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Festive trail

Glasgow city centre festive trail

Glasgow city centre festive trail

Get into the festive spirit by following our city centre trail to find magical lighting projections, sparkling decorations and tips on where to enjoy a cosy tipple.

Love Glasgow This Christmas

Glasgow City Chambers illuminated in blue and pink lights with a festively decorated George Square beneath.

There’s nowhere better to start than in the heart of the city in George Square where generations have enjoyed the city’s traditional festive decorations over the years, including the nativity scene.

The iconic Glasgow City Chambers is set to be a focal point this year, as it will be illuminated with beautiful lights and lasers beamed from the roof. This is just one of three locations that will be transformed with magical lighting projections as part of Glasgow Illuminated (December 1 - January 2, from 4pm - midnight).

The Gallery of Modern Art sits between two canopies of fairy lights which reach out across Royal Exchange Square.
A neo-classical style archway leads towards a canopy of fairy lights. A plaque reading 'Merchant City' sits above the arch.

From George Square, head towards Royal Exchange Square to take in the much-loved canopy of twinkling lights! Take a stroll around the square while feeling like you are walking under the stars, and enjoy popping into some of the designer stores or a bar or two for a Christmas cocktail. Head under the columned archway and you'll find The Ivy, which has a range of festive drinks including vodka and white chocolate cream-topped carousel coffee. Visit theivyglasgow.com to view their seasonal menu.

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From here, head to St. Enoch Centre, just one of the many sparkling shopping centres to visit. Just outside the entrance to Caffè Nero and HMV, you’ll find beautiful lit up reindeer standing tall beside a canopy of string lights. Visit st-enoch.com and decide which shops you want to visit to pick up pressies.

A larger than life light up reindeer stands in front of a canopy of lights at the entrance to the St. Enoch Centre

Once you’ve posed for Instagram pics with the Glasgow reindeer, continue along Argyle Street (heading east) to take in the second of the Glasgow Illuminated projections at The Buck’s Head Building. This Alexander Greek Thomson building will be seen as never before, encased in festive lighting.

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Head back west along Argyle Street and pop down the quaint Sloan's Lane to one of Glasgow's oldest and cosiest pubs, Sloans, where you can enjoy an Irish coffee. Check out Sloan's website for details on their Christmas offering.

Slightly further along is the Christmas Market at St. Enoch Square. Traders from across the globe will welcome you with festive trinkets, gift ideas and foodie delights, including traditional German mulled wine, Glühwein! Visit Glasgow Life's Glasgow Love Christmas page for details on the Christmas Market and Glasgow Illuminated.

Fairy lights cascade down the entire frontage of the Victorian building which is home of House of Frasers.

Cross over to Buchanan Street where you know that all your shopping needs will be met on one of the top retail streets in the UK. The first stop is House of Fraser, transformed into a festive spectacular, with the building draped in lights. Make sure you pop inside to pick up gifts and to see the cascading lighting display in the atrium. Visit House of Fraser's website for an idea of the amazing range on offer at this Glasgow institution.

The atrium of Princes Square is lit up with Christmas lights. A tree is the centrepiece with lights also hanging from the glass domed ceiling.

Credit: Scott Gorman Photography

Just across from House of Fraser sits Princes Square which is beautifully decorated for the season. Take a photo at their selfie spot in front of their 42ft Christmas tree and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #GlasgowsBestChristmasTree to be entered into a prize draw.

Three cocktails are lined up on a table beside pine cones. A candy cane and cinnamon stick sit on top of the festive drinks.

Princes Square is also ideal for a pitstop for an indulgent hot chocolate from Hotel Chocolat or festive cocktail including candy cane coolers or hot buttered rum from their brand new Christmas Courtyard Bar (open from November 24). Find out more about the festivities on offer at princessquare.co.uk.

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Feeling revitalised? Continue up Buchanan Street taking in the decorations on the city’s most popular shopping street. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded the third Glasgow Illuminated lighting projections at Buchanan Galleries and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Check out the extended Christmas opening hours on Buchanan Galleries website and be tempted in to pick up those final gifts on your list.

Shoppers walk down the pedestrianised Buchanan Street. Fairy lights cover the entire Victorian buildings on either side.

Take in the magic of these buildings bathed in a virtual winter wonderland, and from the steps of the concert hall look out over the city for major festive feels.

Article last updated: November 2021

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