I can't believe that Christmas is only two weeks away and to help us get into the festive mood, myself and Nicola were treated to a day out from Glasgow Loves Christmas. Scotland's largest city is the ideal place to enjoy a Christmas Day out with large pedestrianised areas lined with an array of shops, bars, restaurants and attractions to help get you in the mood for the festive period.
Our day started off at Glasgow Central train station which was full to bursting with hundreds of shoppers making their way back home after a busy day searching for the prefect presents for friends and family. After negotiating our way through the crowds we headed towards the Christmas Market at St. Enoch Square. The Christmas Market has been a regular fixture at St Enoch Square for years although relocated to Argyle Street whilst construction work was being carried out to the subway station before returning to its (Christmas) spiritual home.
St Enoch Square was unbelievably busy as shoppers squeezed into the makeshift village of rustic wooden cabins where local and continental traders were selling a huge array of food and drink, arts and crafts, as well as a wide range of traditional Christmas trinkets from across Europe. It was far too busy to walk about so we took refuge inside the German Glühwein House where we shared a couple of cups of hot German mulled wine and spiced cherry mulled cider. Is there anything that sums up Christmas better than mulled wine?
We finished our glühwein and started to make our way to George Square where we had ice skating reservations. Glasgow has a great reputation for fantastic shopping with over 1500 shop making up Glasgow's Style Mile including St Enoch's Centre, Buchanan Galleries, Princes Square, Argyll Arcade, John Lewis and House of Fraser. With so many great shops all within a short walking distance, there no excuse not to find your perfect gift.
Glasgow city centre is pretty compact so it didn't take us long to reach George Square, the resident venue for Glasgow on Ice, and tried to collect our ice skating tickets but a clerical error meant that there were no tickets waiting for us and we couldn't take to the ice. Disappointed that we weren't able to recreate Torvill & Dean's 'Bolero', we spent a little time taking in the sights and sounds of the other attractions inside George Square. Glasgow on Ice is open until 31st December but if you don't fancy pulling your skates on, why not enjoy the view from the top of the big wheel, experience the thrill of riding the chair-o-planes or sample some of the festive food and drink while soaking up the Glasgow Loves Christmas atmosphere?
2015 is Scotland's Year of Food & Drink and Glasgow has seen a huge number of restaurants open over the last 12 month adding to an already lengthy menu of top eating houses in the city. Our day was brought to an end with a very enjoyable dinner at Atlantic Bar & Brasserie, one of the hottest new additions to Glasgow's restaurant scene. The Atlantic was a French restaurant that The Anchor Line Shipping Company created for the 1938 Empire Exhibition held in Bellahouston Park and this latest venture from DRG Group on St. Vincent Street is a tip of the cap to the old days when steam liners ruled the seas.
The Atlantic menu is typically French but with an emphasis on using top quality local ingredients. I had been looking forward to my steak tartare starter all week land I wasn't disappointed. The well seasoned finely chopped beef, gherkin, onion and herb, topped with a golden egg yolk was a delight. Steak tartare isn't something that I would have every day but when it's this good, maybe I should. Another highlight was the roasted rump of Perthshire lamb that Nicola ordered. The lamb was perfectly cooked, pink on the inside and nicely charred from the grill, served on a bed of roasted Mediterranean veg with a side of creamy garlicky Dauphinoise potatoes. This was one of the better lamb dishes that Nicola has eaten this year. (Keep an eye out for my full review, coming very soon) As dinner came to an end, it was soon time to bring our Christmas Day out to a close and we wait our way back to Glasgow Central for the Polar Express back to a very frosty East Kilbride.
As I don't work in the city centre any more, it was great to get the chance to soak up some of the Glasgow Loves Christmas atmosphere and also try out a restaurant that I know will be a huge hit in Glasgow.
There's still plenty of time to get into Glasgow to enjoy the Christmas markets, shopping and attractions but if you need to know more about Glasgow Loves Christmas and the events around the city centre, check out the website or find them on Facebook and Twitter. If you are out and about and posting or sharing any messages or images across social media, don't forget to use the hashtag #glasgowloveschristmas