FOR a Christmas shopping destination with everything you could possibly need or want head north of the border and give Glasgow a go.

As a self-confessed shopaholic who is unlikely to recover any time soon, I cannot believe I have never been to Glasgow before, let alone shopped there.

Now having enjoyed a two night stay, the city is definitely on my “visit list” for the New Year — with a plan to take a few female co-conspirators in the “shop until we drop” brigade.

For this visit I took along my husband who, although not a fan of browsing, could not fail to be impressed with what Glasgow had to offer in terms of the range of shops and stores including high end as well as traditional high street favourites.

It was a great opportunity to pick up a few Christmas gifts and we found several things that we wouldn’t have spotted back at home.

But the big plus was that the Christmas markets had begun and we were able to get into the Christmas spirit — literally — thanks to the various stalls selling everything from the most amazing chocolates and sweets to the alcohol-selling bar.

I bought a stunning pair of amber earrings at the market – a scarf from a designer shop in the Princes Square shopping centre and a pair of gloves with the almost obligatory tartan cuff from a touristy shop.

What impressed us most most about our trip though was the range of eateries including The Corinthian Club which was built in 1842 and is one of Glasgow’s most elaborate and richly decorated building.

Let’s put it this way, when we told the staff at our hotel that we were lunching at the Corinthian Club they were suitably impressed.

We ate at The Trading House in the evening which was more relaxed but equally enjoyable.

Another meal that was much enjoyed was at The Restaurant Bar and Grill which is located in the sophisticated Princes Square and serves Christmas cocktails to die for — I even got the opportunity to mix my own which was great fun.

Staff at the restaurant pride themselves on the philosophy of ingredient provenance so they know exactly which farm the produce comes from.

As the restaurant is located on the top floor of the up market Princes Square Shopping centre I could kill two birds with one stone — shopping and eating!

We also enjoyed lunch at The Anchor Line building at St Vincent’s Place, which was once the booking office for Anchor Line cruise ships, which ran regular trips across the pond from Glasgow to New York.

Our room for the stay was in the smart, new, Ibis Styles hotel which is slap bang in the centre of Glasgow so is perfect for shops, restaurants, bars and attractions.

The hotel serves a very good continental-style breakfast and you can help yourself to tea and coffee 24 hours a day.

During our stay we took an open top bus tour — we stayed downstairs having visited on what was arguably the coldest, but brightest, two days of the year — and we saw the amazing Glasgow Cathedral, which was built during the 13th and 15th centuries.

During the trip we enjoyed learning so much about the city from the headphones on the tour but soon we realised we would have to go again as even two full days is not enough to see everything.

The University of Glasgow and Riverside Museum are both stop-off points on the tour and both well worth a visit.

You can hop on and off at your leisure.

We took the train to Glasgow — did you realise the city is only two hours and 20 minutes away from Preston Station? — making it an easily accessible city for a short break.

You do not need transport when you are there as with the excellent public transport links and the fact many attractions are within walking distance, if you stay in the centre you don’t need to bother with the car.

We came back with a rosy glow (the cold and the alcohol), a warm feeling (the people are the friendliest I have encountered in the UK so little wonder their motto is “People Make Glasgow”) and a determination to return as soon as is practically possible.

If you can fit in a break (even one night would be just grand) before Christmas give it a go as the Christmas lights, market and atmosphere are all spectacular.

If you can’t get there before the big day visit in the New Year.