London has everything one could want in life and it’s of no surprise that there are many great sports venues and stadiums. Whether you fancy football or cricket or maybe you even want a swim in a lido, there are many places where you can spectate or even take part in your favourite recreational activity. These venues aren’t just used for sports events as stadiums tend to use their spaces for other events when a sports match isn’t taking place.
Here are ten world-famous sports venues in London and what takes place in them:
One of the most famous football stadiums in Britain, Wembley Stadium, located in Wembley Park, hosts the home matches for the England national football team and the FA Cup Final, the latter being the most attended football tournament in the world. The original Wembley Stadium which was built in 1923 was actually demolished between 2002 and 2003 making way for the modern Wembley Stadium which was opened in 2007 and is built on the same site.
Wembley Stadium doesn’t just host football events however, and other sports and events that take place there include Rugby League, Rugby Union, American Football, boxing and even music events like concerts. Weddings, conferences and other events are held at Wembley Stadium; the income from the extra events helps out the FA, who own the stadium, as they spent much more on the stadium than they originally intended. The old Wembley Stadium hosted greyhound racing.
Famous musicians that have played in Wembley Stadium include rock bands like Metallica and Coldplay and singers like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé; many others have also performed there.
Based at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, also known as The Championships, isn’t actually a place but is a tennis tournament. It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, it first being held in 1877, and is the most famous tennis court; Wimbledon is part of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments (the other three are held in Australia, France and the United States) and is regarded as the original tennis court as the surface of the court is grass and not hard-court which the others use.
The court is outdoors but as of 2009 was fitted with a retractable roof so matches aren’t hindered by the rain. There are many traditions regarding The Championships, for example, contestants must strictly wear all-white, it’s also traditional for spectators to eat strawberries and cream. For anyone who loves tennis, visiting The Championships is a must.
Commonly known as Lord’s, Lord’s Cricket Ground is based in the district of St John’s Wood and is owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club. The original cricket ground was opened by Thomas Lord in 1787 where Dorset Square is today, but due to a rise of rent he relocated to a second ground; again, Thomas Lord was forced to choose another place for his cricket ground, the second location was decided by Parliament to be used to make the Regent’s Canal.
Lord’s Cricket Ground is home to the Middlesex Cricket Club, one of the eighteen first-class clubs in the country; the club’s logo features three curved swords, based on the original flag of the county of Middlesex. Not only does Lord’s Cricket Ground host cricket matches, the MCC Museum is also located there which is the oldest sports museum in the world containing many famous cricket relics such as The Ashes urn, believed to contain ashes of a burnt cricket ball. Lord’s Cricket Ground is also home to the MCC Library, which contains the largest collection of books dedicated to cricket in one place.
Formerly known as the Olympic Stadium and now called the London Stadium, this multi-purpose venue, based in Stratford in East London, was used to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Construction of the stadium began in 2008 and the first public event was held in 2012. The stadium was used for the track and field events and served as the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies.
When the 2012 Olympics finished, London Stadium became the home of the football team West Ham United who moved from their original stadium, the Boleyn located on Green Street, not too far their current stadium in Stratford.
Other notable sports events that have taken place at the London Stadium include several matches of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Rugby League Test matches and World Athletics and Para Athletics championships (2017). The stadium has even hosted the first regular-season US Major League Baseball Game in Europe; the teams that played were the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
Although the London Stadium is located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, there are other sports facilities that can even be used by the public in various places of the park. The park is beautiful and is a great place to jog and keep fit outdoors, but there are also some indoor state of the art facilities that were once used for the 2012 Olympic Games but are now open to the public. These facilities include:
London Aquatics Centre – This venue features two 50metre swimming pools and a 25metre diving pool, it opened to the public in 2014 and is a splendid place to swim.
Copper Box Arena – Originally known as the Handball Arena due to the handball events that were hosted there, the Copper Box Arena is a multi-sport venue. It can now be hired out for private events and also contains a gym that is open to the public.
Lea Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre – This venue is the perfect place to play hockey and tennis as it doesn’t just hold events but is also open for public booking.
Lea Valley VeloPark – This venue is a cycling centre which consists of an outdoor BMX racing track and the indoor Velodrome.
Sports at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park isn’t just limited to the former Olympic Stadium, the entire area is a hub of activities all of which can be enjoyed by the public.
For those who enjoy swimming, Tooting Bec Lido is fine Venue indeed as it is the largest fresh-water lido is the United Kingdom (A lido is an outdoor or open-air swimming pool). The lido is located between the two South London districts of Tooting and Streatham and is operated by the London Borough of Wandsworth.
Tooting Bec Lido is the oldest Lido in Britain and was opened in 1906 where it was originally known as the Tooting Bathing-Lake.
The pool is open to the public from May to September every year but members of the South London Swimming Club (SLSC) have access during the winter and can also swim for free when the pool is being used by the public. The lido is surrounded by trees, which not only provide seclusion for the swimmers but also make the venue naturally beautiful.
The O2 Arena is an indoor venue with a large variety of activities going on from concerts to sports and also has the second-largest seating capacity than any indoor venue in the United Kingdom after Manchester Arena. The O2 Arena was the world’s busiest music venue in 2008.
Located in the London Borough of Greenwich, the O2 Area and surrounding O2 entertainment complex is named after its primary sponsor, O2 which is a telecommunications service provider; construction of the arena began in 2003 and was completed in 2007. Aside from the world-famous concerts that take place there, O2 Arena also hosts many sports such as tennis, ice hockey, basketball, gymnastics, boxing, squash, MMA, darts and rugby.
Notable sports events at the O2 Arena include: several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matches, Premier League Darts, National Hockey League (NHL) contests, the ATP World Tour Finals (tennis) and the arena also hosted the gymnastics events for the 2012 Summer Olympics and some of the wheelchair basketball for the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
Based in Southwest London, Twickenham Stadium is owned by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and test matches for the England national rugby union team are hosted there. The stadium is the largest stadium in the world dedicated to rugby union and the second-largest stadium in the United Kingdom after Wembley Stadium.
Twickenham Stadium also hosts concerts and other events.
Originally known as Ashburton Grove, Emirates Stadium, based in North London, is the famed home of the Arsenal Football Club and is the fourth-largest football stadium in England. A lot of money has been invested in the stadium therefore it has superb facilities and is loved by Arsenal fans. Various international football matches have also taken place at the Emirates Stadium.
The stadium is now alternatively known as Arsenal Stadium but more commonly as Emirates Stadium due to the company being the main sponsor.
Based in the London Borough of Lambeth, South London, The Oval is home to the Surrey County Cricket Club and is also an international cricket ground. The venue has been open since 1845 and was the first place to England to host international Test cricket in 1880.
Alongside Lord’s, The Oval is a very popular cricket ground but surprisingly it just reserved for cricket, the England national football team had their first international match there against Scotland in 1870; the FA Cup final was also held in The Oval in 1872. The Oval has hosted international rugby matches too.