The British are passionate about their sport, and the country is rightly famous for giving many of them to the world. Every year, thousands of tourists make their way to the UK to either watch or play their favorite sports, so if you’ve ever wondered where to find the finest venues, here are ten that are well worth a visit.
Tennis – Wimbledon
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, better known as Wimbledon, is located in a suburb of south-west London. There is a tennis museum there, but casual visitors are not able to play on the legendary courts because it’s a private members club. During the Wimbledon Fortnight in the summer, the club comes alive, and if you manage to get tickets for a top match you should consider yourself very fortunate indeed.
Golf – St Andrews
The world famous Old Course, generally considered to the most famous golfing venue on the planet, is located in the heart of the city of St Andrews, on the eastern coast of Scotland in the county of Fife. Unusually for most sporting citadels, you stand a chance of actually playing on the hallowed links, and therefore to follow in the footsteps of the game’s greatest players.
Football – Wembley Stadium
Football is the most popular spectacular sport in Britain, and there are several great stadiums to consider visiting, such as Hampden Park (Glasgow), Old Trafford (Manchester) and Anfield (Liverpool). Wembley Stadium, in north-west London, is the home of England’s national team, and it’s a spectacular arena that has to be seen to be believed. Opened in 2007, it holds up to 90,000 seated spectators.
Cricket – Lord’s
One of the most historic and atmospheric of all sporting venues, Lord’s Cricket Ground is something of a national institution in England. It’s to be found in St John’s Wood, an attractive suburb of north-west London, and it has been there for almost two centuries. Lord’s is used every year for Test matches and major cup finals, and is the regular home ground for Middlesex County Cricket Club.
Rugby Union – Twickenham
To the west of London you’ll find the most famous rugby union ground in the world. Twickenham Stadium, affectionately known as the Cabbage Patch or Twickers, is a spectacular arena that has been in situ since 1909. If you’re a fan of the game, you should do everything possible to get a ticket for a match. If you can’t manage it, at least make sure that you visit the rugby museum that’s located there.
Horse racing – Aintree
There are a great number of racecourses in the UK that attract racing fans from all over the world. They include Epsom, home of the Derby, and Cheltenham, which plays host to a superb festival of racing every year. For sheer spectacle, however, nothing beats the Grand National race at Aintree. This legendary course is located on the northern side of Liverpool, and the April race attracts huge numbers of spectators.
Bowls – Worthing
A slow-paced but exciting and highly skilful game, Bowls has been popular in the UK for many years. The Sussex town of Worthing, which is on England’s southern coast, is regarded as the home of the game in Britain, and has hosted the national championship for more than a quarter of a century. The sport is a regular on the itinerary of the Commonwealth Games.
Sailing – Cowes
As you might expect from an island nation, there are several top sailing venues in the UK, but few of them can compete with Cowes on the Isle of Wight, especially during the spectacular Cowes Week. The town in located on the northern shores of the island which is off the south coast of England. Every year, more than 8,000 competitors take part in the races, providing a highly impressive backdrop for participants and spectators alike.
Rugby league – Wigan
The game of rugby league has a long and rich history in Britain, in particular in the northern towns and cities of England. There are several venues which are worthy of a visit, but the DW Stadium, home of the Wigan Warriors, is a good choice. The side are the most successful in the history of the English game, having won 19 Championships in their long prestigious history.
Athletics – Crystal Palace
The performances of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and the rest of Team GB’s athletes at the 2012 Olympics showed just how strong the nation’s track and field specialists are. If you’re in Britain during the summer months, you may want to take in an athletics meeting during your stay, and the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace is the best option. It’s found in south London, and it has a standard capacity of 16,000, although this is sometimes increased with the addition of temporary seating.