A CHRISTMAS parade will be held in Glasgow for the first time as part of the city's annual festive campaign.

The parade will see a procession of characters led by Santa Claus travel through the city centre later this month.

It is part of this year's Glasgow Loves Christmas – and bosses expect more than 11million visitors to the city's Style Mile as shoppers flock to the events taking place this year.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, the leader of the city council and chairman of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, launched the event in Buchanan Street yesterday.

He was joined by Emma John Montgomery from Frasers, Daryl Bell from John Lewis, Samantha Law from Buchanan Galleries, Derek James Reid from Princes Square, Christine Robb from St Enoch, Debbie Chung from Argyll Arcade and the Hamley's Christmas Elf, Emma McDougall.

Councillor Matheson said: "This year's Christmas offering is shaping up to be the most exciting yet with an array of attractions and events for everyone, spanning music, film, dancing, food and drink and free family entertainment."

On November 18, families are being invited to see Santa's Express Train lead a sparkling fanfare of dolls, toy soldiers, elves, fairies, dancing Christmas trees and superhero characters including Hamleys' own mascots Hamley and Hattie Bear.

The countdown to Christmas will start on November 15 when the festive lights are switched on in George Square.

Revellers can get their skates on in George Square from November 24, when Glasgow on Ice opens.

Plans are also in place for Glasgow Loves St Andrew's Day celebrations from November 30 until December 2.

Hogmanayday will also return to George Square for the second year after the council axed its evening event last year.