One of Glasgow’s beloved festive traditions returns this year as the IRN-BRU Carnival opens its doors at the SEC on Wednesday 22 December 2021.
The Carnival, which has been running in the city for over a century, was forced to take a break last year as the Scottish Event Campus became NHS Louisa Jordan during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year the lights are back up, the tunes are pumping and the IRN-BRU Carnival is back in a blur of lights and motion.
The Carnival runs from 22 December 2021 until Sunday 16 January 2022 and is again hosting a special autism friendly day on Boxing Day.
Here’s everything else that you need to know about this year’s event.
What is the IRN-BRU Carnival?
The IRN-BRU Carnival is Europe’s largest indoor funfair, opening at the SEC Glasgow on 22 December 2021 and running until 16 January 2022. It celebrated its 100th birthday in 2019 and was first based at the Kelvin Hall before moving to the Scottish Event Campus. It is a Glasgow Christmas tradition, attracting generations of the same families year on year.
When does the IRN-BRU Carnival start and when is it open?
The doors open and the lights go up at 4.30pm on Wednesday 22 December 2021. The Carnival then runs for the next three weeks, until Sunday 16 January 2022. The only day that it’s closed is on Christmas Day. Exact opening and closing times for each day varyso it’s best to check the website when planning your visit’: irn-bru-carnival.com
This year, the IRN-BRU Carnival are asking you to book your visit online in advance to make sure entry is as quick and safe as possible. Tickets are for a specific day, and can only be used on the date they are booked for. Check irn-bru-carnival.com for full ticket details. As always, there are a range of concessions and prices in place.
What and when are the Autism friendly sessions?
The Autism friendly sessions aim to create an environment which is more enjoyable for those with sensory processing disorders so that even more people can enjoy the fun of the IRN-BRU Carnival with their families and friends. At the Autism friendly sessions, the lights are up in the main hall, the music will be off or very low and, where possible, the rides will run a little bit slower. There are also quiet areas and sensory packs for guests. The first session is on Hogmanay, Friday December 31 11am-2pm and the second on Tuesday January 11 4.30pm-9.30pm.
Are there any age restrictions?
There are no age limits throughout the IRN-BRU Carnival, but if you are 12 years of age or under you must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Individual rides and attractions have height and age restrictions for health and safety reasons.
What if I am coming with my carer or have additional support needs?
There are measures in place to support people with care needs and there is also free and reduced-price entry for carers. The IRN-BRU Carnival website has an Accessibility Guide which you can view on their website and has full details on this and other arrangements for people with additional support requirements. You can also organise a Ride Access Pass for guests who are unable to stand in queues.
How accessible are the rides and the venue?
The organisers have made every effort to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy a day out at the IRN-BRU Carnival. However, there are areas and rides which will present a challenge for some. The aforementioned Accessibility Guide has details on carer tickets, Ride Access Passes and wheelchair hire – but, if you have a question that is not answered by this guide, please contact [email protected] and the Carnival team will do their best to help.
There are a range of additional facilities in place at the SEC for visitors. There are multiple baby changing facilities, a cloakroom and a free of charge ATM next to the SEC Box, as well as an additional ATM next to RS McColl’s newsagent (which charges an administration fee).
For the little ones
If you have wee ones in your party, then the Inflatable Play Area is perfect for them – and for knackered parents who want to put their feet up and have a cuppa in the café. There are eight inflatable attractions where kids under the age of 12 can play for up to 40 minutes. The Inflatable Play area costs three vouchers per child (you get 10 vouchers included in every ticket) and you can buy additional ones at the Carnival for £1.50 each, or five for £6. And you can share your vouchers among your party – so don’t worry if one person needs more than everyone else.
An important note on clothing
No-one will be allowed entry to the IRN-BRU Carnival wearing football colours. This is a long-standing rule and if you are going straight to the SEC following a match, please ensure you have a change of clothing. You should also remember to tuck in or remove loose clothing prior to getting on rides. And don’t forget to find a zip pocket for your mobile phone and loose change. You wouldn’t be the first person to watch your valuables go flying as you flip or loop the loop!
The organisers will continue to monitor and follow Scottish Government guidelines and safety measures. Important updates will be shared on the IRN-BRU Carnival website and social channels. Unless exempt, visitors must comply with any safety measures and any legal requirements at the time of the event.
For more information and breaking news relating to this year’s IRN-BRU Carnival visit: irn-bru-carnival.com