London is a bit of a sporting Mecca with venues that have played host to events from the World Cup to the Six Nations, the Olympics to the Champions League. We take a look at five of the most iconic venues and what you can watch (and do) there.
There’s a reason why Qbic doesn’t need a pool on site – we have one of the world’s greatest aquatics centres right around the corner. Designed by legendary Brit-architect Zaha Hadid for the 2012 Olympics, the Aquatics Centre is perhaps the best example of how sustainable the Olympics can be. It’s still joyful to pay your couple of quid, wander through the sinuous curves of the building and watch local kids swimming, diving and generally messing about in the pool where Michael Phelps et al made such a splash
Where? Olympic Park, London E20 2ZQ
Travel? Stratford tube and overground
When Live Aid needed the biggest and best place for the most iconic gig of the Twentieth Century there was only one place for it – Wembley Stadium. Until the Olympics came along this was Britain’s public face to the world, hosting the ‘crown jewels’ of sporting events from England internationals to NFL games. If there’s nothing on when you’re in London then the museum and stadium tours are fantastic but with everything from boxing finals to Adele live coming up over the summer it’s rare to not find any event to catch.
Where? Wembley, HA9 0WS
Travel? Wembley Park tube
Is there anything more summery A sporting venue swathed in flowers, where men in straw hats and women in floral dresses sip champagne and eat strawberries while the world’s best tennis players compete for a silver salver. The two weeks of the Wimbledon Championships are a) wonderful and b) really, really hard to get into. So unless you know a member or have a couple of grand to drop on a scalped ticket then we recommend joining the vast crowds that soak up the atmosphere just outside the crowd, watching on the big screens from the hill known as Murray Mount (formerly Henman Hill!)
Where? Church Rd, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AE
Travel? Wimbledon Park tube
It really doesn’t matter what kind of cycling you’re into the Lee Valley VeloPark has something for you. Another of the 2012 Olympic venues, the home of track and mountain biking packs a lot into its east London location. The velodrome where Team GB won a whole host of gold medals is a fabulous building, well worth a visit even if you’re not going to be cycling there, but there’s also probably the best set of BMX berms in Europe and miles of mountain bike tracks that will keep you occupied for days.
Where? Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Abercrombie Rd, E20 3AB
Travel? Stratford International overground
There are few places more quintessentially British than a cricket ground. And there are few cricket grounds as typically English as Lord’s. Unlike most sports venues you need to set aside a whole day to get the full Lord’s experience; try to come on a test match day – that’s the name for a three- or five-day international – and soak up the long lazy hours of leather on willow, cream teas and pints and the most good-natured, friendly crowd you’ll ever find. Unless you’ve lived in the UK for a while the rules are incredibly complex – don’t worry, soak up the good vibes (and ask your neighbour what’s going on!)
Where? St John’s Wood Rd, London NW8 8QN
Travel? St Johns Wood tube