The Year in 2014 – Fun & Games

If you are a sports fan, 2014 has something to offer everyone. To jump start the year is the Sochi Winter Olympics from 7-23 February – where athletes will ski, skate, shlalom and sweep for gold.

For the culture vultures, Russia is pulling out the stops in 2014 with the UK-Russia Year of Culture, a packed programme of 250 events, from the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra to avant garde artist Malevich at the Tate Modern. Our top tip will be an exhibition of the Russian Space Programme at the Science Museum in October – a stunning collection of space suits, capsules and rockets that have never been seen outside Russia.

As summer swings around, all eyes will turn to Brazil, which is staging the Football World Cup from 12 June. Expect a carnival atmosphere and euphoria if the hosts knock Spain off their pedestal.

Scotland will show what it’s made of when Glasgow takes the spotlight from 23 July to 3 August for the XX Commonwealth Games – where 53 nations will compete in a colourful festival of sport.

Riga meanwhile will host 90,000 choristers in the World Choir Games from 9-19 July as part of its imaginative European Capital of Culture programme. Latvia is a nation of singers so naturally their programme features lots of opera – particularly Wagner, who directed opera in the city. Midsummer night will be celebrated with a huge party, while the spellbinding Staro Riga light show will illuminate the dark winter skies.

Twinning Riga as Capital of Culture is Umea in Sweden, the Northern most capital of culture and home to Sweden’s hard rock. A university town, it will be showcasing its wired youth culture.