Christmas is fast approaching, and we’re left wondering where did the time go. However, while it’s one of the busiest times of the year, it’s important to still make time for ourselves and to still have some well-deserved fun. From traditional holiday movie scores performed in candlelight, to seriously festive food and drink, here’s our guide to some of the most festive things to do in Glasgow this Christmas.
1. Give the UK’s biggest ice rink a visit
We’ve got some Great news! The organisers of the much-loved winter festival, Elfingrove, have announced that it will extend its dates for 2022 going into 2023 and bring more fun to Glasgow. itison has brought the country’s largest outdoor ice rink to Glasgow for the festive season, where visitors can skate around the stunning setting of Elfingrove taking place at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The experience will now run until January 8, and you can book your tickets for the new dates today, December 7, from 7:30am. Secret Glasgow readers also showed immense excitement for the event, as well as gaining traction from attendees praising the event for its UK’s largest ice rink.
2. Listen to famous Christmas film scores in a candlelit setting performed by a string quartet
Nothing says Christmas like Love Actually or Elf, and this winter, Fever is bringing a special concert performing some of the most iconic music from classic Christmas movies, surrounded by candlelight. Just get cosy and get yourself into the festive spirit by enjoying heart-warming music expertly performed under twinkling candlelight. Admire a stellar performance of memorable carols and orchestral works from several composers, and feel it usher in all the joyful feelings that arrive with the most special holiday of the year. Find your tickets here.
3. Discover a joyful local Christmas market at Glasgow’s Southside
A cheerfully sustainable Christmas market is coming to the Southside, and we cannot wait. Rags To Riches festive market will be held every Saturday during December, inviting guests to shop local. During the sustainability-led markets, over 100 small businesses, local artists and crafters will be showcasing and selling their work. You can expect pretty much anything and everything, from Christmas decorations to hand-crafted jewellery, hot water bottles or handmade skincare. You should not only be able to support local businesses, but also have some quality time with your family and friends! Market-goers will also be able to enjoy mulled wine and food from local vendors, as well as listen to live music and attend festive workshops.
4. Donate festive food and any unwanted Christmas trees and decorations to The Clydeside Collective
From November 1, Scottish store The Clydeside Collective has introduced a free Christmas tree and festive food exchange so people in all circumstances can still enjoy the spirit of Christmas. So people don’t have to sacrifice their Christmas in order to be able to exist this year, The Clydeside Collective is urging people to search their homes for any unwanted Christmas trees and decorations that may be languishing in cupboards and attics. Moreover, any non-perishable store cupboard essentials and festive treats are also being accepted. All donated items will be available for anyone to collect at all three stores at St Enoch Centre, Ocean Terminal and Fort Kinnaird, free of charge, no questions asked. So, what better reason to empty your attic than to help those in need!
5. Go Christmas shopping to these independent shops
While we like to encourage shopping independently during ‘normal’ times, the apparent effects of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis on small businesses means supporting them has become more important than ever before. Stop by the George Mews shop to pick up a few cheesy treats, or pick out an eclectic mix of brews at Drygate Brewing Co. You could also stop by Blooms to choose the perfect plant baby for yourself or a loved one, as well as opt for a quirkier homeware present at the Braw Wee Emporium. There are plenty of local independent businesses to shop small in Glasgow, and Christmas shopping is a great way to do so.
6. Check out St Enoch Square Christmas fair
St Enoch Square Christmas Fair is on from November 18 this year with an attraction capable of reaching speeds of up to 70mph, called The Blizzard, and an ice climbing wall where visitors will be invited to participate in a wee adventure. As usual, the iconic windmill can be spotted right away, with a magical backdrop of Frasers twinkling lights on Buchanan street. Moreover, on top of festive wonder and Christmassy vibes, the street food stalls are serving some well-anticipated festive faveourites, such as a marshmallow toasting station and a Bavarian moose bar and swing grill.
7. Indulge in a Festive Afternoon Tea or a Boozy Brunch at this iconic building
As one of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings, The Corinthian boasts five floors of bars, brasserie and events spaces for Glaswegians to rejoice in, as well as plenty of Christmassy vibes to go around. And while you’re there, check out their Festive Afternoon Tea options, or the Festive Boozy Brunch on Sundays. There are also other dining options as well as things to do this Christmas that can be found here.
8. Visit George Square Christmas fair
George Square has seen Christmas Fairs transforming Glasgow city centre into a winter wonderland since it opened its doors on December 1. The traditional Christmassy experience is a must-visit every year, as George Square becomes the main place to be. The Christmas fair is offering visitors a glide on the central ice rink, and is home to a 33-metre-high observation wheel with Venetian chairs boasting urban sights of central Glasgow. The Christmas Fair will also feature an entertainment stage, a Victorian carousel, Santa’s flying balloons, children’s Christmas train ride, a street food hub, festive-themed bar, Bavarian swing grill and the iconic snow globe.
9. Visit a winter wonderland village with Swedish forest chalets
Glasgow’s biggest beer gardens. Right by the River Clyde, Cranside Kitchen has launched a wonderful Scandi-inspired winter village for weegies to enjoy during Christmastime. For almost six weeks until January 1, the city’s biggest outdoor restaurant venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland featuring dining in ski gondolas, Swedish forest chalets, a rooftop whiskey bar and a wintery BBQ, as well as seven different restaurants for foodies to enjoy. Visitors can relax in the ‘Hygge Lounge‘, which offers a quaint, fully-covered space for a sheltered night out, plus the lounge has been decked out with heaters and blankets to keep you all nice and snug. Throughout the festive season, the stage will host a variety of live entertainment with resident DJs playing disco and club classics every weekend, as well as Christmas drag brunch events.
10. Make your own mulled wine
A great alternative to the Christmas Markets if you would prefer to have a night in, mulled wine is an incredibly tasty festive treat – and it’s super easy to make, too. All you need is a pan and a hob, and the ingredients which can be picked up from any local supermarket. Most recipes just require you to warm up red wine, oranges, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and a touch of sugar or honey to taste – and it’s as easy as popping it all in a saucepan together and simmering on low (with a pan cover) for just 15 minutes.
11. Discover Glasgow’s Christmas lights
12. Finish off the year by dancing into 2023 with views over Glasgow
The rooftop venue, VEGA, is throwing a splendidly unique Hogmanay party. Atop YOTEL Glasgow sits this fabulous bowling rooftop bar and bowling alley, and it’s a cracking night out, and the organisers are inviting guests to bid farewell to the past year together with its resident DJ. Guests can sip on creative cocktails while dancing the night away straight into 2023 with sweet tunes and the best views in town. Tickets are £20 per person and include entry from 9pm, as well as a welcome cocktail from the event’s partner Absolut Vodka. The party is sure set to take Hogmanay to new heights this year, literally.