The much anticipated XX Commonwealth Games will be taking place in Glasgow on 23 July – 3 August 2014. Here is a list of top tips for enjoying the city.
If you are lucky enough to have tickets for the games and will be in Glasgow this summer, then make sure set aside time to make the most of this amazing cultural city. But first, what are the Commonwealth Games?
Over 6,500 athletes from the family of Commonwealth Nations will join together in one of the largest competitive games event after the Olympics. Originally made up of countries in the British Empire, the Commonwealth has modernised its outlook. It gives member nations a bigger voice, whether they are large or small, rich or poor. The games celebrate this union through sport. In total, there are 17 sporting events across the 11 days. In each games there are 10 core sports, as well as 7 selected sports. Competitions include swimming, diving, rugby sevens, tennis and other racket sports, velodrome events, shooting and wrestling, to name a few.
Here are some tips for experiencing the best that Glasgow has to offer:
Glasgow is full of world-class sporting venues, some of which will host events during the competition. Celtic Park will host the Opening Ceremony and is located next to Athletes village and the rugby sevens tournament will take place at Ibrox Stadium. Hampden Park, Scotland’s national stadium, will host the field and track events and the Closing Ceremony. Football plays a large role in Scottish life, and nowhere else is this more evident than in Glasgow. Why not take a stadium tour and learn about the city’s passion for the game. Take The Hampden Experience Tour which includes a Football Museum and The Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
If time is limited or you want to get around as many attractions as possible, join a guided Hop On, Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour. This is the most convenient way to travel between museums and famous sights. From the bus, you can choose which attractions you see, and the best part is that when you are finished, you can jump on the next bus and go straight to the next attraction. Buses start from the beautiful George Square, in the heart of the city, and conveniently stop outside the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow (stop number 10 on the line), so sightseeing couldn’t be easier.
Scotland’s national beer, Tennent’s Lager, has a place in the heart of most Scots. Visit Wellpark Brewery located on Duke Street and celebrate 450 years of tradition. During the one hour guided tour, learn about the rich heritage of one of Scotland’s most famous brand names. Follow the art and process of making beer through mashing, malting, brewing, kegging, bottling and canning.
Find out about Scotland’s other much loved beverage: Whisky. There are two distilleries close to Glasgow: Glengoyne and Auchentoshan. They do require a bit of effort to reach but you’ll be well rewarded by a fascinating guided tour and tasting samples. If you don’t have time to travel outside the city, then there are many pubs in the centre that sell a wide range of whiskies. The Pot Still on Hope Street has one of the most extensive whisky collections of malt whisky in Scotland. This humble little pub is filled to the brim with whisky, and enthusiastic staff are on hand to help you make up your mind which dram to start with.
A little bit of culture
The standard of galleries and museums in Glasgow is high, and it’s hard to make it around them all. Kelvingrove Art Gallery is one of the UK’s most visited attractions and one of Europe’s best Art collections. It’s also free of charge. The award-winning Riverside Museum is a fairly recent addition to the city, and is also the new home of the Transport Museum. Step back in time and climb aboard vintage trams, buses and cars, or step aboard the tall ship ‘Glenlee’, which was actually built in the Clyde shipyard. At The Macintosh House you will find Hunterian Art Gallery. It celebrates one of the most important collections of Charles Rennie Macintosh (1868-1928), a Scottish artist and designer, who was known for his very distinctive style.
Glasgow offers some of the best shopping in the UK. Outside of London, The Style Mile is the largest shopping location. As the name suggests, it is a square mile of shopping right in the heart of the city centre. Here you will find everything from shopping centres, specialist boutiques, department stores, high street names and high-end designer fashion.
If it is a wild night of clubbing, or a stylish wine bar you are after, Glasgow has it all. In this vibrant city there are pubs, wine and cocktail bars, and clubs dotted all over. It is a particularly well-known destination for its music scene and you don’t have to go far to find a concert or gig. As well as the stadiums, the city has a number of more intimate music venues, including the O2 Academy, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, The Sub Club, The Arches and the Barrowlands.
Whatever you do during the Commonwealth Games you will be received to the city with a warm Glaswegian welcome. Many of the events will be shown on big screens in ‘Live Zones’ found at Merchant City, Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Bandstand. Join in the festival atmosphere and make the most of this great city. Enjoy!