RWC Venue Guide: Birmingham

Date published: August 12 2015

Ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, we explore the highlights in each of the host cities and venues.

Saturday, September 26: South Africa v Samoa
Sunday, September 27: Australia v Uruguay
City highlights:
If you have a sweet tooth then look no further than Cadbury World, yes you read that right, a world of chocolate. The chocolate factory, just a 10-minute train ride from New Street Station, has 15 different areas to explore from the history of the company to how it is all packaged. Your taste buds will certainly enjoy the visit even if your diet doesn’t – and you'll have a bag full of chocolate bars after the factory tour.
Birmingham boasts an incredible selection of museums but perhaps the jewel in the crown is the National Sea Life Centre. Great for a family day out, the centre allows you to come face-to-face with ocean creatures including stingrays and jellyfish.
Where and what to eat:
The Mailbox is a popular choice for food and with a wide variety of options it isn’t hard to see why. Located near the canal, The Mailbox has recently undergone a major revamp with new shops, restaurants and a newly-installed Everyman Cinema now part of the complex. The Bullring is also full of shops and restaurants and is a short stroll from the main train station and well sign-posted.
Pre-match drink:
The Hare of the Dog is ideally located just a stone’s throw from the Villa Park stadium and boasts a wide variety of craft ales, lagers and beers on its drinks menu. A traditional English pub with a big screen to soak up the pre-match entertainment before making your way to the stadium for an action-packed 80 minutes.
Post-match nightlife:
To continue the party once the World Cup excitement has come to an end, the Brindleyplace is an ideal spot to keep the celebrations going. Several bars located next to the canal make for a fantastic setting and look no further than Nuvo, made famous for its expansive list of cocktails – you’ll be testing them long into the night.
Stadium: Villa Park.
The original foundations of the stadium were a Victorian amusement park – now the venue is home to Premier League side Aston Villa. The Holte End and the stadium's unique design certainly sets the Villa Park apart from the modern stadia built now.
The venue has a rich history of rugby inside its walls dating as far back as 1924, when a North Midlands side took on New Zealand, and then again in 1953 when a Midlands County XV also took on the All Blacks.

Getting there:
The two nearest train stations to Villa Park are Aston and Witton, both just a short walk to the ground with a more frequent service on match days. There are two main bus services to the venue, the number 65 and 67 which pick up from the city centre and drop you at the door of the stadium.

The stadium seats an impressive 42,765 people when full and with the stands sat virtually on top of the field of play, a unique atmosphere is created by the raucous Midlands crowd, especially when football is the order of the day. The venue will be a fine spot to watch some World Cup rugby with two games being hosted at the stadium.