The national stadium of the England football team, Wembley Stadium was re-opened in 2007 after a full rebuild to the tune of £757 million. The second largest stadium in Europe, Wembley took over three years to build and is located on the site of the previous 1923 Wembley Stadium, often referred to as 'The Twin Towers' or Empire Stadium, which was demolished in 2003. The much-loved old stadium played host to some incredible games during its 70-year life, starting with the infamous 'White Horse' FA Cup Final in 1923 when over 240,000 spectators crammed their way in to watch Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United 2-0. The famous twin towers have been replaced with the new stadium's trademark soaring 134m-high arch - the longest single span roof structure in the world - which is visible from all over London. Early teething problems with the standard of the pitch meant the turf had to be relayed 10 times in the first three years. As well as being the national home of the England football team and hosting the latter stages of various domestic club football competitions (such as the FA Cup Cup, Community Shield and Championship/League play-offs), Wembley Stadium also hosts the Rugby League Challenge Cup final and the annual NFL International Series game. In 2011, Wembley held the UEFA Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United. The Stadium also hosts the 2013 Champions League final. Outside the sporting world, Wembley is also a large venue for top music acts, and has played host to the likes of Take That, Muse, Oasis, U2 and Coldplay.
Sport Venues in London
Britain's largest stadium and venue for the 2011 and 2013 Champions League finals
Wembley, London, HA9 0WS
Tube: Wembley Park Station
Atmospheric home of English rugby is London's second biggest stadium with a capacity of 82,000
Rugby Road, Twickenham, London, TW1 1DZ
Tube: Hounslow East Station
The home of English rugby at Twickenham is England's second largest stadium (after Wembley Stadium), with steeply banked stands that create an impressive roar when an international match is in progress. While rugby remains very much a second-choice sport in the rest of southern England, the stadium has had a profound effect on the whole surrounding area: Twickenham is the only part of London where the pubs will show rugby matches in preference to football, and where you're far more likely to hear Swing Low, Sweet Chariot than any football club songs. As well as all of England's home games - including Six Nations matches - the 82,000-capacity Twickers hosts the World Series Sevens, the Aviva Premiership final, the LV Cup and Heineken Cup matches, rugby league's Challenge Cup final, Harlequins' annual Big Game on the last Saturday of December and the majority of Barbarians international matches. Twickenham Stadium has also hosted the likes of U2, The Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi - while the venue has also been used annually for over 50 years to host, oddly enough, Jehovah's Witnesses conventions.
The home of English cricket with a stunning Victorian pavilion and futuristic media centre
Lords Cricket Ground St. Johns Wood Road, St John's Wood, London, NW8 8QN
Tube: St John's Wood Station
This revered ancient cricket ground has been the site of many a historic victory and many more England batting collapses. While Lord's Cricket Ground has long been seen as the "home of cricket" and the game's spiritual headquarters, its importance does not lie merely in its historic past. It hosts many important matches, including a Test match for every international tour, and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the MCC Museum. There is also an excellent guided tour, which explores the history of the ground and the game. It is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club whose teams play about 500 games a year and who take their role as guardian of the laws and spirit of cricket very seriously. Lord's Test matches are amongst the most sought-after for tickets due to the prestige of the location - an Ashes (England v Australia) Test match at Lord's is thought to be just about the biggest game in cricket. The ground has a capacity of 28,000 and is a wonderful blend of the ancient and the modern, with the resplendent Victorian-era Pavilion facing the award-winning and stylishly futuristic Media Centre. During the London 2012 Olympics, Lord's played host to the Olympic Archery competitions.
Home of the world-famous Wimbledon championships, the only Grand Slam tournament played on grass
Church Road, London, SW19 5AE
Tube: Wimbledon Park Station
The only Grand Slam tournament to be played on grass, Wimbledon is the favourite of many players and a highpoint of the tennis year. Held at the resplendent All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in south-west London since 1877, Wimbledon now no longer relies on good weather too: Centre Court's new retractable roof - unveiled in 2009 as part of a £100m renovation - means play can continue despite those very English early July showers. Grass is traditionally a very fast surface and produces thrilling games when the world's best clash. The leafy grounds of the All England Club contain 19 tournament courts, 16 other grass courts (which serve as competitors' practice courts during the championship) as well as five red shale courts, three Continental clay courts, one American clay court, and five indoor courts. Centre Court sits 15,000 spectators, No.1 Court 11,429, No.2 Court 4,000 and No.3 Court (formerly known as 'The Graveyard of Champions') 2,000. Other landmarks include the statue of Fred Perry - the last home player to win Wimbledon back in 1936 - and the grassy Aorangi terrace (known invariably as Henman Hill, Rusedski Ridge or Murray Mount) where hoards of fans gather to watch games on the outdoor big screen each year, in the hope that Britain's winless sequence will be bought to an end. There is also the award-winning Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and plenty of shops selling the tournament staples, such as glasses of Pimm's and bowls of strawberries and cream. The Olympic Tennis competition for London 2012 Summer Games were also held at the All England Club.
Home of Surrey County Cricket Club and the traditionally venue for the fifth and final Ashes Test
Harleyford Street, Kennington, London, SE11 5SS
Tube: Oval Station
Though it does not have quite the same kudos as Lord's, The Kia Oval (known so because of a sponsorship deal, but usually referred to simply as The Oval) is in many ways just as pleasant to watch a day's cricket. Test matches against the West Indies and teams from the Indian subcontinent are particularly atmospheric, with south London's large Caribean and Asian populations turning out in force to support their heroes. The Oval is often the venue of the last Test match of the English summer and has played host to many famous finishes to a series, not least England's historic final day Ashes win in 2005. It is also the home of Surrey County Cricket Club and supports a busy programme of fixtures throughout the summer. Believe it or not, but The Oval was first a football ground before giving away to cricket - and the first ever FA Cup Final was played there back in 1872. As such, The Oval is one of two sports ground (Bramall Lane in Sheffield being the other) to have staged both England Football and Cricket internationals, as well as FA Cup Finals. The 23,500-capacity stadium also holds an exhibition match for Australian Rules Football in October each year - and in 2005 drew a record Aussie Rules crowd of 18,884.
Multi-sports centre that plays host to the AEGON Championships tennis tournament
Palliser Road, West Kensington, Hammersmith, London, W14 9EQ
Tube: Baron's Court Station
Established in 1886 during the reign of Queen Victoria, the Queen's Club was the first multi-purpose sports complex to be built anywhere in the world. But as rugby, football and the like moved to large purpose-built stadiums, the Queen's Club came to focus increasingly on racquet sports and in particular tennis. Located in Baron's Court in west London, Queen's boasts 27 outdoor Lawn Tennis courts (of which 12 are arguably the finest grass courts in the world) and 10 indoor Lawn Tennis courts within its grounds, as well as a cluster of real tennis, rackets and squash courts, plus a gymnasium. The Queen's Club used to home of the Lawn Tennis Association until it relocated to Roehampton in 2007. Today the club still hosts the world-famous AEGON Championships (formerly Stella Artois Championships) in the second week of June. The AEGON Championships remains one of the six most prestigious grass competitions on the men's ATP Tour, attracting the biggest international stars of the men's game ahead of the grass-court Grand Slam event at Wimbledon two weeks later.
The state-of-the-art 60,365 capacity stadium has been Arsenal's home since 2006
75 Drayton Park, London, N5 1BU
After a century at nearby Highbury, Arsenal FC moved to the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium in 2006. The 60,365-capacity stadium - originally called Ashburton Grove before a 15-year sponsorship agreement was signed between the club and the Emirates airline - is a suitably slick home for London's best-supported (and historically most successful) football team. Shaking off a reputation for playing dull defensive football under George Graham in the 90s, Arsenal now vie with Spanish giants Barcelona to be the most attractive club team in world football. And yet, success has been elusive since Arsene Wenger's side left Highbury: the club are yet to win any silverware following a move that many claim has put Arsenal at a financial disadvantage to their rivals. Renowned for its flawless playing surface, the Emirates Stadium cost £470 million but has a reputation for the same tepid atmosphere that saw the Gunners' previous home labelled the 'Highbury Library'. In 2010, a clock was installed above the newly renamed Clock End of the Emirates in homage to the old, much-loved clock at Highbury in what was one of a number of measures to bring about the 'Arsenalisation' of the stadium. The Emirates has been used for music concerts - such as Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay - and it also has acted as a home-away-from-home for the Brazilian national football team's European friendly matches. The Emirates has been named as one of the stadiums that will host rugby matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Tickets are hard to come by for Arsenal's home games - and remain amongst the most expensive in the league, despite Arsenal's recent barren run. Arsenal's official shop - the Armoury - is located on the southern side of the stadium. The club also operate special Emirates Stadium tours - visit www.arsenal.com for details.
The second biggest tennis venue in the world also hosts NBA basketball
Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX
Tube: North Greenwich Station
The centrepiece of the redeveloped Millennium Dome is the O2 Arena, the first purpose-built indoor sports and live music arena in London. With a capacity of 23,000, it offers the rather soulless Wembley Arena some serious competition, with a constant stream of big name musical acts making it the most visited music arena in the world. But in recent years, The O2 has become an increasingly popular venue for sport - as emphasised during the London 2012 Olympics where the 'North Greenwich Arena' (as it was named) hosted the basketball finals as well as artistic gymnastics and trampolining. Since 2009, the O2 Arena has hosted the ATP World Tour tennis finals - and the contract was recently prolonged until 2015. As a tennis venue, it is second only to New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium for size. A variety of other sports events take place under the dome - including darts, polo, gymnastics, martial arts, wrestling and basketball from the NBA.
Cycling and marathon events usually finish in the shadow of Buckingham Palace
Westminster, St James's, London, SW1Y 5AH
Tube: St James's Park Station
Running from Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square, The Mall is a long red tarmac road which splits St James's Park on the south side from St James's Palace and Green Park on the north. Closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays, the tree-lined Mall offers one of London's most memorable views of the Queen's official residence. It is often decked out in Union Jack flags and is used in processions and marches - such as royal weddings and funerals. The annual London Marathon finishes on the western Buckingham Palace end of The Mall, while the London 2012 cycling road race events finished along the wide, tree-lined avenue, as well as the marathon events. In 2013, a new professional cycling race in and around London and the Surrey hills is set to finish on The Mall too.
Running, swimming and triathlon events are regularly held in Hyde Park over the summer
Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH
Tube: Knightsbridge Station
Technically two different parks, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are in practical terms one huge, merging expanse. The 'split' dates back to 1728 when Queen Caroline, wife of George II, took almost 300 acres from Hyde Park to form Kensington Gardens. The 350 acres that remained has become one of London's best-loved parks. Almost every kind of outdoor pursuit takes place within its lush green landscape, including horse riding, rollerblading, bowls, putting and tennis, while informal games of cricket, rounders, football, touch rugby and frisbee spring up on the area to the south of the park known as The Sports Field. During the London 2012 Olympics, Hyde Park hosted the triathlon events as well as the marathon swimming in the boating lake. Every year, numerous major sporting events take in the park - including the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon.
Events at Hyde Park
20th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016 - Various Times | Peak prices £14.50 (Adults), £9.50 (Children), £38 (Family), £13.50 (Concs), £35 (Ice guide) | Off peak £10.50 (Adults), £8.50 (Children), £34 (Family), £9.50 (Concs), £35 (Ice guide)
Don your skates and glide around the glittering ice rink set within the hugely popular Hyde Park Winter Wonderland which seems to get bigger and busier every year. The UK's largest outdoor Ice Rink ...more
20th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016 | Free entry
Throughout late November and December a large area of Hyde Park near Hyde Park Corner is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, complete with fairground rides, giant wheel, circus, Christmas market, food ...more
The closest racecourse to London hosts the prestigious King George VI Chase meet on Boxing Day
Staines Road East, Sunbury-on-Thames, London, TW16 5AQ
The closest racecourse to London (just 40 minutes from Waterloo by train), Kempton Park has a very different atmosphere to the more rural courses with DJs and discos to keep the crowds entertained, cheap floodlit evening races to attract working punters on weekdays and no dress code beyond a vague adherence to respectability. The most famous races are held during the Christmas Festival on 26th and 27th December, including the King George VI Chase, which was won four times by Desert Orchid. There are around fifty race-days a year, many of them clustered in April and September. Kempton Park is now floodlit so you can enjoy a race as the sun goes down. Grab a pint, place a bet and cheer on your horse from the sidelines, gripping that lucky ticket tight, in case she comes home! A day at the races is a brilliant release from the usual humdrum activities. Between March and April the fixture list is chock-a-block with over 50 races. If you've got kids, you should try one of the family days with a creche and free activities for the little ones.
Huge range of indoor sporting events are held every year in the former 1948 Olympic swimming venue
Arena Square, Engineers Way, London, HA9 0DH
Tube: Wembley Park Station
Now primarily a venue for live music and comedy acts, Wembley Arena is also a major indoor sports venue, hosting the annual Masters Snooker tournament, boxing, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, darts, netball, basketball, five-a-side football, wrestling and even cage fighting. The Arena, which was built in 1934, originally housed a swimming pool, which was used during the 1948 Summer Olympics. In London 2012, London's second largest indoor arena was used for the badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events. A versatile space, Wembley Arena has also been used for the filming of popular TV shows The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.
Events at SSE Arena, Wembley
Thursday 11th and Friday 12th February 2016 | £40.20-£73.80 (plus booking fee)
The glitzy BBC television show is brought to life on stages around the country once again in 2016, returning for its ninth year. Directed by judge Craig Revel Horwood, the Strictly ...more
Major swimming and athletics venue, soon to be redeveloped as part of the Olympic legacy plan
Ledrington Road, Anerley Hill, London, SE19 2BB
Tube: Denmark Hill Station
Situated in 200 acres of beautiful parkland in south-east London, just 10 miles from the city centre, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre plays host to international athletics and swimming events. The Crystal Palace Athletics Stadium has a capacity of 15,500, which can be increased to 24,000 with temporary seating, and since 1999 has hosted the London Grand Prix annual athletics meet. The sports centre attached to the stadium also offers specialist facilities to London's Olympians-in-training, as well as indoor sports including a 50m swimming pool, squash, basketball, korfball, 5-A Side and 11-A Side, volleyball, trampolining, karate, climbing, aerobics, weight training, netball, hockey, badminton and gymnastics. With the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, the future of the Crystal Palace Athletics Stadium is up in the air. Responsibility for the Sports Centre has been transferred to the London Development Agency as part of the Olympic bid. One of the proposed plans is for Crystal Palace FC to rebuilt the stadium as a 25,000-seater football-only stadium without a running track. An earlier plan was for north London football club Tottenham Hotspur to redevelop the existing athletics stadium as part of their pledge in taking over the Olympic Stadium in Stratford - but with West Ham United winning the bid, this now looks unlikely.
30th November 2015
IN THIS ARTICLE
Lord's Cricket Ground
Wimbledon: The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
The Oval Cricket Ground
The Queen's Club
The O2 Arena
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
Top London Venues
London Museums and Galleries
London Entertainment Venues
Historic Houses in London
Sport Venues in London
London Exhibition Centres
Best Spas in London
Dance Venues in London
London Zoos and City Farms
Best London Comedy Clubs
Best Luxury Cinemas in London
London Museums: Late Openings
- London Museums and Galleries
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