Commonwealth Games 2014Rekindle the Olympic spirit in Glasgow!
HomeAway travel expert
If you don’t live in Scotland, the hype may not quite have hit the same feverish levels: but with less than a year to go, those north of the border are brimming with anticipation for the renowned Commonwealth Games. The event returns to the country for the first time since Edinburgh played host way back in 1986, and with the watching eyes of the world focused on Britain’s second city, the levels of organisation since the announcement have been nothing short of immense. For 11 days, this already-vibrant city will burst to life, as spectators flock to see their sporting idols in action across 17 different events.
The Games are set to unfold at several different venues across Glasgow itself, as well as a handful that will take place beyond the city limits in surrounding areas. The scramble for tickets has been well documented, but even if you’ve not been lucky enough to get your hands on them, a visit to soak up the atmosphere alone will be worth it come September 2014. With accommodation certain to be at a premium, be sure check out HomeAway’s selection of rentals in Glasgow to find the ideal base for your visit. Before you book, though, take a peek at our guide to what you can expect when you arrive.
Glasgow: all you need to know
Glasgow has been firmly established as a fine sporting city for decades now, but since the announcement that the Commonwealth Games were heading its way, its athletics armoury has been bolstered even further. The Emirates Arena is the most noteworthy addition, located just a stone’s throw from opening ceremony venue Celtic Park in the east end. Ibrox Stadium, home of Rangers Football Club, will provide the setting for the rugby sevens, while infamous national stadium Hampden is being converted to accommodate athletic events and the closing ceremony. A few short miles away lies the pleasant Strathclyde Country Park, for the duration of the Games the host of the triathlon event.
If you’re suffering from sporting overload, you needn’t worry - Glasgow is awash with attractions and activities to keep visitors of all ages entertained for the duration of their stay. The area around the SECC - designated venue for the wrestling, judo and boxing competitions - is particularly bustling, not least the state-of-the-art Science Centre that lays by the river. Scottish weather is notoriously unpredictable, but if the sun rears its head, don’t miss the chance to sprawl out in the beautiful Kelvingrove Park, where the lawn bowls will take place. The breathtaking museum of the same name is a must-see for any lovers of art and culture, as is the Gallery of Modern Art in the beating heart of the city. For an insight into traditional Glasgow life, the People’s Palace is a fascinating venture, whilst the Botanical Garden is a tranquil oasis to while away a few hours.
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Glasgow has a reputation as Scotland's party capital, and it’s fair to say the locals are only too happy to live up to the tag. As such, you’ll never find yourself at a loss for bars and nightclubs in which to unwind after a day’s sporting drama. Bath Street and Sauchiehall Street in the city centre offer the most diverse range of venues, but if you want to sample the more sophisticated side of the city, hop on the underground to Ashton Lane. The quaint, cobbled street is like a step back in time, flanked by traditional pubs and a smattering of modern but tasteful drinking dens. The more central Merchant City area, meanwhile, is an increasingly popular haunt for its selection of chic and upmarket late-night hotspots.
Any shopaholic knows that one of the great pleasures in visiting somewhere new is scoping out what they have to offer in the retail stake. Thankfully, Glasgow holds its own against some of the country’s finest. The aptly monikered “Style Mile” of Buchanan Street is the place to be for fans of designer labels, particularly the upmarket boutiques and jewellers that populate the architecturally-stunning Princes Square. More wallet-friendly outlets can be found in Buchanan Galleries and Argyle Street, but if you want a truly unique souvenir, head for the vintage shops around the west end. Any bargain hunters with nerves of steel may also wish to try their luck in the famous and disorientating Barras market.
It’s often said that visitors to Scotland should come to Glasgow for the party and Edinburgh for the culture: and with the capital city less than an hour away by train, it’d be criminal not to spend at least a day there. A wealth of rich - often bloody - history awaits you as you manoeuvre up the majestic Royal Mile towards the ominous castle that looms large over the city, at the peak of a volcanic rock. Keep active with a hike up Arthur’s Seat, where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city and across the River Forth to Fife. Any ghouls in your party will relish one of the many ghost tours that operate throughout the centre, with the claustrophobic Mary King’s Close a particular favourite, while a visit to Britain’s only pandas at the local Zoo will live long in the memory.