Glasgow is set to sparkle in suitably gallus style this year, as, for the first time, the various massed events and celebrations are being collected under the non-denominational and kinda cuddly umbrella Winterfest – a programme of ceilidhs, clubs, exhibitions and outdoor happenings running the gamut from late November all the way to Hogmanay. The focal point for most of the fun is a picturesque George Square, where festivities kick-off with the annual switching on of the Christmas lights, before the all-new and improved Glasgow on Ice skating rink takes centre stage.
For the first time, the rink – which opens on Monday 26 November – will be expanded to allow skaters to glide around the base of one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the Sir Walter Scott column. Budding Torvill & Deans can use the rink seven days a week, until 10pm.
Around the perimeter of the square, foodies can enjoy the array of food and drink on offer at the annual Festive Market. As usual, there will also be a display of stalls proffering festive-feeling knick-knacks, jewellery and winter wear.
Alongside the market, the little ones can enjoy a tête-à-tête with Santa in his Glasgow-based grotto, ably supported by his obligatory little helpers.
Other highlights of the programme include the gargantuan ceilidh Shindig in the Square and the biennial International Festival of Light’s Radiance showcase, in which some of the Merchant City’s most beautiful buildings and hidden corners will be transformed by a variety of light installations.
Winterfest events round off in typically plus-sized style with the city's Hogmanay shenanigans, as home-grown chanteuse and latter-day Tunstall Amy Macdonald eases the run up to the bells, prior to another barnstorming headline set by Dundonian tykes The View.