A Sports Fan’s Guide to London

London is a city that’s jam-packed with things to see and do. As the UK’s cultural capital, the city is packed with museums, theatres, historical sights, and other entertainment venues and points of interest.

Tens of millions of people visit London each year, for a whole host of reasons. The city is the location of many major events from trade shows to concerts from the world’s most successful musicians.

London is also a great city for those that love sport. It’s home to many teams, hosts many annual events, and is a great place to watch games played both played in the city and elsewhere in the world.

If you’re a sports fan and you’re planning a trip to London then you’ll definitely want to check out our guide to the city.

Football

Football is England’s national sport. The game was invented here and then exported around the world and the country is home to the world’s oldest football competition, the FA Cup. England’s Premier League is also the world’s largest domestic football league with millions of fans all around the globe.

London is home to several of the biggest clubs in the league, namely Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, West Ham, and Tottenham Hotspur. Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Charlton Athletic, and Brentford have yo-yoed in and out of the top tier, while other clubs like Millwall are well known despite having never competed at the top of the pyramid.

The England national team are also based in London and play most of their home games in the capital.

If you’re a football fan and you’re planning a trip to London anytime soon, then you’ll definitely want to catch a game.

Football

Cricket

Another traditional English sport is cricket. Whilst it isn’t as popular as football, it remains one of the best loved pastimes. There are numerous cricket grounds located within the city, but none are more famous than Lord’s.

Owned by Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord’s Cricket Ground is often described as the “Home of Cricket”. It is over 200 years old and is where the England and Wales Cricket Board and the European Cricket Council are both headquartered. It’s also home to Middlesex County Cricket Club.

Cricket matches take place regularly at Lord’s, so if you’re in London at the same time, it’s definitely worth a visit. Even if there is no action taking place during your trip, a trip to Lord’s is still worthwhile as it is the location of the MCC Museum, the world’s oldest sports museum.

Within the museum, you’ll find all kinds of different sporting memorabilia, including The Ashes urn, the tiny container that is fought over by Australia and England.

Betting in London

With so many different sporting options in the British capital, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ways to bet on the games taking place here and around the world. Great Britain has some of the most relaxed betting rules in the world, as it allows just about every type of wager you could want to make.

This has been the case (pretty much) since September 1960, though tweaks to the rules have been made over the years.

Walk down many streets in London and you’ll find physical betting shops that are known as bookmakers or bookies. They are licensed businesses that will accept your wagers on just about any sport and will even have screens where you can go to watch some events.

Alternatively, you can bet from your computer, smartphone or tablet. Online betting is legal in three nations in Great Britain and is convenient if you want to have a little flutter while you’re at a stadium or somewhere else watching a game. There are hundreds of different sites and apps to choose from and most offer free bets and other bonuses when you create an account.

Stadium Tours

If you’re in London when games aren’t taking place at most of its big stadiums, then you can still visit for a tour. Wembley Stadium is one of the many giant facilities that you can explore, with tickets for adults costing around £22 for a standard tour.

The leading London Premier League clubs also offer their own stadium tours, giving fans the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of many of the teams’ legendary players, see where they prepare for games, and get a glimpse of what else happens behind the scenes.

Prices for each venue vary from stadium to stadium, though they are all similar to the cost of a visit to Wembley.

Sports Bars in London

The great thing about being in the country that invented football is that almost every pub shows games live on its TV screens. So if you want to watch a game, whether it be one played in the city or elsewhere, you’re never far from somewhere that will be showing it.

It’s not just football either. London pubs will also often show events like Formula 1, rugby, tennis, golf, and cycling, though it’s important to check what’s going to be on ahead of time so you don’t miss any of the action.

Alternatively, you can visit a dedicated sports bar. These are venues that take watching sport to a whole new level, with giant screens dotted around that make it easy to see all the action no matter where you sit. They also offer an unrivalled atmosphere, with a small(ish) intimate setting packed with other people that are as passionate about sport as you are.

Sports bars are a great place to go to meet like-minded people, watch a game, and enjoy great foods and there are dozens spread right across London, so you’ll never be far from whatever game you want to watch.

Annual Events

It’s not just the regular games at local clubs that you can find in London. The city also hosts many annual events for national and international championships. This covers everything from tennis to motorsport and results in thousands of fans descending on London just to watch these live events.

Wimbledon is one such event. The Grand Slam tennis tournament takes place in June each year, with all of the world’s greatest players taking part.

Other annual sporting events that take place in London include the FA Cup Final, the London ePrix, the London Marathon, and NFL London games. If you’re a fan of any of these sports, then it’s a great excuse to plan a trip there.