As well as being the UK capital and a thriving hub of business and culture, London has a number of world-class sporting venues that have played host to some of the most prestigious events in the world. In summer 2012, London held the Olympic Games and the stadiums across the city old and new saw some incredible feats of sporting achievement watched by spectators in the city and across the globe.
The stadiums within the city can host a whole range of sporting spectacles from football, the country’s national sport, through to track and field events more at home on the Olympic programme. Including some household names, London’s stadiums hold some of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world.
The home of British football
Located in North West London, Wembley Stadium is thought of across the country as the spiritual home of the British national sport. Playing host to decisive league and cup final games from across the spectrum, the stadium has been visited by some of the most prestigious clubs as well as many an upstart who wish to challenge the dominant clubs for their place in footballing history.
The current stadium is a reworking of the original, which stood on the site from 1923 to 2002 when it was demolished to make way for the impressive new structure with its soaring arches that replaced the former stadium’s iconic twin towers. During the reconstruction, all its usual fixtures were moved to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, over the Severn in Wales.
The stadium is not just a venue for sporting events. During its short life, it’s seen some huge music spectacles as well as sports ones. It offers the greatest capacity of any venue in the city for music and with big hitters such as Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Williams, there’s always something big going on.
Not exactly a stadium
The second most famous sporting venue in the UK is located in South West London and sees a huge amount of international attention in the summer each year. The All England Lawn Tennis Club, better known to most people as Wimbledon, hosts the British Open Tennis Championships that sees the best of the best in international tennis battle it out on the courts for a £1 million prize.
The tennis club sits on undulating ground and has at its heart the now-famous “Henman Hill,” which grew popular with people hoping to see the first ever British Men’s Wimbledon Champion since 1909. The crowds still haven’t seen a Brit win the final, but did have the chance to see Andy Murray secure the Olympic Men’s title last year during London 2012, causing much jubilation on what is now referred to by some as “Murray Mound.”
The home of British cricket can be found in North London at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The site of many an historic victory of England’s best men in white, the ground has most recently seen a smashing victory of the English side over the visiting Indian team in 2011, where the four-match series was won decisively 4-0 by England.
The test matches played at the ground are ticketed on a ballot basis, which means that anyone can get tickets provided they apply and are successfully drawn from the hat. There can be few more quintessentially English ways to spend an afternoon than listening to the sound of leather on willow with a pint of ale in the summer sunshine.
London is the home of several high-profile sporting venues that offer a full programme of entertainment throughout the year. Boasting names that are iconic around the world, followers of tennis, football and cricket will find something of interest to them in the city.