23rd December
Monday – Wednesday 10am – 9pm Thursday– Sunday 10am – 10pm (finish at 6pm on Sun 23 Dec)
Christmas Market at George Square
George Square looks delightful with a great buzz around this famous square, Christmas lights and decorations adorn the square and there is a 15-foot Christmas tree as well as a vintage Helter Skelter, and a much loved advent calendar, which Santa makes an appearance each day and hands out treats to the children.
Open- Sunday 25th November until Monday 31st December
Monday – Wednesday 10am – 9pm Thursday – Sunday 10am – 10pm (finish at 6pm on Mon 24 & Sun 31 Dec)
The Big Wheel
Also, in George Square you cannot miss the Big Wheel which towers over the square, George Square, like so much of Glasgow, has such amazing architectural buildings and this is a great vantage point as well as fun. Each ride is £4 per child / £5 per adult.
Style Mile Carnival
The carnival takes place the day that the market at George Square opens, this year that was 25th November, thousands of festive shoppers and visitors to the city centre watch the carnival as it heads from St Enoch Square to George Square where there are hundreds of performers taking part.
For more information on the carnival and its route please visit www.glasgowloveschristmas.com
Christmas Lights Switch On
There is a special ballot ticketed event a few weeks prior to the opening of the George Square Market where the Christmas Lights are switched on, transforming George Square, if you are lucky enough to get tickets this is an awesome event with fireworks too.
We recommend spending at least one full day in Glasgow as there really is so much to see, do and eat. We recommend having breakfast at Stack and Still, the UK’s largest pancake house, which offers enough variations to eat a different combination for every day for 35 thousand years! Ha! Please don’t feel tempted by the 5 stack as you will never finish it and you need to save room for the market food (or afternoon tea) the 3 stack will still be too much but oh my goodness is soooo amazing!
There are many places that offer festive afternoon tea our favourite and best value is at the Blysthwood Square Hotel, with unlimited hot drinks and festive cakes and treats.
Glasgow has too many amazing bars to mention but our top 3 are the Citizen and the Anchor Line which are next to each other just off George Square on St Vincent Place. Our other top pick is Waxy O’Connor’s which is located the other side of George Square on West George Street, this Irish Bar is like no other, set over many floors this bar is head to toe in wood and gorgeous anytime of the year but feels so festive at this time of year. Please don’t come to Glasgow without having a drink at Waxy’s!
In addition to all the great gifts you will purchase at the Christmas Markets you should also head to the following shopping centres/ streets which can be found on ‘Glasgow’s Style Mile’ which is the largest shopping area in the UK outside of London-
*House of Fraser
*St Enoch’s Centre
*Buchanan Galleries (including John Lewis)
Yes, it may be colder weather over the festive season, but it can also be blue skies and crisp days so hopping on the Glasgow city Sightseeing Bus is a great way to see the city in a short space of time. It is £15 per adult for 24 hours or just £1 extra for 48 hours. There are 21 stops throughout the city, including shopping destinations of Merchant City, Buchanan Street, St Enoch’s Centre, stops for parks and green spaces of Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Park and buildings crammed with history such as Glasgow University, Glasgow Cathedral and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, also a stop at the Riverside Museum is a must (even if just to get out of the way of the cold weather) the museum is home to the transport museum and tall ship which are both free to enter. In fact, all museums are free to enter.
Glasgow loves a good pantomime there is always one at the main theatres throughout the city, this year The Kings Theatre is showing Aladdin through December and in to January 2019 and The Pavilion Theatre is showing The Magical Adventures of Cinderella from late November until mid-January. Check their websites for more up to date details. A panto is always a great laugh and fun festive night out for all the family.
Christmas jumper day
All of this should be done whilst wearing a Christmas jumper (in our opinion at least), it seems everyone has gone crazy for Christmas jumper wearing and the tackier the better. If you have turned up in the city without one, then pop to one of the two large Primark stores (one on Sauchiehall Street and the other in Argyle Street) which offer the tackiest of all Christmas jumpers. And make sure to get a selfie!
Where to stay in Glasgow
It is best to book your accommodation far in advance, not only will it be very busy, and hotels will fill up fast, the prices could rocket too. For cheap and easy we suggest the Premier Inn on Sauchiehall Street for a little bit of luxury and home comforts then it has to be Premier Suites which has 1 or 2 bed apartments complete with fully kitted kitchens, the locations are super handy too, with one on Bath Street, Charing Cross a stroll along the newly developed Sauchiehall Street with its avenues will lead you to the main hub of the city, or book in at George Square- right in the heart of the action!
How to travel to and from Glasgow
Check if your hotel offers discount parking though, as some do (including Premier Suites) or leave the car out of the city and catch the train to Central Station or Queen Street Station or there is also the subway.
What is your plans for the festive season?