January 16

London’s Best Sports Fan Tours

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London is full of sights for tourists, both historic and modern, and when it comes to sports venues it does not disappoint. At Go Mammoth we are sports mad, so I thought I’d round up our favourite sporting venues that offer fan tours:

Wimbledon (The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club)

This venue is home to the only Grand Slam event in tennis played on grass courts, the Wimbledon Championships, otherwise simply known as Wimbledon. It includes nineteen tournament courts in use from May through September, as well as eight clay courts, two acrylic courts, and a number of indoor courts. The largest court, Centre Court, seats a total of 15,000 spectators. The Old No. 2 Court, now renumbered as No.3 Court, was once known as The Graveyard of Champions because of the number of former champions who lost there.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, first opened in 1977, is the largest museum in the world dedicated to tennis. Guided tours are offered of the venue and museum, including visits to Court No.1 and Centre Court, the press room, and the players’ restaurant and terrace. Audio guides are available in eight widely-spoken languages. The guided tours are 90 minutes long.

Lords Cricket Ground & Museum

Considered the Home of Cricket, the Lords Cricket Ground and Museum has a crowd capacity of 28,000 and hosted archery competition during the 1912 Olympics. Test matches, the longest games in the sport, have been played here for more than a hundred years; the grounds first opened in 1814. The local cricket club, Marylebone Cricket Club, whose home the grounds have been since its inauguration, plays close to 500 games a year at the venue.

Lords Cricket Ground is home of the MCC Museum, the oldest sports museum in the world. The museum contains a celebrated collection of cricket memorabilia with many pieces dating back to the founding of the sport. The museum began collecting artifacts for display in 1864. It also highlights more recent developments, like the Indian Premier League. Tours of the venue include an expert-guided tour, lasting about 100 minutes. Three specialty tours are also available: educational group tours, architectural tours, and art tours.

The Henley River & Rowing Museum

The River and Rowing Museum, located in Henley-on-Thames, is dedicated to several interrelated topics, including the sport of rowing, the river Thames, local history, and the classic book The Wind in the Willows. Schwarzenbach International Rowing Gallery is the portion of the museum that focuses on the sport. A relatively new museum, it first open its doors in November 1998; the Rowing Gallery was refurbished in 2006. The Times recognized the museum as one of the top fifty in the world.

If requested in advance, the River and Rowing Museum can arrange for river tours by boat for groups of thirty or more. The museum also offers group packages and outings and family-friend museum tours with backpacks for the kids, who may especially enjoy The Wind in the Willows Gallery.

Twickenham Stadium & Museum of Rugby

Known as the Home of English rugby, Twickenham is second largest stadium in the country, seating 82,000 spectators. The Museum of Rugby covers not just the English game, but rugby all over the world. The museum has unique artifacts from the entirety of the sport’s history, including a jersey from an 1871 international match between Scotland and England. The four-times daily tours of the Twickenham, available every day but Monday, includes the Royal Box, hospitality suites, medical area, players’ tunnel, and an awe-inspiring view of the stadium from the top of the stands. The tour also features a walk around the pitch.

Wembley Stadium

The largest stadium in England, with a capacity of 90,000, Wembley hosts football (soccer) games as well as rugby league and union matches, not to mention the one or two games of the NFL International Series played here. Wembley was a venue during the 1948 Olympic Games and also hosted England’s storied World Cup victory in 1966. That original stadium was demolished in 2003; however, a newer football stadium, completed in 2007, was built at the same location.

The Stadium Tour at Wembley offers a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the world’s newest and most modern stadium venues. The tour showcases memorabilia from the Olympics and World Cup hosted here. The recently added VIP Access All Areas Tour includes areas of Wembley not seen on the 75-minute regular tour and includes a private guide.

Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was constructed for the 2012 Summer Olympics, making it one of the newest additions to the list. Olympic Park is the largest urban park established in Europe in the last 150 years. The stadium remains in use following the games, hosting a wide variety of sporting events, including football, London Grand Prix, and the upcoming 2017 World Athletics Championships.

Beginning in 2013, guided walking tours of the park are available on most Thursdays and Saturdays, plus extra tours during holidays. The tour covers the International Broadcast Centre, the Copper Box, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, and other areas. Private tours can be arranged for tour groups of fifteen or more people. More than 70,000 people have gone on the walking tour since its inception.

 

<p>Patrick Johnson works for Go Mammoth, a sports and social club aiming to make fitness fun. When he isn’t playing sport, Patrick can mainly be found… watching sport.</p>


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