Large garden villa by Glasgow - Accommodates 20 - Ideal for Wedding events and Friends and family gatherings

Winter Wonders: Awesome Activities to Explore in Glasgow

Glasgow, often known for its vibrant arts scene, rich history, and friendly locals, doesn’t shy away when winter comes knocking. In fact, this Scottish city embraces the colder months with open arms, offering an array of exciting activities and things to do that will warm your heart and spirit. From enchanting Christmas markets to cosy pubs and indoor adventures, Glasgow has something to offer everyone during the winter season.

1. Glasgow Christmas Markets: A Festive Extravaganza

Glasgow Christmas Markets

Every winter, Glasgow, a city celebrated for its rich history and dynamic culture, undergoes a magical metamorphosis. The heart of this wintery wonder is George Square, which radiates with the spirit of the holiday season. As winter’s chill sets in and nights grow longer, the square dazzles with an awe-inspiring array of Christmas lights throughout the winter. But these aren’t just any lights. They weave a tale of Glasgow’s illustrious past, its warm-hearted residents, and the yuletide joy that unites them.

The city’s streets come alive with the sights, sounds, and scents of the season. Stroll through St. Enoch Square, George Square, and the Riverside Museum, where you’ll find charming stalls selling handmade crafts, delectable seasonal treats, and unique gifts. Sip on mulled wine, indulge in scrumptious mince pies, and browse through a treasure trove of holiday finds. The dazzling Christmas lights and decorations create an enchanting atmosphere that’s perfect for families and couples alike. Standing amidst the twinkling lights, with the air filled with laughter and melodies, it becomes clear why George Square is a top winter attraction in Glasgow.

glasgow christmas night

2. Ice Skating at Glasgow On Ice

For a fun and festive experience, head to Glasgow On Ice, located in George Square. This open-air ice skating rink is the perfect place to embrace the winter season. As you lace up your skates and step onto the ice, the world seems to fade away. All that remains is the thrill of the glide, the rhythm of the music, and the joy of movement. For beginners, the rink offers skating lessons, ensuring that everyone can join in the fun. And after a session on the ice, you can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa or indulge in some winter treats at the rink’s cafe.

Ice Skating at Glasgow On Ice

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, skating under the twinkling lights in the heart of the city is a magical experience. Don’t forget to warm up afterward with some hot chocolate or a visit to one of the nearby coffee shops.

3. Warm Up in Glasgow’s Cosy Pubs

Glasgow is renowned for its cosy and welcoming pubs, making them the perfect escape from the winter chill. Whether you’re looking for a traditional, historic establishment or a more modern gastropub, you’ll find a vast selection. Indulge in a hearty Scottish meal and savour a glass of whiskey or a locally brewed craft beer. Some popular options include The Pot Still, The Ben Nevis, and The Sparkle Horse.

And if you’re seeking an evening of storytelling, head to one of the city’s many historic pubs, where locals and visitors alike share tales over pints of ale. It’s not just about the food and drink; it’s the camaraderie and shared warmth that truly encapsulate the spirit of Glasgow’s pubs. From the laughter echoing off the walls to the clink of glasses, these pubs are where memories are made.

Glasgow's Cosy Pubs

Beyond these celebrated spots, Glasgow’s pub scene is dotted with hidden gems where you can experience the local culture firsthand. Venture off the beaten path to discover quaint taverns tucked away in the city’s old alleyways, each with a roaring fire and a menu of warming winter drinks. These lesser-known establishments often offer the most authentic Scottish experience, complete with traditional music sessions that bring the heritage of Glasgow to life.

So, whether it’s after a day of sightseeing or as a warm-up before heading on to the many vibrant nightclubs, Glasgow’s pubs provide the perfect setting to relax and reflect on your winter adventures. Let the city’s hospitality envelop you as you settle into the comfort of a plush armchair, the clatter and cheer of friendly Glaswegians resonating in the background, and the warmth of the pub wrapping around you like a snug tartan blanket.

4. Explore Glasgow’s Museums and Galleries

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Glasgow boasts a wealth of world-class museums and galleries, and they are the perfect refuge on a chilly day. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum, and the Gallery of Modern Art are just a few of the cultural hotspots that offer a warm and enlightening experience. Explore art, history, and culture while escaping the winter cold.

The Gallery of Modern Art, housed in an elegant neoclassical building in the heart of Glasgow, is a sanctuary for art enthusiasts. Its contemporary exhibitions are thought-provoking and diverse, featuring works from local and international artists. As you wander through the gallery’s expansive halls, you can admire the innovative use of space and light, which highlights the modern art pieces in a serene atmosphere, offering a quiet moment of reflection amid the winter bustle.

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, Glasgow’s museums and galleries extend their hours, hosting evening events and special winter exhibitions. These after-dark experiences provide an exclusive ambiance, allowing you to view exhibitions in a new light. It’s a social occasion as much as a cultural one, where the glow of the artwork and the warmth of the crowd make for a memorable winter’s evening.

Gallery of Modern Art

Additionally, many of these cultural institutions offer educational workshops and tours, giving visitors a chance to dive deeper into the stories behind the exhibits. Families can enjoy interactive sessions designed to engage the curious minds of children, while adults may partake in detailed guided tours that explore the nuanced history of Glasgow’s art scene.

Lose yourself in the labyrinth of art and history that stretches across the city. It’s here, among the quiet corridors and grand exhibition spaces, that you’ll find the warmth of Glasgow’s soul, waiting to be discovered and celebrated.

5. Winter Walks in Glasgow’s Parks

Winter Walks in Glasgow's Parks

The leaves have fallen and there’s a crispness in the air, so grab a coffee, wrap up warm, and get moving. Winter is one of Scotland’s most spectacular seasons, even if the weather is sometimes less than ideal. Grab the right all-weather gear and stay warm, and a winter walk can be a memorable, magical experience.

Glasgow may be a bustling urban centre, but it’s also home to several beautiful parks that are a winter wonderland when dusted with a layer of snow. Take a brisk walk or leisurely stroll through places like Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow Green, or Pollok Country Park. These serene landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for a peaceful winter escape.

Kelvingrove Park

Kelvingrove Park, with its picturesque Victorian layout, becomes especially magical in the winter. The skeletal branches of ancient trees are lined with frost, and the park’s paths offer stunning views of the River Kelvin, often edged with ice in the colder months. Benches dusted with a fine layer of snow invite contemplative moments, overlooking the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a grand sight against the winter sky.

These parks and walks are just a taste of the tranquility and beauty Glasgow has to offer during the winter months. Whether you’re looking for a vigorous morning jog to start your day, a meditative walk to clear your mind, or a romantic stroll at dusk, the city’s parks are a canvas of natural splendor. So bundle up and set out to explore the serene landscapes that await, as Glasgow’s parks become your personal retreat, celebrating the quiet joy of winter.

6. Indulge in Delicious Comfort Food

scottish cuisine for winter

Winter is the perfect time to indulge in hearty and comforting Scottish cuisine. Warm up with a bowl of hot Cullen skink, a creamy smoked haddock soup, or savour a hearty plate of haggis, neeps, and tatties. Don’t forget to try a classic Scottish dessert like cranachan or sticky toffee pudding for a sweet ending to your meal.

For a truly warming experience, tuck into a portion of stovies, a traditional Scottish dish made with potatoes, onions, and leftover roast meat, all stewed together in a savoury gravy. It’s the kind of dish that warms you from the inside out, perfect for those frosty Glasgow evenings. Another staple to look out for is Scotch broth, a hearty soup made with lamb or beef, barley, and a medley of root vegetables, which encapsulates the very essence of traditional Scottish comfort food.

Glasgow's culinary

Glasgow’s culinary scene also reflects a modern twist on classic dishes, offering gourmet versions that cater to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences. Glasgow’s food establishments, from high-end restaurants to casual pubs, often feature a cozy ambiance, with crackling fireplaces and snug interiors, adding to the overall dining experience.

These settings provide not just a meal, but a place of respite and relaxation, where one can take a break from the brisk outdoor elements and gather with friends and family over a plate of soul-satisfying Scottish cuisine. Whether it’s a bustling market stall or a quiet corner bistro, the city offers an inviting atmosphere where every meal feels like a warm embrace. So come in from the cold, pull up a chair, and prepare to indulge in the rich, heartwarming flavours that define Glasgow’s comfort food scene during the winter season.

7. Catch a Live Show or Performance

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The vibrant pulse of Glasgow’s entertainment scene beats stronger in the winter, as locals and visitors alike seek the warmth of its live venues for a touch of culture and joy. The city, with its historic and contemporary spaces, offers a calendar brimming with a variety of live shows and performances that cater to all tastes and preferences. During the winter months, you can catch live performances, including theatre shows, concerts, and comedy acts at various venues like the SEC Armadillo, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Royal Concert Hall, City Halls, Ovo Hydro and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Enjoy a night out with world-class entertainment.

Moreover, the city’s performance art scene thrives in venues like the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), where avant-garde and experimental performances push the boundaries of art and theatre. Here, one can experience thought-provoking pieces that often incorporate audience interaction, offering a unique and memorable evening of entertainment.

Sauchiehall Street Night

Glasgow’s winter also sees the arrival of touring Broadway and West End musicals, enchanting audiences at the King’s Theatre, Pavilion Theatre and Barrowlands with their dazzling sets, compelling music, and spellbinding performances. These shows bring the magic of the big stage to Glasgow, offering a luxurious escape from the dreary winter evenings.

In addition to these, smaller venues scattered throughout the city provide platforms for local artists and performers, showcasing Glasgow’s own talent, various pantomimes. You can also explore the IRN-Bru festival and enjoy the Christmas Carnival at SEC conference campus. From folk music sessions in a cosy pub to independent dance troupes performing in renovated warehouses, the city’s arts scene offers an eclectic mix of performances that are as rich and varied as the city itself.

Winter in Glasgow is a time when the city’s cultural life shines brightest, providing residents and visitors with a beacon of warmth and entertainment like Stand Comedy Club and the Celtics Connections Festival in January to February, against the cold, dark nights. Whether you’re looking to be moved, amused, or simply entertained, Glasgow’s live performance scene offers a world where the lights never dim and the show always goes on.

8. Experience the Festive Spirit at the Glasgow Cathedral


Glasgow Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece, takes on an even more awe-inspiring quality during the winter season. Visit the cathedral to admire the stunning stained glass windows and the peaceful atmosphere. The cathedral often hosts special festive events and carol services, adding a touch of magic to your visit.

The cathedral’s Christmas concerts are a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar. Renowned for their exquisite performances, they blend the sacred with the celebratory, featuring local musicians and vocalists. The combination of the cathedral’s impressive acoustics and the rich sounds of the music makes for an unforgettable experience.

Visit the cathedral

Throughout December, the cathedral may also hold special exhibitions and nativity scenes that add to the reflective nature of the season. Artisans and craftsmen from the community often contribute handmade decorations and art pieces, further beautifying this historic space and fostering a strong sense of community spirit.

For those interested in the cathedral’s storied past, guided tours during the winter months offer a deeper insight into its history, architecture, and the many legends woven into its fabric. These tours can take you behind the scenes to parts of the cathedral rarely seen by the public, adding a layer of mystery and adventure to your visit.

9. Go Shopping on Style Mile

Buchanan Street Dewar statue

Glasgow’s Style Mile, comprising Buchanan Street, Argyle Street, and Sauchiehall Street, is a shopper’s paradise year-round, but during the winter, it becomes even more captivating. With a wide array of shops, boutiques, and department stores, you’ll find the perfect gifts for loved ones or a special treat for yourself. The sparkling Christmas lights overhead add an extra layer of enchantment.

The expansive range of stores along the Style Mile ensures that no matter whom you’re shopping for, you’ll find something that delights. Luxury brands stand shoulder to shoulder with high-street favorites, offering the latest fashions, dazzling jewelry, cutting-edge electronics, and charming Scottish keepsakes. It’s not just about the international brands, either; independent boutiques peppered along the streets present unique finds and local crafts, allowing you to take a piece of Glasgow home with you.


Seasonal pop-up shops also make a grand appearance during the winter months, offering everything from artisanal chocolates and gourmet foods to hand-crafted decorations that add a touch of Glasgow’s creative flair to your festivities. Here, you can find unique gifts imbued with a personal touch that are sure to be cherished by those who receive them.

With extended opening hours over the holiday period, you can shop to your heart’s content even after dusk. The late-night shopping experience is both convenient and magical, as the city centre thrives with activity, and the crisp night air is filled with the sound of laughter and the jingle of Christmas melodies.

Whether you’re a seasoned shopper looking for high fashion and bespoke gifts or someone in search of the perfect stocking fillers and festive treats, Glasgow’s Style Mile in winter is a destination that promises not only a spectacular shopping journey but also the creation of cherished holiday memories.

10. Attend Hogmanay Celebrations

Hogmanay Celebrations

The Hogmanay festivities in Glasgow are a vivid tapestry of tradition and contemporary celebration, inviting both locals and visitors to bid farewell to the old year and greet the new with optimism and joy. Streets that were once bustling with daytime shoppers now thrum with the palpable excitement of those ready to usher in the New Year amidst a vibrant community spirit.

George Square often serves as the epicentre of Glasgow’s Hogmanay revelry, with its impressive array of live bands and DJs who set the soundtrack for the evening’s celebrations. The square becomes a dance floor under the open sky, where people of all ages come together, linked arm in arm, ready to step into the future with hope and camaraderie.

In the hush that follows the countdown, when the old year slips silently away, it is a Glasgow tradition to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” Strangers become friends, at least for the moment, as hands are joined and voices raised in a melody that stirs the soul. It is a moment of unity and reflection, a cherished Scottish ritual that resonates deeply with all who partake.

Glasgow tradition to sing Auld Lang Syne.

Post-midnight, the festivities continue. The city’s pubs and clubs open their doors for those looking to keep the celebration going until the wee small hours. Each venue offers a unique atmosphere, from high-energy dance floors to laid-back lounges where you can enjoy a dram of fine Scottish whisky while engaging in heartfelt conversations.

Glasgow’s Hogmanay is more than just a celebration; it’s a heartfelt embrace of Scottish heritage, a communal aspiration for a brighter tomorrow, and an invitation to create memories that will linger long after the winter snows have melted. It’s a time when the warmth of the human spirit triumphs over the cold of winter, making Glasgow not just a place to visit, but a place to belong during the festive season.

Join the revellers for fireworks, live music, and a joyful countdown to welcome the coming year in style. The city comes alive with energy and excitement, making it a memorable way to conclude your winter visit.


Glasgow during winter is a true delight, with its unique blend of festive charm and cultural offerings. From the twinkling lights of the Christmas markets to the warm embrace of the city’s pubs and museums, there’s no shortage of exciting activities to keep you enchanted throughout the season. So, wrap up in your cosiest scarf, embrace the magic of Glasgow, and create unforgettable winter memories in this welcoming city.

Scotland Villa - Hill Glasgow - A capacious kitchen living area with stunning views - Ideal for entertaining large groups of friends or family

When planning your visit to Scotland, consider the convenience and proximity of Glasgow as an ideal launching point for your excursions. To make the most of your winter experience find a comfortable and spacious place to stay, whether it’s a family vacation, an all-ladies holiday, or a reunion.

Make your winter experience in Glasgow truly unforgettable by reserving our large garden villa at Pleasant Hill Scotland as your comfortable and conveniently located home base. Located just a short distance from the city centre, our villa offers a serene retreat from the urban hustle while remaining close to Glasgow’s most renowned attractions and landmarks. Don’t miss out on this opportunity – book now and embark on an extraordinary Glasgow adventure!

Table of Contents
The Campbell family has owned the old main house - the large garden villa within its garden grounds &has hosted family & friends gatherings, weddings, memorials, reunion & milestone celebration events

Chris Campbell

Chris and the Campbell family have owned the Pleasant Hill Scotland 200-year-old main house – the oldest in Milngavie – and built this villa within its garden grounds. Chris and the Campbell family live next door and are always available for arranging handovers, and offer all manner of local intel or even support in the event of any emergency. His consistent dedication as a local ‘Concierge’, and routine forwards information about the area, pointers towards local places for eating/drinking, plus advice on sight-seeing or activities during the guest’s stay have rewarded him with Certificates of Excellence, Premier Partner & Superhost status by the major platforms. For the past two decades, Chris and the Campbell family has hosted family & friend gatherings (including Homecomings), weddings, memorials, reunions and milestone celebration events in the Pleasant Hill Scotland villa. So many have now become repeat visitors.