How Glasgow and Edinburgh celebrate the year-end festivities

Dec 15, 2017

Scotland’s two largest cities may be less than 70km apart, but they feel like they’re a million miles away from each other. As the temperature drops, both claim status as the nation’s festive capital. We put their Yuletide spirit to the test.

Glasgow in the west is Scotland’s former industrial powerhouse; Edinburgh in the east is a seat of government and formerly, royalty. They’ve always been natural rivals, culturally and historically separate, and happy to be regarded as opposites. While it’s ultimately a friendly rivalry they’ve got going on, things come to a head this winter as they vie to be Scotland’s party capital. No matter where you end up and how inclement the weather becomes, the nation’s largest cities have plenty to offer during the short days.

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Fare game

Few people would deny that Glasgow’s locals have a hearty appetite for dining out. While the weather may often work against alfresco dining, there’s a version of almost every cuisine available in Scotland’s largest city.

December sees the city’s bars and restaurants packed with gregarious office staff having fun at annual year-end parties, and people letting their hair down. While there may not be any Michelin-star restaurants, the atmosphere is convivial and the Christmas menus, timeless.

For fine French food, there’s Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or, which has a Christmas menu heavy on Scottish produce. To enjoy traditional local flavours, head to the ever-popular Stravaigin, which has been on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for the last five years; expect mains such as roast turkey with purple potatoes, parsnips, sauerkraut, pancetta and quince chutney.

shish mahal

If you’re after less-classic Christmas plates, check out the all-time favourite Indian restaurant Shish Mahal (above), which claims to have invented chicken tikka masala.