View of fairground rides at Irn-Bru Carnival

Rides not to be missed as the Irn Bru Carnival returns to Glasgow’s SEC

In Glasgow the festive season flies by in a blur of lights and music as one of the city’s most loved traditions swings into action with the IRN-BRU Carnival at the Scottish Event Campus.

Now in its 102nd year and back after being forced to take a Covid-19 enforced break in 2020, the IRN-BRU Carnival is Europe’s largest indoor funfair and has drawn generations of families, year on year, to the banks of the River Clyde.

Regulars have their favourite rides, dating back to when they first visited as a child and every year new attractions are added, entrancing a whole new group of carnival-goers.

This year the IRN-BRU Carnival opens at the SEC on 22 December 2021 and runs until January 16 2022 and here we talk to Margaret Cowan, Show Manager and unofficial ‘Queen of the Carnival’ and pick out four rides you really shouldn’t miss.

The Star Flyer

“Is situated outside the main entrance,” said Margaret, “and is one of the first things you will see as you approach the SEC. The ride has swinging chairs which rise and loop around 40 metres into the sky. The great thing about this ride is that it really takes in all the views of the city and all of Glasgow’s great landmarks. You’ll see up and across the Hydro into town, you can look south, over the Clyde and above the Armadillo, and see the River Clyde flowing by. It might be a bit of a blur when the ride is in full flow – but a good tip is to fix your eyes on the horizon, and you might get a clearer view.”

The Waltzers

“Are a traditional favourite and have been a fixture at carnivals and funfairs for well over a century. Waltzers actually began life as a different ride and the cars were added later. It’s very popular with the teenagers but you always see the adults and mums and dads queuing up to get on – and then regretting their decision! Like the ghost train and carousel, the waltzers bring back memories. The biggest reaction that you see though is from the grandparents. They have these huge smiles on their faces, watching their grandkids enjoy the rides they went on.”

The Runaway Train

“This is a new ride for younger children and their parents and is a Disney-themed mini rollercoaster right in the centre of hall four. This is going to be a big hit with the wee ones and something that really catches people’s eye. I always love to watch peoples’ reactions to new rides and attractions; you can always see that look of surprise and delight. People always come to the Carnival looking out for their personal favourites and the traditional rides. You can see people searching for them, but when a new ride arrives it always pulls in the crowds.”

Runaway Train fairground ride
Popular children’s ride the Runaway Train is making an scheduled stop at this year’s Irn Bru Carnival at the SEC.

Star Fighter

“This will be another new thrill ride and one for teenagers and thrill seekers. The Star Fighter is similar to the Mexican Hat ride, but on this one people sit facing out the way and it goes higher as it spins and tilts at a fast pace. This will be in the hall for the first time this year and I think it’s going to be very popular, particularly with the teenagers. I love seeing the older kids being dropped off to explore the Carnival on their own for the first time. It’s a big thing for them and their parents, who know that we have police and security based in all areas and offer a safe environment.”

Star Fighter fairground ride
The Star Fighter is a new addition to the thrill rides as the Irn Bru Carnival returns to Glasgow’s SEC.

This year, with Covid-19 safety measures still in place, you must book your tickets for the IRN BRU Carnival in advance. You can do that online and find out more information about the event here at:

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