With only five weeks to Christmas, Glasgow is gearing up for another fun-filled, festive celebration for all the family. In line with our Autism Aware Glasgow project, we want to ensure all the family can experience and enjoy the Christmas period – and a lot of our project partners are getting involved!

St Enoch Centre
Once again, St Enoch centre will be hosting its quiet sessions for Santa’s Grotto. These sessions have been developed to provide a more relaxed and quieter environment with music volume dimmed throughout. More information can be found here. St Enoch Centre have their quiet room available throughout the year for those that require a break from the festive shopping and trained Autism Champions to assist you should you require it.

House of Fraser
This year, House of Fraser will also be hosting autism-friendly sessions for their Santa Stories. Suitable for children from three years+ you can enjoy a festive picnic, story time with Santa and a special gift bag during a meet and greet session. Running on Saturday’s throughout December you can find more information here. House of Fraser also has a quiet room available throughout the year.

Riverside Museum/St Mungo’s Museum
Glasgow Museums are once again getting involved with their autism-friendly early opening for the annual Riverside Christmas Fair and access to the quiet and safe space all day. They’ll also be running an autism-friendly family workshop on Sunday 16 December called Festive Decorations, More information can be found here. You’ll also be able to find their museum storyboards to help you prepare for your visit.

Glasgow Christmas Markets
Tuesday 4 December will be Glasgow’s autism-friendly day at both the George Square and St Enoch Christmas Markets. More information can be found at the Glasgow Loves Christmas Facebook page. There will be a quiet space at the George Square market throughout the market duration. This will be a warm and dry area with calm lighting and comfortable seating, situated at the Management Office.

In addition, why not stop into Malone’s Bar and Restaurant for a bite to eat and break from shopping? They can offer quieter eating areas and sensory bags behind the bar. If you’re visiting Glasgow a few of our hotels have also trained their staff in autism awareness to help accommodate your needs – these include Sauchiehall Street Ibis, Hallmark Hotel and Novotel Hotel. Or stop in for a film at the GFT for one of their autism-friendly screenings (including Home Alone) throughout December – find out more here.

We are always striving to make Glasgow more Autism Aware so if there is anything you think could help you or other families enjoy the city centre a bit more please get in touch with

If you have any comments or enquiries about this post or related matters please use the contact form or the alternative means of getting in touch here.



A guest post by Nick Wright

One thing I love about Glasgow city centre is the buzz: people everywhere, events in the street, new places to visit.

In my professional life as an urban planner, I’m really interested in how to help make that buzz even better. Planning is often thought of as a legalistic activity, regulating new development. But it can also be proactive and creative activity. When it comes to making the city centre buzz, a good starting point for me is to work with the folk who make that buzz, to find out what they need to happen to build even more buzz.

I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with the Council’s City Centre Regeneration Team – the dedicated folk who are behind this website – to put that concept into practice. The City Centre Lanes Strategy prepared for the team by WMUD is a good example. Its purpose was to understand and promote the practical potential of the city centre’s lanes to bring more buzz to the city centre. At the heart of the work were dozens of conversations with local businesses, residents, artists and entrepreneurs who wanted to bring life to the lanes so we could understand what they saw as the potential, what was stopping them, and how to remove those barriers.

Those conversations led to a strategy and action plan which the Council has moved quickly to act upon. Within months of the Lanes Strategy being finalised, the Council had implemented the single most important action from all those we spoke to: removed unsightly and polluting commercial waste bins from the lanes. At a stroke, rewriting commercial waste and recycling rules removed the single most significant barrier to realising the potential of the city centre’s lanes. This has quickly been followed by a £100,000 City Centre Lanes Activation Fund, the sole purpose of which is to support businesses, residents and artists in developing lanes as attractive and exciting places.

For me, the Lanes Strategy and its implementation is a wonderful example of the Council working collaboratively with local people and organisations to help them make their environment better. From the outset, the ethos of the Lanes Strategy was to support collaborative action, based on local ideas – inspired by good examples like Melbourne and Montreal, but not trying to impose their solutions in Glasgow. I think that’s wonderful.

A recent blog post on this website highlighted another excellent example of collaborative working in the city centre: the High Street Area Strategy. Behind that rather mundane title lies an exciting vision and action plan for the future, which helps the local community itself bring more life to the area. Like the Lanes Strategy, the Council’s City Centre Strategy Team were behind this work too.

These two examples are part of a shift, not just in what the city centre offers (as illustrated by Iain MacPherson’s recent blog post on this website on co-working), but also how the Council manages and supports those changes. For me, working collaboratively and proactively with local businesses, residents, artists and entrepreneurs has to be the way forward. It’s great to see some examples of this taking root in the city centre.

If you have any comments or enquiries about this post or related matters please use the contact form or the alternative means of getting in touch here.



The draft Broomielaw District Regeneration Framework (DRF) is moving closer to approval for public consultation. Although over 3,500 people and stakeholders have contributed, it is always exciting to see what people think of the ideas, priorities and action plans that have been developed.

The DRF (who doesn’t enjoy a bit of jargon) is full of many exciting ideas, but one thing it does do is recognise the importance of the River Clyde to the city and also the fact that since the decline in traditional heavy industries there are still many opportunities to integrate the river into the city centre.

Many cities with an industrial past have faced the same challenges regarding re-connecting their rivers and industrial sites – like docks and warehouse areas – to the city and more importantly to people. Potentially there are now more drivers to address this than ever before – the placemaking concept is gaining strength and is being recognised by developers as something that adds value. This makes it easier to incorporate things such as mixed use (residential, office, hotel and retail) in one development area, with open space and active street fronts to ensure that spaces operate at a human scale. The terminology can be quite cold and sound process-driven, but mostly it is about building places that people want to live in, work in and visit.

Cities themselves are becoming ever more critical. Globally, and for the first time ever, more people now live in urban areas than in the countryside. This changes what people want concerning amenity and facilities which is also helping to drive placemaking principles. Also, the changes in working and shopping patterns that the use of digital platforms has enabled creates even more momentum behind placemaking – developments are not solely about what type of accommodation we live in but are about what we can do locally. The use of digital platforms may extend our reach in many ways, but it runs parallel to a desire to be local, for the feel of a place and the experiences we can have, including café life, nightlife, co-working spaces, cultural life, music, quality open space and human interaction.

Assets such as rivers provide great opportunities and a natural resource to respond to these trends. Many cities are acting on this. For example, Hamburg and Newcastle. There are many others, but the opportunities for Scotland’s largest and most metropolitan city to respond in a way which respects its heritage and supports its future are really exciting.

Your views will help shape this so please get engaged when the consultation starts.



Following a public consultation earlier this year, with the council hearing about the priorities of local residents, businesses and other organisations, plans will now be put into action to better promote the area’s rich history and built heritage, support small businesses and the local economy, and enhance public realm.

The area is home to around 6,000 people and features a host of attractions such as the Barras, Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Green, the Necropolis, Provand’s Lordship, the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, the Tollbooth Steeple, and key locations on the Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail, as well as independent shops and traders, artists’ studios, bars, restaurants, the Glasgow City Innovation District and the Tontine centre of innovation.

The strategy will be overseen by a cross-party body, the High Street Reference Group, comprising all the councillors representing the wards covering the area.

The strategy, which will run from 2019 – 2023, contains a range of ambitious plans to support the area’s revitalisation. Key actions in the HSAS include:

  • Working with partner agencies to promote the preservation of built heritage
  • Establishing a Heritage Trail to link the area’s visitor attractions and highlight historical points of interest
  • Introducing a new “Meanwhile Space” initiative to bring vacant shop units into positive use
  • Expanding the “Independent Retail Fund” to support shopfront improvements
  • Exploring more opportunities for quality public space and active travel

In response to concerns raised by local traders during the consultation process, City Property will also implement a two-year moratorium on rent increases for its tenants in the upper High Street and Saltmarket areas, as well as improving its tenant engagement with local businesses.

Councillor Angus Millar, Depute City Convener for Economic Growth at Glasgow City Council and Chair of the High Street Reference Group, said:

“The High Street Area Strategy will guide the long-overdue regeneration of Glasgow’s historic heart, making a clear commitment to the area’s future with a range of initiatives to take the High Street forward. The strong level of engagement from the public in our consultation earlier this year underlines the importance of the High Street to so many Glaswegians. By doing more to promote the area’s rich heritage and support the local economy, we can help make the High Street area the vibrant, celebrated district of the city it deserves to be. I look forward to working over the coming years with local residents, businesses and council partners in delivering the city’s ambitious plans for this important quarter of Glasgow.”

The High Street Area Strategy can be downloaded here [8.6 MB PDF] or you can read it on ISSUU below: