Glasgow ushers in the festive season with Winterfest and the Glasgow Christmas Market, starting from the second week of November.
This guide provides essential details about the 2023 event, including confirmed dates, opening times and key highlights at both locations.
Glasgow Christmas Market 2023
Winterfest returns to George Square and St Enoch Square in Glasgow’s city centre.
George Square features an ice rink, a silent disco and a new community hub promoting local artists. Historical buildings around the square are adorned with festive lights, adding to the charm of attractions like the big wheel, helter-skelter and carousel.
St Enoch Square hosts over 50 international chalets, presenting a global assortment of artisan products, crafts, gourmet delights and Santa’s train.
Dates and Locations
Glasgow Christmas Market dates:
George Square: 25th November 2023 to 7th January 2024.
Opening times: Monday to Wednesday: 11am to 10pm. Thursday to Sunday: 10am to 10pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
St Enoch Square: 10th November to 30th December 2023.
Opening times: 11am to 10pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights and tree: Switch on date: 19th November 2023 at Princes Square.
Santa: Yes, at St Enoch Square.
Ice skating: Yes, at George Square. Tickets available from the 21st November. Details here.
Gluten-free: Some options.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Large number of attractions, long running event and the Santa Dash.
Recommended tour: City centre guided walking tour.
Specialities: Scottish pies, gourmet burgers, seasonal flavoured fudge, hot toddies.
Where to stay: Native Glasgow is just around the corner from George Square.
If you’re visiting Glasgow, several excellent hotels are in the city centre.
I think Native Glasgow is the best pick as it’s right at George Square and only a short walk to St Enoch Square.
If you’re new to Glasgow, a city tour starting at George Square offers a perfect introduction. Not only is it conveniently located, but it guides you through the city’s major landmarks and unique highlights.
Christmas in Glasgow
At the Food Stalls
Scottish Pies: Glasgow is famous for its locally-made pies, ranging from traditional steak and ale to ones filled with chicken, leek and tatties (that’s potatoes to you and me).
Gourmet Burgers: Scotland’s countryside is rich with produce put to good use to create gourmet burgers, served hot from the grill with a selection of toppings and sauces.
Haggis Balls: Look out for this quintessentially Scottish snack, where haggis – a traditional dish made from sheep’s meat – is rolled into bite-sized balls, breaded and deep-fried.
Irn Bru Pulled Pork: A Scottish twist on the classic pulled pork, this version uses Irn Bru, Scotland’s favourite soft drink, for a unique sweet and tangy flavour. It’s served in a soft bun with a helping of coleslaw.
Bratwurst: A Christmas market staple, enjoy these savoury German sausages served in a bun with mustard and sauerkraut.
Whisky-infused Fudge: Satisfy your sweet tooth with this innovative fusion of classic fudge and Scotland’s most famous export, whisky. The alcohol burns off during cooking, leaving only a slight whisky flavour.
Hot Toddies: This traditional Scottish drink is ideal for cold winter nights. A mixture of whisky, hot water, honey, and spices served warm.
Scottish Shortbread: This traditional buttery biscuit is enjoyed year-round but at this time of the year you’ll find plenty of handmade options from local bakeries.
Mulled Wine: No winter event would be complete without this warm, spiced wine known for its sweet aroma and ability to bring festive cheer.
What to Buy
Scottish Tartan Scarves: Woven with care, these scarves exhibit the distinct patterns of Scottish clans. Each one carries a unique design, telling a story of heritage and history, making them a wonderful gift.
Harris Tweed: Crafted in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, Harris Tweed items, from bags to hip flasks, are renowned for their durability and timeless style.
Whisky Miniatures: I’d recommend picking up a few from the market. They provide a great way to sample a variety of Scotland’s finest whiskies or make the perfect stocking filler gift.
Heathergems Jewellery: These stunning pieces are uniquely Scottish, crafted from the stems of heather, dyed vibrant colours, and then sealed in resin. You’ll find earrings, necklaces, and brooches in intricate designs.
Food Hampers: Filled with Scottish produce such as shortbread, smoked salmon, and Dundee marmalade, these hampers make a tasty gift for food lovers.
Decorations and Ornaments: The artisan craftsmanship in each of these adds a unique touch to your home or wrap for a gift.
Artisan Soaps and Candles: Often made with local ingredients such as Scottish honey or oatmeal, these can add a touch of luxury to everyday routines.
Traditional Wooden Toys: Harking back to simpler times, these toys are crafted with skill and can make a charming, long-lasting gift for children.
Hand-knit Woollens: Be it gloves, socks, or hats, these items made from locally sourced wool keep you toasty warm during the Scottish winter.
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Glasgow.
Public Transport and Bikes: Glasgow has an extensive public transport network that includes buses and trains. Choosing these over private vehicles helps in reducing carbon emissions. The city also has a popular cycle hire scheme, Nextbike Glasgow, which offers an eco-friendly way to get around.
Reduce Food Waste: Many Glasgow restaurants are dedicated to sustainable practices, including reducing food waste. Also, be mindful of how much you’re ordering from the market stalls.
Locally Sourced Food: Embrace a sustainable diet prioritising locally sourced and seasonal food. This supports local farms and suppliers.
Ethical Consumption: Glasgow has a vibrant scene of independent shops and markets that sell locally made, ethical products. Consider purchasing gifts or souvenirs from these vendors to support local makers and sustainable business practices.
If you want to leave a Glasgow Xmas Market review, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Glasgow, Scotland. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.