Entrance to Glasglow
Europe,  Scotland,  United Kingdom

Glasglow: Festival Of Lights

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Since 2018 Glasgow has been home to Glasglow. This is effectively Glasgow’s festival of lights, brought to you by itison. The event is set in Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The festival takes the Botanic Gardens and amazingly transforms them into a magical world of sound, light and fantasy.

Although only 2 years young, Glasglow attracts a large audience. In the event’s first year, they managed to sell 75,000 tickets over the course of the event. This is by far the city’s biggest Halloween event, and it’s growing.

Unlike the other itison event, Elfingrove, which is more geared towards a younger audience, this really is fun for all the family. I attended with my other half, Claire, and there was a mix of families, friends and couples to make a perfect atmosphere.

As the Botanic Gardens are located in the bustling West End of Glasgow, there is plenty around for both before and after the event. This also makes the event easy to access via the city’s public transport system.

Glasglow 2019 – What is it?

The concept of the event is a fairly simple one. The itison chief, who came up with the idea of Glasglow, injects around £750,000 into the event. This transforms the Botanic Gardens with lighting, sound systems and various other props.

The theme in 2019 was Nine Worlds. The concept being nine portals had opened around the gardens, each on transporting you to another world. It may be hard to believe, but this included everything from marshmallows to zombies and dragons. However, think more How To Train Your Dragon than Game of Thrones.

Map of Itison's GlasGLOW

Specifically, the worlds you transported to were:

  1. Arcade: Ready Player One
  2. Area G12: We are not alone
  3. Marshmallowland: S’more than you ever dreamed
  4. The Patch: Pay respect to the Pumpkin God
  5. The Lair: Your Brexit’s on fire
  6. Wunderbar: The bar with a million lights
  7. The Party Palace: D.A.N.C.E
  8. X: If you go down to the woods today
  9. The Zombie Tearoom: Drop-dead delicious

The Experience

Contrary to order the worlds were announced, and therefore number the first world we came to was The Patch. We strolled by countless pumpkins as we entered the event. Some of these were impressively carved from kids and organisations around Glasgow.

Pumpkin Patch lit by candles at Glasglow

We also managed to spot a famous figure carved into one of the pumpkins. I am guessing you will be able to recognise him. The orange colour really is a giveaway here.

Donald Trump carved into a pumpkin

After wandering along admiring the various pumpkin artwork, we began to hear a male voice. As we walked along, we began the realise this was the main attraction within this world, The Pumpkin King.

Pumpkin King in The Patch World, Glasglow

After this world, there were many more subtle worlds. Such as Marshmallowland was an area where you could rest and cook some marshmallows over the fire. Area G12 (G12 being the postcode of the gardens) was the site of a spaceship crash landing. The thing I liked about some of the worlds was the workers/staff/actors. They kept spirits high and kept you fully immersed in the world you were in. From the radiations suits in Area G12 to The Boss having a dance-off with any willing member of the public in the Arcade world.

UFO lit up.

The Wunderbar was another welcome break as we made our way around the worlds. The bar area served hot chocolate, wine, beer and soft drinks so has something for everyone. In addition to this, there was a number of food trucks that park up for the event, which made my eyes light up. This meant the possibility of churros, pizza and fried shrimp all at the same location. At least the food was more appealing than the dragon eggs found hanging in The Lair.

Dragon Eggs hanging from tree

We spent some time with our food and drink watching the sea of lights flashing along the grass, before heading towards the neon greenhouse in the distance. The Kibble Palace was completely transformed into The Party Palace. Effectively this was an old school disco, complete with retro dance classics. Although this is not my type of music, there was just the right amount of cheese to keep it entertaining.

Sea of Lights at night

When Is Glasglow?

For the past 2 years, Glasglow has run from around October to November. There is no indication from anyone that this is going to change anytime soon so we can only assume it will remain the same. Let’s face it, the main idea is lighting up the darkness, so just before Winter is the ideal time for this. The entry times range from around 17:00 until 10:00.

How To Buy Tickets

Glasglow tickets can be purchased from the official website. So keep your eyes peeled as they will no doubt be back again considering the success the last 2 years have been.

Tickets prices range from free for children under three years old up to £16 for adults at peak time. This makes Glasglow great value for money and very family-friendly occasion.

Selfie in the lights, Glasglow.

This is a great event for both the locals and anyone planning on visiting Glasgow around this time of year, whether you are visiting Scotland, or part of a bigger trip around the United Kingdom.

The glory of Glasglow being in the West End is that you are surrounded by things to do in just a short walk. Whether it’s heading for drinks or a family meal.

If you are looking for a day trip during a stay in Glasgow, have a look at the Devil’s Pulpit located just outside Glasgow.

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