One of the world’s greatest hubs for sporting events, London boasts the international 'home' of cricket, a world-famous football (soccer) stadium and venue of a prestigious tennis tournament. If you can’t get to see a match, take a behind-the-scenes tour or visit the museums to get a glimpse of the city's sporting glory.
The venue’s famous twin towers dating back to 1923 have gone, replaced by a slick archway when the ground was rebuilt in 2007. But Wembley still retains decades of footballing heritage, and still used for all England’s international matches, plus domestic cup finals. The next international is England vs Lithuania (27 March) in a qualifier for the Euro 2016. But throughout the year you can take a stadium tour to see the player’s tunnel, England’s changing rooms and the Royal Box.
Twickenham Stadium & World Rugby Museum
The home of English rugby union, Twickenham also boasts the world’s largest purpose-built rugby museum—in fact there are over 25,000 exhibits here. See international trophies dating back to 1871, photographs and ephemera. And, for those interested trying their hand (or foot) at the game, you can even practice your kicking skills like the famous England player, Jonny Wilkinson. This one of the venues of the 2015 Rugby World Cup—it hosts ten games including the final on 31 October — but long before that you can take a stadium tour to get behind the scenes of those encounters!
Lords Cricket Ground
For those in the US, the game of cricket doesn’t really translate. But at the home of the quintessentially English game, you can not only watch the summer sport in all its white-clad glory, but also visit the museum and take a tour. There are some surprises in store for the aficionado and novice alike. Who would have thought, for example, that the iconic Ashes urn is just a few inches high—yet it's the most sought-after trophy in world cricket?
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
This is the venue where Federer, McEnroe, Borg, Navratilova and many other tennis greats won the greatest grass court tournament. The hallowed turf of Wimbledon's centre court, every June to July, sees one of London's summer's greatest sporting events: the Wimbledon Championships. Take a tour of the venue, plus the world’s largest tennis museum to see a history of tennis, fashions over the decades, plus silver trophies and memorabilia dating back to 1555. And as an extra treat, your ‘virtual’ guide is John ‘Mac the Mouth’ McEnroe himself!
Arsenal Football Club left their longstanding home of Highbury, in North London, and moved less than half a mile away to the high-tech Emirates Stadium. Many fans were disgruntled at leaving their spiritual home, but there’s no doubt that the 60,000+ capacity ground is a sight to behold. Take a self guided tour to see the immense stadium which, incredibly, has no pillars. Your audio guide is narrated by a local hero: ex Arsenal and England goalkeeper Bob Wilson.
‘The Blues’ are currently riding high in the English Premier League, and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea boys are touted to win three trophies this year (according to its fans). Based in West London, see the glittering trophy cabinet in a fully guided one-hour stadium tour, which also takes you to the dressing rooms and press room.
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