The winter is here. Yup, it’s official. We just hit -4°C in Scotland, which is not really common here unless you’re up in the Highlands. Christmas is definitely just around the corner. Since we’ve explored our festive market in Edinburgh, we’re on a hunt. This time, our eyes moved to the next best thing. But is Glasgow Christmas Market worth visiting? Read on to find out!
We’ll start off by saying this. Since Glasgow is supposed to be absolutely fantastic for shopping sprees, we had high expectations. More so, that Edinburgh set the bar really high when it comes to Christmas celebrations. So did Glasgow rise up to the challenge? Well, both yes and no.
Let us show you what we liked in this particular market and sum up what wasn’t quite as great. By the end of this post, you’ll know if we think Glasgow Christmas Market is worth visiting.
There are two Christmas Markets in Glasgow. The bigger is on George Square, while the smaller one is on St Enoch Square. Both of them are within walking distance of each other, in the centre of Glasgow right next to Buchanan Street. What are the differences? The main one on George Square has all the great attractions as well as a big bar. Of course, there are the usual festive stalls too. St Enoch Square market does not have any attractions but focuses mainly on delightful street food and great festive gifts. The entrance is free for both of them but all the attractions are paid-for.
GREAT CHOICE OF FOOD
When we think about Glasgow the first thought is food. It’s a city with such great volume of restaurants and it reflects well on the Christmas Market. It has so much to offer! If you’re looking for great variety, head on over to St Enoch’s first. You’ll be happy to find really diverse cuisines. We were amazed by Indian street food (chicken tikka wraps, anyone?), Dutch pancakes (with baileys and cream), Turkish delights and baklavas, French tartiflette and crepes, Spanish churros, classic British burgers or Mediterranean olives and nuts. Brilliant! You should have seen the Indian stall on the day we were in Glasgow. The queue was huge!
And the tempting sweetness oozing from every corner… It’s really impossible to skip sugar here. Chocolate kisses, caramel slice, marshmallow chocolate skewers, bananas, grapes and apples in chocolate, gluten-free macaroons and fudge in all the flavours you can think of ( Bubble gum? Irn-bru? Vodka Red Bull?!). What got our attention the most was the hot chocolate with a kick from Hector and Harriet. Huge plus for a lovely booth!
And on top of it all, to get you in the Christmas spirit, of course, roasted chestnuts and some mulled wine.
On this occasion, we tried the classic bratwurst in a fluffy bun with some English mustard. To be honest, we expected a lot more. But then again, we’re both from Poland, a country of great sausages so we’re not easily pleased on that front. And yes, I do realise how strange that sounds!
We probably should’ve opted for tikka wrap. Note to ourselves: always follow your instincts!
We couldn’t resist the temptation and got some caramel shortbread. Heavenly!
When it comes to food, Glasgow Christmas Market is definitely worth visiting.
As we’ve said before, Glasgow is perfect for some good ol’ shopping. Christmas Market is no different here. Apart from the usual Christmas decorations and hanging gingerbread hearts, there were some lovely hand-painted baubles as well as salt lanterns. For all food lovers, Snowdonia cheese was present in wild varieties along with some chutneys. DIY departments didn’t disappoint too, equipped with handmade tartan brooches, funky flower jewellery, hand knitted scarves and perfumes. There was also a Bomb Cosmetics stall with cute bath bombs and soaps, ideal for a gift. The lovely smell wafted all around and the lady selling these was just as sweet.
And while we’re on the subject of beautiful stalls, Makar Gin had some great display. But what made us smile was a particularly friendly gentleman from Copper Black Coffee. He has some amazing flavoured Christmas coffees like hazelnut or chocolate truffles with some cup sets to accompany the gift. Loved the branding!
As devout tea drinkers, we absolutely loved Dutch tins. We already pictured them on the shelves with some of our favourite leafy varieties. Mini clogs were there as well to get that Dutch feel.
There was a fun bit too… We made some snow! Or rather, the snow was made on our hands, right in front of our eyes, by a guy who makes fake snow. Funny feeling, we can tell you that much!
On top of that, we saw some things that we haven’t really seen anywhere before. Our favourite one was a stall with a variety of wooden puzzles and games.
Clearly, Glasgow Christmas Market is worth visiting if you’re planning to do some festive shopping.
Similarly to Edinburgh, Glasgow Christmas Market can boast a big ferris wheel of their own. Remember when we mentioned Natalia’s fear of heights in this post? Well, we decided it really was a great idea to face the fear head on.
We stood in a queue, all cheery and brave, because after all, how bad can it be, right? Right… The plan was perfect – to get into the cabin, position oneself perfectly for some great top-view shots and enjoy the ride. And it did go well! Right until the point when the wheel actually moved. It spinned for a quarter of a circle and stopped to let more people into the cabins. Natalia grabbed a camera, pointed towards the market below and… the terror begun.
Oh my God, Lukasz, help! No, no, no, no… We have to take the photos! You take the camera. Take the photos, go on. I cannot look down. OMG I’m looking down! Why did I do it? Why did I think it was a good idea?!
And so it went on. Lukasz was laughing in my face all the time, trying to calm me down at the same time while trying to get some shots. I was hanging on for dear life, plastered to the pole in the middle, not even sitting on the bench.
But the worst part? Not when we hung right at the very top for a couple of minutes. No. It was the moment I realised it’s not just one turn… and when the operator decided it’s a brilliant idea to make our cabin spin for the second ride. I was in hell for 7 minutes. I came back.
Never. Doing. This. Again.
Yup, that’s the story. I’m scarred for life.
Now back to the attractions 😉
Apart from the Scarris… sorry, Ferris wheel, there is a Venetian carousel and a Chair Swing Ride. The latter is located quite centrally and you can see people flying by in their chairs almost above you. Glasgow Christmas Market thought of the little ones as well and prepared a smaller version of the same ride for the children.
For lads and lassies of age, a couple of bars are available. At the main bar, you can enjoy some benches right in front and with the roofed one, you can warm yourself up by the fire. Try some mulled cider with spices and Drambuie for that extra kick. There’s also a Rekorderlig bar where you can roast some marshmallows on fire.
Some big bonus points to Glasgow Christmas Market for setting up lovely photo baubles! The first one is a bit more festive with a whole wintery scenery to get your Christmas photo by a professional. You do have to pay for this one though. The second option is completely free. There is a wire bauble set up in front of Glasgow City Chambers made of lovely lights. A great option for a Christmas selfie or a group shot.
THE NOT-SO-PERFECT THINGS
As we always try to be objective and tell you how it is, we have to mention the disappointing bits as well.
First and foremost, we did not quite feel the Christmas spirit at the Glasgow markets. Something is definitely missing. Even though all the vendors are charming and there’s definitely quite a lot to do, the feeling is not quite there. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that you can barely hear the music. The truth is, you can only hear it if you’re close to the speakers.
Secondly, both markets are not really that big. After quite a short stroll, you will have seen it all. And we get it – there is not much space on George Square, let alone on St Enoch’s, but a bit more spots would be appreciated. Maybe near the Gallery of Modern Art?
Additionally, there might be a bit of a problem for people under 18 as the only place to warm yourself up are the age-restricted bars. The market would do with some roofed space with heaters for the families with children.
SO… IS GLASGOW CHRISTMAS MARKET WORTH VISITING?
If you’re in the area or planning on travelling to Glasgow already, then yes, absolutely. You will be in for a treat with some great variety of street food and really good shopping options. But if you’re planning on going to Glasgow purely to visit the Christmas Market, well, you might want to consider adding some other great places to see.
Now, we’d love to hear from you. Have you been to Glasgow Christmas Market? What did you like and dislike the most? Share it with us in the comments below.
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