Ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, we explore the highlights in each of the host cities and venues.
Wednesday, September 23: France v Romania
Thursday, September 24: New Zealand v Namibia
Sunday, October 4: Ireland v Italy
Wednesday, October 7: South Africa v United States
Friday, October 30: Bronze final TBC
Friday, September 18: England v Fiji
Saturday, September 19: France v Italy
Saturday, September 26: England v Wales
Saturday, October 3: England v Australia
Saturday, October 10: Australia v Wales
Saturday, October 17: Quarter-final TBC
Sunday, October 18: Quarter-final TBC
Saturday, October 24: Semi-final TBC
Sunday, October 25: Semi-final TBC
Saturday, October 31: Final TBC
Sunday, September 20: New Zealand v Argentina
Sunday, September 27: Ireland v Romania
One of the world’s most iconic cities certainly has a lot to offer, and your first stop has to be Embankment, where you can stroll along the River Thames on a short walk to Big Ben. Nip across the bridge to ride the London Eye, which is well worth paying for – and you're best to book tickets in advance. Jump on a Clipper instead of paying for a boat tour and take the river bus down the Thames, as you'll see London Bridge and the Tower of London. Use Big Ben as your focal point, as from there you can walk to Buckingham Palace, then head through Hyde Park to Portobello Road's thriving market and cafe life. Save Soho for the nightlife, but it's well worth visiting Camden Market and Camden Lock, which is full of live music, decent pubs, great stalls and some mouthwatering food stands.
Where and what to eat:
Leicester Square in the heart of London is the perfect place to soak up the capital’s famous feel with a spot of food. It boasts an endless amount of restaurants for whatever your taste buds require, with mainstream outlets such as Bella Italia to more traditional English pub grub at the Scoff and Banter all-day eatery. Covent Garden will also be buzzing with street entertainers and rugby fans, and there's a host of bars and restaurants to choose from.
If it is Wembley Stadium you are heading to, look no further than the Blue Room bar for a pre-match beverage. With a host of craft ales and meal options, it is ideally located with a short five-minute walk before the famous arch is in sight.
The Sussex Arms should be your destination before heading into Twickenham to soak up the rugby action and with a number of draft ales, cocktails and mixers available where better to stop for a pre-match drink or two just a five-minute walk from the stadium.
The Cow is the perfect stop off point before heading along to the Olympic Stadium and once you arrive it is easy to see why. With breathtaking views of the Olympic park, The Cow is a modern gastro-pub with a more relaxed feel with a number of sofas to kick back and relax. The beer choice is second to none with a wide variety of craft ales, beers, lagers and wines to take your fancy.
To continue the winning celebrations long into the night there is no better place to be than Covent Garden. With a number of bars and pubs on offer a particular highlight is the Belushi’s sports bar that boasts a number of pool tables and TV screens across the venue. If you're still going strong, get yourself to Soho where you can party into the early hours – and perhaps see the sunset!
Primarily built for London 2012, the all-seater stadium has been transformed into a year-round multi-use venue that sits in the heart of east London. The stadium is reopening for a short period of time to host five matches during the Rugby World Cup but will permanently open when new tenants West Ham United make it their new home next year. The venue will also be used as the national competition centre for UK Athletics from 2016, leaving a legacy from the Olympic games of 2012.
With nine tube and train links, several bus and coach stops it is a fairly easy venue to access. The nearest train and tube stations are Stratford, Stratford International, Hackney Wick, Pudding Mill and Leyton. All stations are accessible from all of London’s main train stations but plan ahead with delays inevitable!
Although the 54,000-seater stadium has seen little sporting action since the London Olympics in 2012, the atmosphere that was created by the British public night after night means that the venue will be able to replicate the roar and gaps when the World Cup visits in September.
A venue that is etched into rugby history, Twickenham is the home of English rugby union and at a capacity of 81,605 is the biggest dedicated rugby venue in the world. It has previously hosted World Cup matches in 1991 and 1999. The venue will stage the tournament's showpiece on October 31 and few could argue against the stadium being the perfect setting to bring down the curtain on the World Cup.
The easiest route to the ground is via the train/tube station. The Twickenham stop is just a short walk from where you exit the train and there are a number of bus shuttle services that a provided for those who desire.
An atmosphere that needs no introduction, crowds have roared England to victory on many occasions and are often dubbed as that extra man on the field. With a capacity of 81,605 it feels every bit as intimidating as it sounds for visiting teams and when the national anthems are belted out at full volume, the hairs on the back of your neck are guaranteed to stand up.
The home of English football, Wembley has a rich sporting history and the new all-seater stadium has hosted everything from American Football to Motocross. The stadium boasts state-of-the-art facilities and is one of the best modern venues in the world. The Wembley arch will welcome the Rugby World Cup twice over the tournament and will attract a large crowd with current Webb Ellis Cup holders New Zealand visiting the stadium on September 20.
There are three train/tube stations that allow access to Wembley Stadium – Wembley Park Station, Wembley Stadium station and Wembley Central station. The services are frequent along all lines on match day ensuring you won’t miss any of the World Cup action. There are a number of bus services that also stop alongside Wembley Way if you desire.
The venue can hold a staggering 90,000 people and, although the stands are set back from the pitch, the stadium boasts an impressive atmosphere that reeks of tradition whenever the England football team play – something that will surely be replicated when the All Blacks come to town.