Christmas in Glasgow
Glasgow has developed a well deserved reputation over the years for the best shopping in the UK outside of London. This has snowballed in recent decades with every major retailer making sure that the city is one of the first on the list when opening new stores or looking for suitable sites. This has led to people flocking to Glasgow from all over Scotland, northern England and abroad for a one-stop Christmas shopping experience, which avoids the overcrowding and high prices of London's premium shopping streets.
Most of Glasgow's prime shopping district, centered around the 'city' end of Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street, has been pedestrianised for many years now, meaning shoppers don't have to contend with the heavy traffic so often associated with major city centres. There is also a feeling of some 'breathing space' to be had, as the wide streets appear less crowded than the thronged pavements of other towns and cities across the country.
For those travelling from outside the city transport to the main shopping areas could hardly be more convenient. The motorway network brings you to within a few minutes drive of the city centre, avoiding the worst of the congestion at one of the busiest times of the year. Both of Glasgow's major mainline railway stations, Glasgow Central and Queen Street, are located within a stone's throw of the major shopping areas with Buchanan Bus Station also very central. If you are arriving by air then Glasgow Airport is connected to the city centre by motorway with regular bus services bringing travellers to the centre of Glasgow in less than thirty minutes. Plus many of Holiday Home Glasgow Properties have their own private parking space which is always a bonus on a Christmas Shopping Spree.
Of course, the main purpose of a shopping trip is Christmas shopping, and you will find every major retailer represented in Glasgow, alongside some more offbeat and quirkier stores in the city centre. It's not just the shopping streets that should be eyed up for potential gifts but there are three major shopping malls in the city centre too. The St Enoch Centre is located just across from the foot of Buchanan Street, where it joins Argyle Street. The Buchanan Galleries is at the top of Buchanan Street, right beside the Royal Concert Hall and Princes Square can also be found on Buchanan Street.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas of course without the now ubiquitous Christmas Markets and Glasgow, naturally, is a magnet for these as well. The main Christmas markets can be found in George Square, the city's main civic square, beneath the Victorian opulence of the magnificent City Chambers and in St Enoch Square right beside the St Enoch Shopping Centre.
As befits their history, the markets offer a wide range of German and central European street foods, entertainment and the Big Wheel in the George Square market. If you've been indulging in a hard day's shopping with the family then some warm German sausages, a glass of Glühwein and a wander round the market with its range of hand-made, quirky Christmas-themed gifts is a good way to unwind, while the kids can enjoy some street entertainment or a ride on the Big Wheel. Both markets are up and running now, with the George Square market open until December 29th and the St Enoch one until December 22nd.
There is also a host of traditional Christmas-themed family entertainment on across Glasgow throughout the Christmas season. Pantomimes can be seen at the city's various theatres, Sleeping Beauty at the King's Theatre, The Wizard of Never Woz at the Pavilion and others across the city while the Glasgow Film Theatre, situated in Rose Street, just off Sauchiehall street, is showing some classic Christmas movies (for details of more, check the What's On Glasgow website).
For the adults, there is, of course, an almost endless supply of entertainment on offer. Glasgow has produced more than its fair share of rock and pop bands over the years and is a hub of the thriving traditional music scene. The city's status as a UNESCO Music City is well deserved and you can see everything from Metal bands to traditional Scottish ceilidhs during your stay here.
As befits a major city, Glasgow is also host to an enormous number of quality restaurants and pubs with a huge range of cuisines, themes and styles to suit all tastes. From some light lunch, such as Sushi or Tapas, you can then change over to a top class French or Italian dinner in the evening. If you're a fan of curries or Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Turkish, Greek or just about any other cuisine, you won't go hungry in Glasgow.
Glasgow's pubs are legendary, of course, and, again, there is a venue that will suit just about every taste imaginable if you're going out for a drink or two. From the traditional to sleek, modern, smoked-glass and chrome affairs, Glasgow has the lot. Many of these also offer food, with a large number doing some form of traditional Christmas menu, so you can combine a spot of turkey with all the trimmings with some well-deserved post-shopping drinks.
For the best of Scotland's most renowned export, you can try the famous 'Pot Still' on Hope Street, which has a stock of over 600 different whiskies stacked so high they need a ladder to reach some of them! Lots of places cater to the real ale aficionados too, so a pint of Orkney Skullsplitter may be found somewhere. Wine bars too are there, such as Vroni's or Boudoir, so whatever tipple you fancy you'll find it in this vibrant, bustling city.
If you are planning a Christmas shopping trip or an extended stay in Glasgow, please take a look at the following websites for the best of up-to-date information on shopping, entertainment and food and drink to be had in 'The Friendly City,' and you won't go far wrong: