I’m Emily, a 27 year old accessibility consultant, writer and presenter living in gorgeous Glasgow – I decided to stay after moving up here to travel write for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I’m a full-time manual wheelchair user with cerebral palsy and, although I’ve travelled to over 30 countries for work and play, I can still find the simplest thing – going out for a meal with my family, or meeting work colleagues for a drink – really pretty stressful.
Glasgow is often (quite rightly) hailed as one of the best cities for shopping in the whole of the UK, and for good reason! We have numerous shopping centres and retail parks including Silverburn, Braehead and Glasgow Fort, as well as city centre offerings in Buchanan Galleries and St. Enoch Shopping Centre. All of these provide great accessibility, with accessible parking and bathrooms, as well as smooth flooring and well thought out ‘mapping’ of the shops throughout. There’s also several eateries in each of these centres, too – perfect for a little rest and relaxation for you and your wallet!
The festive season only adds more magic to this great city’s shopping scene. Glasgow boasts two Christmas Markets in the city centre, one next to the St. Enoch Shopping Centre, and a larger one in George Square, known as the epicentre for festivals, events and political rallies in the city. The place to go at this time of year for some foodie treats and a glass of festive cheer, these markets also pride themselves in showcasing some of the best handmade gifts from independent businesses. If your aim is to support small businesses a little more this year, then this really is the place to be.
In terms of accessibility, the staff at George Square Market are raising funds for National Autistic Society Scotland this year, and have been trained to support those with autism and their families in having a magical shopping experience. There are also authentic German bars, a vintage carousel and helter skelter, and the opportunity to meet Santa! If there ever was a place to get glitzy and glam in Glasgow, it’s these Christmas Markets! More information on opening dates and times can be found here.
Whilst this time of year is tonnes of fun, and the opportunities to catch up with friends and family and spread some Christmas love are wonderful, it can also be a time of pressure – pressure to spend money, to travel hundreds of miles to see everyone you possibly can in the space of a few days, and to get everything ready, cooked and wrapped on time. Whatever you are up to this festive season (and however much shopping you do, and many magical markets you visit), please remember to take care of yourself, too. Wrap up warm, avoid those icy roads and feel free to say ‘no’ to going out if you’re frankly exhausted and would rather curl up in your PJs with a cosy fire and a festive film. I’d recommend a glass or four of mulled wine, too..!
Wishing you all a very merry, cheery and festive December, and hoping the man in red brings you everything you wished for!
To read more from Emily, visit her blog www.emilyroseyates.co.uk