Aasma Day and family take a trip north of the border to experience the best of Scotland’s biggest city – from shops to museums, to festive fun
Mention the fact that you’re off on a city break to Scotland, and people presume you’re visiting historic Edinburgh.
But with its vibrant atmosphere, abundance of shops and packed schedule of festive events, Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, is the perfect place for a family getaway.
Myself, hubby and our eight-year-old twins enjoyed a pre-Christmas weekend away, and to start our journey in perfect relaxation mode, we left the car at home and travelled with Virgin Trains.
Our two-and-a-half hour journey went very smoothly and after arriving in Glasgow, our hotel, the Holiday Inn Theatreland, was only a few minutes’ walk away.
Our family room was spacious and comfortable.
When on a city break with children, you have to strike a balancing act and combine any sightseeing and shopping with fun stuff for the younger ones.
For those who love to shop till they drop, Glasgow has more than 1,500 shops to choose from, including – for those with children in tow – Scotland’s only Hamleys.
But just walking around Glasgow is an experience in itself as the Victorians left a legacy of striking architecture.
On Saturday morning, we visited Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art which was an inspired choice. Few things in life are free nowadays, but not only was admission free, our children were thrilled to take part in a free Saturday art club for children.
We went on to Glasgow Science Centre, travelling by sightseeing tour bus to take in some of the city’s attractions en route.
Glasgow Science Centre is Scotland’s must-see visitor attraction for families, as it presents different concepts of science and technology in weird and wonderful ways, providing hours of entertainment for adults and children alike.
As well as lots of hands-on interactive science exhibitions over three floors, there is a planetarium – which you have to pay extra for –Imax movies and a new exhibition BodyWorks.
The following day, we headed for the Riverside Museum, which also has free entry and is home to some of the world’s finest cars, bicycles, ship models, trams and locomotives.
When it comes to eating out, there’s more to Glasgow than deep-fried Mars bars and Irn Bru.
We enjoyed a lovely family meal at Browns Restaurant, which is in a prime location overlooking George Square, the heart of the festive fun.
Until December 23, St Enoch’s Square in the city will host Glasgow’s Christmas Market, with gifts, crafts, food and drink from around the world.
Spending time on Glasgow’s open air ice rink, which will be there until January 5, is also a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.
St George’s Square will also be transformed into a Christmas wonderland, with a variety of family friendly entertainment.
Glasgow will also be a good place for families to see in the New Year, as it will be the city’s third Hogmanayday, with city coming alive with traditional celebrations, including Scottish music, highland dancing and free family activities.