It’s not just the Commonwealth Games, sport is at the beating heart of Birmingham and the West Midlands. From tennis to cricket, football to golf, discover the rich sporting pedigree of the region.
While everyone associates Wimbledon as the home of lawn tennis, fans may be surprised to learn the game was invented in the West Midlands. The first game of lawn tennis is said to have been played in Edgbaston in 1859. And the oldest purpose-built “real tennis” club in the world, is in Leamington Spa. The Leamington Tennis Court Club was established in 1846 and still thrives today.
Leafy Edgbaston, the upmarket suburb of Birmingham, is world-famous for its cricket. You can get tickets for matches or take a stadium tour and learn some of its long history in “the gentleman’s game”. It has been the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club since 1885 and hosted its first Test, against Australia, in 1902. It’s widely regarded as having the best atmosphere of British venues – for the home team, that is.
It’s not just cricket, football is also at the heart of the West Midlands and visitors can experience some of the passion of the beautiful game at one of the region’s many clubs. The Premier League’s Aston Villa is based in Villa Park, Birmingham, which offers stadium tours of its historic venue, as does Wolverhampton Wanderers in Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton. Or you can get into the spirit at Birmingham City’s home of St Andrew’s. Coventry City plays at Coventry Building Society Arena and West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
If the Commonwealth Games inspires you, then there are plenty of ways to get active in the region. From simply walking around Birmingham, to renting a bike and cycling the extensive canal paths, right up to abseiling in the Peak District, there’s really no excuse for sitting down. You can play some tennis at one of the city’s many courts, or combine your exercise with entertainment at Birmingham’s Treetop Adventure Golf or the cool Ghetto Golf in the Custard Factory. Then get some lengths in at Droitwich Lido – one of the last inland outdoor salt-water pool in the UK.