Are you new to London? Perhaps you are starting a career, studying at one the many universities and colleges in this great city, or simply following family and friends on their life path. Whatever your reason for arriving in London, if you are a sports fan, feel reassured that you could not be in a better place.
Londoners take their sport very seriously. Famous across the globe for a memorable Olympics in 2012, its iconic stadiums and many famous premiership football teams, London could quite accurately be re-branded the capital city of sport.
So what can sports fans see and do when living in London?
If you are the type who prefers kicking a soccer ball around yourself, rather than watching from the touchline, London provides opportunities for five a side tournaments on a social level. These well managed leagues are very popular as they are efficiently run, good value and require minimum organisational input from team members in return for maximum fun.
One of the leagues with the best reputation for player satisfaction is www.5aside.org who stage matches in venues all over the capital. All the fixtures are well organised, played on quality 3G rubber crumb or blue astroturf pitches with fully FA qualified referees, mostly floodlit and balls and bibs all supplied. If you are a player short, they’ll even help with finding a stand in. Matches are usually played in the evenings after work but there are some Sunday fixtures, too. For newbie footie fans in London 5 Aside.org could be the answer to kicking off an active social and sporting life in the city. Wherever is close to you, whether it’s Battersea, Angel, Chelsea, Brixton, Finsbury Park – go ahead and have a kick about with like minded footie fans. If you work in the Canary Wharf, Marylebone or Shoreditch areas, there are new venues coming on stream soon – ideal for a bit of fun and relaxation after a day at the office.
If your sporting aspirations involve more spectating than participation, London has plenty to offer. Continuing the football theme, three of the leading premiership teams, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs all have very good tours around their modern facilities. For gaining an insight into the everyday running of a club and seeing familiar scenes from TV coverage up close, these tours make fascinating viewing. Going behind the scenes to check out the team baths and changing rooms and marvelling at the gleaming silverware from past triumphs – it’s all perfectly pitched for supreme soccer nerds.
Let’s move on from football to some of the other sporting delights London provides. Remember back in 2012, the wonderful Olympics that London staged? Well the great sporting spirit of the games lives on today at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Whether it’s the massive stadium, The Aquatics Centre, the velodrome or the famous ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture you are checking out, it’s all waiting to be explored. See where so many sporting highlights occurred back in 2012 and re-live those moments on the spot.
The United Kingdom is a great rugby nation and although recently it hasn’t shone quite so brightly in competitions, the great iconic stadium at Twickenham continues to be the proud home of this warrior sport. Those interested in rugby, past and present can enjoy tours around the stadium and World Rugby Museum. See the England changing room up close and even take a peek at The Royal Box!
There’s nothing more quintessentially British than watching a cricket match on a summer’s day at Lords. The famous cricket ground at Marylebone has seen a lot of excitement throughout its long history and if you take the tour you can see the Grade II listed Pavilion, the famous Long Room, the iconic Ashes Urn, Dressing Rooms, The Royal Charter and The MCC Museum. It’s a charming venue with plenty of things to keep the cricket crazy contented.
Each summer, the grass courts at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club echo to the sound of racket on ball. Home of the famous tennis tournament, the visitor tours at Wimbledon allow you to tour the grounds, see dressing rooms and other restricted areas not normally in view of the public. The on site museum has interactive exhibits and takes you through the history of the sport from its medieval origins, right through to the modern sport it has become with players of incredible physical prowess and athletic skill.
Isn’t it great to know that London is so generous with its sporting goodies? Newcomers to this amazing city will have no shortage of things to do, places to visit, matches to play and watch – it truly is a sports lovers paradise.