?Many students come over to England and want to either play or watch sports.
Here is some general information about the kind of sports that are played in the UK and where you might be able to play or watch them. The majority of major events are shown on the TV, either on Sky or Terrestrial TV. If you want to watch something that is on Sky you will need to go to a bar, as our apartments do not have Sky TV.
Football, which Americans know as soccer is one of the most popular sports in the UK. The football season starts at the end of August, and runs through until the end of May although sometimes you will find major tournaments, such as The World Cup, in June and July. The footballing calendar is organised by the Football Association (The FA) National ixtures can be found on their website along with international games. They sell out very quickly. As an American you might be able to get tickets in the opposing team’s seats, but remember not to cheer if England score, or wear England clothes, it can get a little competitive to say the least and you will be refused entry to the ground.
The top teams in England play each other every season in what is called the Premier League, or more commonly the Premiership. Some of the London clubs that are in the Premiership are Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham, Fulham, and Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs). The teams play each other twice, at home and away and the three teams with the lowest number of points at the end of the season are relegated. Tickets for Premiership games can be purchased from the club directly. It is very difficult to get tickets, and also costly, for a London derby, when the London teams are playing each other.
If you want to play football when you are over in the UK then the best place, unless you are here for a longer period of time, is to play in the parks. Many of them have goal posts already set up. Some of our buildings might have their own events. If there are enough of you wanting to play then we are happy to set up a small league, and arrange matches. Just drop us an email, and let us know you are interested.
Rugby is also particularly big in the UK, especially since England won the Rugby World cup a few years ago. There are 2 different types of rugby, rugby league and rugby union. The more popular one is rugby union. To find out when and where matches are being played you are best off looking on the website. Most of the games are played at Twickenham which is not far from London, and easily accessible.
If you want to play rugby when you are in the UK then there are quite a few amateur teams, but a lot of them only take players for the season. A good website for information on local clubs is here. This gives you all the information for Camden Council clubs.
Cricket in the UK is a lot bigger than it has been for many years, especially after England won the Ashes in 2011. Cricket players such as Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff are now household names. Cricket is often a regional game, called county cricket, because people play in the area in which they live. For example, if you lived in London then you might play for Middlesex. The 2 major cricket grounds in London are Lords and The Oval. Lords is in very close proximity to a lot of the Anglo housing. The Kia Oval is in Kennington, South London. If you want to watch cricket then you should contact the ground directly, as they sell their own tickets. Some agents might sell them, and they are sometimes easier to obtain this way, but there are agent fees added on.
Tennis is popular in the summer more than in the winter, particularly in the run up to Wimbledon. Wimbledon is the UK’s most important tennis event. To get tickets for the main courts is exceedingly difficult. The best way to get tickets is to enter a public ballot organised by the AELTC. You enter the ballot between August 1st and December 31st by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to AELTC, P.O. Box 98, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5AE. The ballot takes place in January, and the winners are usually informed around about February.
It is more common for people to get a Ground Admission ticket, which will let you see games on the non-show courts or in the standing area of Court 2. To get these tickets you may need to arrive very early, and we are talking early, any time before 7.30am is best, and will probably have to wait for a few hours. A ticket allows you to watch tennis throughout the day, and also gives you access to the hill facing the courts. In the past it has been known as Hennman Hill, and now more commonly as Murray Mount. Cheaper tickets are available after 5pm and you can also get tickets to Centre Court once they are returned for a small fee later in the day.
Playing tennis in the UK is very easy, and quite cheap. Most sports centres have indoor courts. Give them a call and they will let you know where the nearest court is. If you are looking to play outdoors then the majority of parks have outdoor courts, available either free of charge, or for a nominal fee.
Once considered the past time of the businessman golf is now becoming quite fashionable with younger people, and we have found that many of our students in the past have wanted to play golf whilst they are in the UK. Unfortunately golf courses are not in abundance in central London as you can imagine, and the clubs can not only be quite expensive, but somewhat elitist as well. There are a few ranges in areas such as Wimbledon, and out by Oakwood on the Piccadilly line. Many clubs will also refer you to other clubs that might be able to offer your assistance.
Swimming is the main thing that people want to do water sports wise whilst they are in the UK. Public pools are in an abundance, and there are even a few outdoor pools for when it is nice and hot (yes, that does happen in London!) You can also find a full list of pools here. There is also quite a bit of rowing, and yachting available in and around London. If you are interesting in doing some sailing then the best source of information is here.
Riding is sadly one of the most expensive sports you can do whilst in the UK. There are stables in Hyde Park but the fees are very high. You are better travelling that little bit further out, where the fees are slightly less. There are stables in Wimbledon and Ealing, both of which are cheaper than Hyde Park. They also do block bookings if you are hoping to ride on a regular basis. Always check that your insurance covers you, sometimes riding is considered a dangerous sport, and your insurance might not cover you for this. If you are looking to try out riding, and want to spend a weekend away at the same time then you might want to consider a weekend horse-riding in Wales, which is very popular with our students. You can obtain a discount on this trip by using the code ANGLO10 at the checkout.
Many of you want to keep up with your gym memberships whilst you are in the UK. Gyms can be quite expensive, but there are often deals to be had. You can normally buy a 3 month pass, and some of them may offer individual use prices. If you are on a budget then take a look at the council run gyms. They will be busier, and the facilities not quite as good as private gyms but cost wise they are a lot cheaper. More information on local gyms can be found on the housing section of the website. Look out for people touting on the street with information on gyms, particularly around tube stations. The leaflets that they are handing out sometimes give some excellent offers.
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