I don’t know about you, but I think that here in the UK we have some of the most iconic sporting venues in the world.
If you are into football, there are of course Wembley and the other national stadiums, Scotland’s Hampden Park, Wales’ Millennium Stadium and Windsor Park in Northern Ireland. While each has its own distinct atmosphere, all are easy to get to by plane, train or car. Even though the stadia may be relatively new or have undergone major restoration and expansion to meet the needs of the modern supporter and health and safety regulations, they still manage to retain echoes of their illustrious predecessors.
Many of the country’s leading football teams play in equally iconic venues; Old Trafford, home to Manchester United and Liverpool FC’s Anfield being two prime examples. Fans from all over the world descend on these grounds every day to take the guided tours. Celtic Park in Glasgow was redeveloped in the 1990s, but the club’s fans are still recognised as being some of the most fervent and dedicated to be found anywhere. As with the national stadia, all these club grounds have first-class links to the motorway network and public transport systems.
Mention tennis to anyone, wherever in the world you may be, and I can almost guarantee they will agree that Wimbledon hosts the most prestigious tournament on the planet. This is the one event on the international tour that even hardened professional players want to win. Located in southwest London, getting to and from the venue is easy, thanks to the city’s underground network.
If excitement and atmosphere are what you are looking for then Rugby Union is the game for you. Twickenham is the home of English rugby and there could be no better place to be if the team is taking on the likes of Scotland, Wales, France, South Africa, New Zealand or Australia. The fans may be noisy, but you and your kids, if you have any, are sure to have a great family day out. Wales play all their home games at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Scotland is based at Murrayfield in Edinburgh and Ireland call Dublin’s Aviva Stadium home. Some of these stadia are shared with their footballing cousins, while others, perhaps most notably Twickenham, are unashamedly dedicated almost exclusively to rugby.
Long-time home to the British F1 Grand Prix, Silverstone, which is located near Towcester in Northamptonshire, has undergone a major rebuilding programme in recent years and is now amongst the best tracks on the Grand Prix calendar. It is also a favourite with the drivers, being rated alongside other iconic circuits such as Monaco, Monza in Italy and Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. The Grand Prix takes place every July and is usually a sell-out, with over 100,000 fans attending on race day alone. A whole host of other events take place throughout the summer, including the British Motorcycle Grand Prix and a world championship sports car race featuring Le Mans type racers.
St. Andrew’s in Scotland is the undisputed home of golf, though Wales and England also have their fair share of excellent courses, for example, Royal St. David’s in North Wales, Royal Liverpool, on the Wirral near Hoylake and Royal Birkdale, near Southport. Scotland boasts several other famous courses, such as Muirfield, Carnoustie, Turnberrry and Royal Troon. Next year’s Open is due to be contested over the Old Course at St. Andrew’s, so check out David Rycott on Facebook, he’s sure to have a comment or two on the subject.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets for events at all the locations mentioned are easy to find on the Internet, either directly from the venue or from one of the major ticket agencies. However, as many sell out within a few hours of going on sale I suggest you add the relevant sites to your favourites list or sign-up for reminders from the various ticket agencies.
No matter what your sport there is sure to be a great venue not too far from home. Why not try something different; if you are a football fan get yourself tickets for a day out at the 2015 Open at St. Andrew’s? It’s sure to make a change from watching your favourite team lose again.
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