Things to do in Britain's rugby cities

Friday 18 September 2015

Rugby was invented in Britain, so it's no wonder there's a real appetite for the game here. Combine watching your rugby matches in these key cities with…

Balti in Birmingham

Balti restaurant in Birmingham Birmingham is the curry capital of the UK – that’s really saying something in a nation that cites a curry as one of its favourite meals. The balti was invented in Birmingham in the late 1970s. Nowadays it’s so popular that there’s a whole area of the city devoted to it. Head to the Balti Triangle for a post-match supper or book a balti break with a cookery demo, escorted walking tour and, of course, an evening meal. Find out what else there is to do in Birmingham like its historic canals and the Jewellery Quarter.

Vintage seaside piers in Brighton & Hove

Brighton Pier The jewel in the crown of Britain’s brightest, boldest seaside city is the iconic Brighton Pier. Dating back to Victorian times, it extends 1,722ft (525m) into the English Channel offering views back along Brighton’s über-cool seafront. In autumn, starlings perform spectacular synchronized swirls across the evening skies – the perfect entertainment while munching on fish ‘n’ chips. Find out more about bohemian Brighton & Hove’s top-notch shopping and historic attractions.

Maritime heritage in Exeter

Cycling along the River Exe in Exeter, Devon Swap the rugby ball for a bike in Exeter and pedal the Exe Estuary Trail. This 26-mile route links Devon’s lively capital with the coastal towns of Exmouth and Dawlish, following the Exe estuary, a Site of Special Scientific Interest with a strong maritime heritage. Depending on which side of the estuary you cycle you’ll come across pretty villages, a castle, and one of the few pubs in Britain you can’t drive to. Find out more about Exeter’s underground passages, 900-year-old cathedral and historic quayside.

Film sets in Gloucester

Gloucester Cathedral cloisters There’s a reason Gloucester’s historic docks and medieval cathedral look so familiar. The cathedral’s cloisters were used in 3 Harry Potter films – this is where Harry and Ron hid from the troll. Wolf Hall fans will also recognise the cathedral, while Gloucester Docks were transformed into a film set for Alice through the Looking Glass (2016) – Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland sequel. Explore behind the scenes in Gloucester and the beautiful Cotswolds.

Craft beers in Leeds

Leeds Royal Armouries Museum There’s been a brewery in Leeds for more than 200 years, and the popularity of the brewing process (and its fine result) continues to blossom; Leeds is building a reputation as a craft beer capital. Leeds and the surrounding county of Yorkshire boast a proliferation of microbreweries and craft beers – enough to merit an international beer festival  and a dedicated Ale Trail . Shopping; culture; The Royal Armouries (pictured)… There’s lots to do in Leeds outside the breweries too!

King Richard III in Leicester

Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester, England In 2012 a skeleton was unearthed beneath a car park in Leicester city centre, the skeleton had battle wounds and a curved spine; they had found the bones of King Richard III of England. The Visitor Centre tells the story. Then visit Richard III’s tomb in Leicester Cathedral where he was reinterred. Leicester is also home to the National Space Centre.

The royals in London

Kensington Palace, London Switch between Wembley, Twickenham and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park rugby stadiums with some altogether more regal venues. London has a generous helping of royal palaces, stately homes and historic houses. See the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, and visit Kensington Palace, home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. There’s no end of things to see and do.

Football in Manchester

Manchester Utd Old Trafford Manchester is better known for football so don’t miss the chance to hop across to Old Trafford for a behind-the-scenes tour of Manchester United’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’. And in the city centre the National Football Museum houses a huge collection of football memorabilia, including a religious painting featuring Eric Cantona, and a war diary covering the famous World War I Christmas Day football match. Manchester’s shopping is also legendary.

Code cracking in Milton Keynes

Bletchley Park Bletchley Park may look like a grand English country manor house, but it was a key location for wartime intelligence and its incredible story was retold in The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It's located near Milton Keynes.

Supersize landmarks in Newcastle

Angel of the North Start with the enormous Angel of the North. This vast statue by sculptor Antony Gormley is one of the most viewed pieces of public art in the world. It’s as tall as 4 double-decker buses, and has the wingspan of a jumbo jet. Back in the city centre, 7 impressive bridges span the River Tyne, best viewed from the top-floor viewing gallery of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. One of them – the Millennium Bridge – is the world’s only tilting bridge. Find out more about Newcastle’s larger-than-life night scene and cultural credentials.

Rugby in, er, Rugby

Rugby match at Rugby School, England Finally, take a pilgrimage to where it all began. Pay your respects at The Close, where, in 1823, William Webb Ellis picked up the football and ran with it during a game at Rugby School. While you’re there, click a selfie at the William Webb Ellis statue and visit the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, in a building that has been making rugby balls since 1842. Hallowed ground indeed! It’s not just about rugby! Find out what you can see and do in the city of Rugby.

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