It’s easy to put “London” and “sports” in the same sentence and only think of the city’s two turns as host of the Olympic Games. But London has its fair share of sporty sights outside the Olympic Village—and with its longstanding history of clubs and leagues, it boasts a vibrant sports scene that’s worth checking out. Here’s our list of athletic experiences any London-bound sports fan would love.
Have a sweet treat at Wimbledon
This one is obvious, but where else can you catch some of tennis’ biggest stars while eating strawberries and cream, the famed dish of the tournament? It’s the only tennis tournament in the world that features grass courts, which go through a rigorous process to make sure they are ready for play.
Practice your “GOOOOAL” chant at a football game
London is famous for its football clubs (that’s “soccer” here in the United States), and the Chelsea and Arsenal teams are two of the best. Arsenal is heralded as the first professional football club in London, while Chelsea is the first London club to win the UEFA Champions League in 2012.
Take your chances at the Ascot Racecourse
From the Royal Ascot to Champions Day, the Ascot Racehorse draws 500,000 visitors each year, and produces some of the richest racing days in the world. It’s one of the top racehorses in the United Kingdom and is closely associated with the British Royal Family—it’s only six miles from Windsor Castle, after all.
See cricket where it all began
With cricket’s history dating back to 16th-century Tudor England, Lord’s is often referred to as the “home of cricket,” as it houses the world-famous Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Founded in 1787, the most important role of MCC is its custodianship of the Laws of Cricket—the code that all cricket players and clubs must adhere to—and to which they have a World copyright.
Visit the largest rugby stadium in the world
The largest stadium in the world devoted to rugby, Twickenham is also the second-largest stadium in London. What was once a humble cabbage patch, the stadium now holds up to 82,000 spectators for both traditional rugby games and large-scale musical acts.
Have you ever been to a sporting event abroad? What are your favorite international sports?