Some of you already know how much I look forward to spring every year. Days become longer, there are fewer cold days and hopefully no repeat of the Beast from the East!
March starts off with the Aye Write Festival which runs from the 14th to 31st March at the Mitchell Library (ayewrite.com). The festival has been an annual occurrence since 2007 and celebrates the best in national, international and local writing bringing national and local speakers to Glasgow’s iconic library and allowing audiences to enjoy appearances from big name writers and emerging talent alike. Do look out for the Wee Write! part of the festival as it will run during the first week in March. The special family weekend is scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd March.
I am very pleased to say that The Hub will be part of the Wee Write! school programme this year. This means council nurseries and primary schools can book slots with The Hub at their local library where we will read a book to the children chosen by the nursery or school in a foreign language also chosen by them. We are very much looking forward travelling all over Glasgow and meeting many new children. Sadly, Partick Library, our very own local library, will not be one of the venues as it remains closed for most of 2019 for refurbishment. However keep libraries in mind when you are looking for bug book and other children’s sessions: Hillhead, Whiteinch and the Mitchell libraries will be your nearest ones.
March also sees the return of the annual Glasgow Comedy Festival
(glasgowcomedyfestival.com). There are some venues based in the West End like The Stand and The Oran Mor, for children’s comedy it is the Mask and Puppet Centre in Kelvindale. They will be hosting several shows as part of the festival which should be fun for primary school aged children. Although Ruby and Leon are getting slightly too old for most of the shows, I do like to take them whenever I can for support. The centre is continuously raising funds to refurbish and rebuild a new theatre and community centre. It recently extended its services in hosting an after-school group for the local area (maskandpuppet.co.uk).
And then the schools close on the 29th and we are sliding into April and two weeks of school holidays. This year, the Easter holiday weekend actually falls outwith the Easter school holidays too. So, what will we do? I am pretty sure Ruby and Leon will want to attend their usual kids camp at Scotstoun Leisure Centre, they have basically been looking forward to it since the last one in October.
These kids clubs are run by Glasgow Life and run at most leisure centres across the city; for the West End, check out Maryhill, Scotstoun and Kelvinhall leisure centres. They are very reasonably priced and offer a variety of activities to suit all.
But just in case the kids have a sudden change of heart, I want to be prepared and have other suitable and fun filled options at hand. One activity on our list for definite is West End Adventure (westendadventure.co.uk). This is a fairly new community interest company – same legal set up as The Hub – based in the West End which is all about the outdoors and was founded in 2017. This not-for-profit organisation offers a wide range of land and water-based activities including problem solving, kayaking, rock climbing, canoeing, abseiling, archery, and bushcraft. The list of activities looks very adventurous, and it is a great camp according to one of Ruby’s friends who attended one of the holiday weeks last year. It’s nice to know that you do not have to travel far to allow your kids outdoor adventures in the middle of our city. Their Easter holiday camps will run from the 1st of April at £35 per day or £175 per week.
And if you feel envious, do not despair, they also offer plenty of similar activities for adults, whether you need something for team building or for a special occasion with a group of friends.
An absolute must this year will be, of course, a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery to see Dippy! The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton is currently visiting Glasgow as part of a road trip across the UK. Dippy has ventured out of London for the first time since 1905 and has been at the gallery since the 22nd of January. He will stay until the 6th of May so make sure not to miss him. If you do go and visit, maybe time it with one of the RSPB Scotland sessions as part of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum timetable ad make a day of it. These activities usually run on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm and fees are donation based only and will fully go toward the costs of the sessions. Children learn about local nature and animals living in Kelvingrove Park (whatsonglasgow.co.uk/event/005324-the-rspb-at-kelvingrove).
I like how you can make a whole day of being in and around the art gallery. If the weather is good, we try to get over to the bowling greens for a game of bowls. It’s great how you can just walk in and play on the greens if there is space. Or maybe you prefer tennis? However, the courts for this have to be booked in advance as they are popular and the slots are limited to a certain period of time.
During school holidays, at least in summer, it is also one of the places to go to for the outdoor play activities organised by Glasgow Life. They set up stations, obstacle courses and bring all sorts of different games, balls and toys for everyone to use and enjoy; all for free too I may add.
One other lovely afternoon out is a trip to the Clydeside Distillery at the former site of the Tall Ship. Tim Morrison, whose ancestors laid the foundations for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, fulfilled his ambitions of reviving distilling in Glasgow, helping to restore the dock his great-grandfather had built and set up the distillery in 2017. We recently booked a guided tour and Ruby and Leon really enjoyed it. They learned a lot about what Glasgow used to look like from old photos in the exhibition part. We had a Spanish tour guide who knew everything there is to know about making whisky and accommodated the kids with non-alcoholic drinks while all the adults tasted some of Scotland’s finest. There is also a café for light lunches and coffee and cakes and if you require a special gift for someone check out their shop with a great selection of Scottish whiskies (theclydeside.com).
You can always combine this visit with a walk over to the Riverside Museum or the Tall Ship. They also put on holiday activities for children of different ages.
And if none of this really takes your fancy, or you have tried all of them before the holidays are over, you can always come to The Language Hub or take a break in our new Café Hub two doors along from our learning hub on Keith Street (19 & 7 Keith Street). We will be running weekday activities between the 1st-12th of April for children and adults alike, not all of them involve language learning so make sure to check out our website in March for more details.
Also check out a fairly new facebook page (facebook.com/GlasgowWestEndMumsandDads) which recommends and discusses topics of interest to parents in the West End, you might find some further helpful tips on things to do during the holidays. This leaves me to wish you all ‘Frohe Ostern und viele bunte Eier’ and see you soon.