Whatever you want to do this Christmas, we can help you find the best ways to enjoy yourself. From markets to pantomimes, to the big light switch on and foodie treats, to places to find that extra special present (even for yourself) here’s our guide to the best of Glasgow this Christmas.
Right next to GoMA on Royal Exchange Square you’ll find handmade Christmas gifts from local artists, designers and makers. You’ll be able to talk to the artists, learn more about what inspired their pieces and grab a unique gift for someone you love. On offer are paintings, textiles, jewellery, glasswork, photography, ceramics and illustrations.
Split across St Enoch Square and George Square, they’re open right through the festive period until 29th December. You can pick up unique gifts, enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine and enjoy a feast of delicious street foods. Artisanal traders from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Lapland and even further afield (we’re looking at you, Ecuador).
There’s also the traditional carousel, the big wheel and loads of street entertainment.
For a special treat, spend some time at Gluhwein House. It’s run by Markus Kochems, whose family firm is listed as one of the top 100 wine producers in the world. Or sample some of Bavaria’s favourite beers at the Bavarian bar. You’ll not regret a trip to the markets. It’s a great place to wander, drink in the atmosphere and start to really feel the Christmas cheer.
One day only on 26th November, the carnival brings the spectacle of music and dance to the heart of the city. The procession features lots of your favourite festive characters starting at St Enoch Square and ending up at George Square.
A fixture in the Glasgow festive calendar, the carnival is back at the SEC Centre. Forget everything and lose yourself in Europe’s largest indoor funfair. There are over 65 rides and attractions to enjoy in the ultimate playground for thrill-seekers.
Pantomimes and shows
Glasgow’s not shy of the odd theatre or two. Each of them has some fantastic entertainment on this festive season. From the expected pantomimes and seasonal production, like Sleeping Beauty, the Wizard of Never Woz and Cinderella, to hits like Mamma Mia! and local-themed tales, like Alice in Weegieland. Check online to find out the latest performances and ticket info. Get some drama into your Christmas.
There’s a festive-themed programme running, with an astonishing variety of live performances. Take in the Glenn Miller Orchestra, playing big-band swing numbers, or perhaps Katherine Jenkins is more your cup of tea? On 22nd December there’s the Christmas Spectacular featuring music and dance, a breath-taking light display and an indoor fireworks finale. And, for the film lover, there’s a night just for you on 29th December – ‘Zimmer vs Williams’. It’s a performance of the best scores from two of the 20th century’s greatest composers. The songs featured include E.T., Star Wars, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jurassic Park.
Held in the stunning surroundings of Glasgow Cathedral, this uplifting concert lets you enjoy some fantastic performers and make a real difference to the work Cancer Research UK is able to do. The concert takes place on Thursday 7th December.
Other festive markets
There are independent markets across Glasgow where you can pick up a gift that’s a bit more unique. Try Sloans Market, tucked in at the foot of Buchanan Street, where you’ll find arts, crafts, fashion, homeware, food and drink, comics, toys and lots more. Or visit the Merchant Square Craft Market. It’s on every weekend at Candleriggs. Or pop out to the east end and visit the Drygate Brewery for their Urban Market on the first and third Sunday of the month.
Watch an old movie
Sure, there are the latest blockbusters coming out over the festive period. But why not take someone you love to see an old favourite? This year you’ll find some great classic movies showing in Glasgow: It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Muppet Christmas Carol and Elf.
A night of Christmas music and comedy
At the Mitchell Library, from 21 – 23 December, you’ll find this year’s ‘Winter Wonderland’ performance. The show features Michelle McManus and the incredible 50-strong Soundsational Choir, taking you on a journey that will delight and amuse you in equal turns.
On your marks, get set
Run for fun, dressed as Santa with thousands of others who are also dressed as Santa. The Santa Dash is a 5k run that takes place through the city centre on Sunday, 10th December. If you’re early enough to get an application in, you can go along and take part. Or you can go along and show your support. Every Santa is running to raise money for charity. Why not pop along and get into the spirit of Christmas with a little charitable giving?
Head through to Edinburgh
We’ll probably get lynched for saying this, but Edinburgh has got some fun things to do too. They’ve got some department stores that we don’t have in Glasgow and they have their own German markets around Princes Street Gardens. George Street is closed to traffic and turned into a giant pedestrian area full of stalls, food and entertainment. And, if you get bored, there’s always the castle for you to have a look at.
Find a great pub
We’re not short of a pub or two in Glasgow. And there’s something for everyone. In the city centre we’d recommend Rab Ha’s on Hutcheson Street or Babbity Bowster on Blackfriars Street. In the west end, Oran Mor is always a favourite of ours.
We’d love to know your favourite place to wind down and warm up. Let us know in the comments below.
(Photo Credit: Michel Curi – https://www.flickr.com/photos/119886413@N05/15926676618)