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As the countdown to the 2014 Commonwealth Games begins, our thoughts turn to Glasgow and how to get the most out of this gem of a Scottish city. A location with a heart of gold, Glasgow offers a desirable cocktail of ancient history and architecture and proud cultural identity with a delightfully modern twist. One of the largest cities in the UK, Glasgow is well set up for its moment in the sporting spotlight and there is a palpable sense of anticipation in the air as the final preparations reach completion.

Art

Even if the main purpose of your visit is the Games, you should still have plenty of time to explore the best of everything else that Glasgow has to offer. Experience the sharp contrast of the city's art with a visit to view both the ancient treasures housed within the impressive Hunterian Museum and the contemporary masterpieces exhibited in the Gallery of Modern Art.

Green Spaces

Glasgow translates from the Gaelic as 'dear green place', and correspondingly contains many green open spaces including the famous Botanic Gardens. Outside the city there are a multitude of impressive country parks and historic buildings to visit.

Shopping

If retail therapy is your choice, you will surely find yourself in paradise. Glasgow is renowned as the best shopping destination in the UK outside of London, and has several main shopping areas – the most famous of which are probably Sauchiehall and Argyle Street plus several dedicated malls. Catering for all tastes from high-end designer to quirky vintage, Glasgow has something for everyone. If you are prepared to travel a little further, the giant shopping centre at Braehead, around half an hour away, will fulfil the needs of the most ardent shopper.

Accommodation

Glasgow offers everything the modern traveller could possibly ask for. Whether you are looking for decent budget accommodation or top end luxury, you will certainly not be disappointed. It's worth shopping around for the best deal even at this stage there are bargains to be found. Bear in mind that many hotels will have been block booked, and may still release rooms as the games approach. If you set your heart on a particular hotel, it's well worth calling them to see if this is the case.

Scotland can rightly boast an extremely efficient transport network, so if cost is a factor you could choose to stay a fair way outside the city and easily travel in for the games. There is a whole range of fabulous destinations within an hour's commute of the city that could give you a whole new experience of Scotland. From the wild beauty of Loch Lomond to the beautiful Ayrshire coast, or across the water to the Kingdom of Fife, there is a location for every taste.

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