Photo: ©Craig Easton
The 2018 FIFA World Cup has taken the world by storm once again. In the span of just one month, the world’s most talented athletes come together to play 64 matches, in 12 different venues, across 11 different cities- and this time with particular focus on the talent radiating from England’s players. Let’s take a closer look into the towns that shaped these extraordinary athletes.
Harry Kane, Walthamstow
All eyes are on striker Harry Kane as he leads the English National Team during the World Cup, but if he ever feels like taking a break from the spotlight we’ll know where to find him. Born in the beautiful northeast region of Walthamstow, London, Kane knows a thing or two about relaxation. Whether it’s checking out the Walthamstow Market, popping into a shop or museum on Orford Road or taking a stroll through the Wetlands, Walthamstow is the perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city- and it’s only a 20 minute train ride away. Speaking of shopping, one UK based shop we know Harry can’t stay away from with locations all around London is The Perfume Shop.
On the rare occasion that he’s not playing soccer, we can take a page out of Kane’s book and visit some local food spots in and around London that he fancies to fuel his chiselled body. Among some of his favorites are the Sheesh Chigwell restaurant and Novikov Restaurant and Bar, both of which places he and his wife Kate are most definitely regulars. When the adventurous couple is feeling more casual, you might find them to be repeat visitors at London’s sprawling Borough Market. Another hot getaway destination for Harry and Londoners alike is a bit further out at the serene Soho Farmhouse in the countryside of Oxfordshire. Kane sure knows how to balance business and pleasure!
Jesse Lingard, Warrington
Also on the English National Team is Jesse Lingard, who plays beside Harry Kane as Midfielder. Lingard was born in Warrington, UK, and shines not only as one of England’s greatest soccer players, but as an advocate for the trendiest activities happening in and around London. But if we flash back to Lingard’s youth, we can assume that just like his current day-to-day, it was far from boring. Warrington is home to an impressive Museum & Art Gallery full of fascinating exhibits, a huge Theme Park and a one of a kind Children’s Zoo, which make for an extremely family friendly place to visit.
Fast forward to the present and Lingard is a player for the Manchester United Football Club, which is in Old Trafford, England. Old Trafford Stadium itself is a great place for soccer fans to catch a game amidst their travels through Britain. Not a sports fan? No worries. Pay a visit to The Lowry and see a live performance or grab a bite at the always buzzing Red Café. Live like Lingard and enjoy a visit to both of these exciting travel destinations.
John Stones, Barnsley
A bit more out of the city spotlight is player John Stones, who along with the others, holds a spot on the English National Team this World Cup and on Manchester City Football Club. Stones was born in Barnsley, lying between Leeds and Sheffield. Barnsley is home to a plethora of museums, farms, castles and parks, along with an awesome Waterpark.
Currently residing in Cheshire -- a neighboring town to Manchester -- Stones does his fair share of hitting the town. Cheshire covers both sides of the spectrum with the option to tour a museum during the day or make the most of the nightlife. The Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village is a beautiful day time attraction that could be followed with dinner at The Yard, or a night cap at one of the bars in The Chester Grosvenor Hotel. The newest addition to the area around the town of Cheshire is the Storyhouse. The Storyhouse is home to a wide range of theatrical performances, live bands, and even movies. There is something for everyone in Cheshire, so don’t forget to include it in your next itinerary!
Jordan Henderson, Sunderland
Yet another player from the English National team, Jordan Henderson comes from a different neck of the woods. Being born in the metropolitan city of Sunderland in northeast England, Henderson grew up surrounded by a city and interestingly enough, by the beach! Sunderland is sometimes referred to as the “city by the sea”, because of its beautiful sandy beaches called Seaburn Beach and Roker Beach. Growing up in a happening city and being one the team’s older players, Henderson is an expert when it comes to the coolest spots around town.
Henderson’s day to day involves training, usually followed by eating to fuel himself to be the best athlete he can be. His favorite place to train in London is called Maximuscle Home of Gains, so for you gym rats out there who are looking to train like the pros’, this is the place for you! Then when you’re finished at the gym stop into London’s 40 floor, 24 hour a day restaurant called Duck and Waffle, and you might just run into Henderson. Henderson now plays for Liverpool Football Club, which is a city just as happening as Sunderland. Liverpool is the home of the Beatles so make sure to include a tour of their historic town when you plan your visit. You might also want to book a trip to the top of St. John’s Beacon - which gives you a 360 degree panoramic view of Liverpool and its surrounding cities. Lastly, if you want to get a taste of Henderson’s day to day, stop in for a game at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium, hosting sporting events ranging from boxing to tennis, and of course soccer. Henderson’s hometowns are sure to not disappoint!
Ashley Young, Stevenage
Born and raised just 28 miles north of central London in Stevenage, Ashley Young is yet another magnificent player on the English National Team. Young was born in Stevenage, a tourist friendly town with plenty of things to do. One unique spot in Stevenage that you might not find elsewhere is called Fairlands Valley Park, where they have a Sailing Center along with an 11 acre lake. Another more “land-oriented” activity spot is the Knebworth House, which has a plethora of gardens and a one of a kind Dinosaur Trail that your kids will sure to be fan of. If you’re traveling with a crew of adults, the Dinosaur Trail might not be for you, so in that case head out to one of Stevenage’s night clubs called The Mecca. Similar to Stevenage, there is something for everyone in Manchester- where Young resides now.
Young plays for Manchester United Football Club, in an area much bigger than just the Old Trafford Stadium. In Manchester, you will never run out of things to do. There’s plenty to learn in Manchester due to its vast array of museums, including but not limited to the National Football Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. Another must see attraction is the Manchester Cathedral, one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in England. But if you’re not up for a history lesson and want to get moving, head on over to the Chill Factore- Manchester’s very own indoor skiing and snowboarding center. A trip to Manchester will certainly keep you busy!
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Lewisham
Last but certainly not least, midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek was born in Lewisham, a town in South London. Lewisham is just a quick trip from London city center and offers a variety of activities. The Horniman Museum and Gardens is a great place to visit, with exhibitions and events happening regularly. Lewisham also has many diverse dining options, from Italian to Turkish cuisine. Although, Loftus-Cheek did not find himself in Lewisham for too long before taking to Chelsea to join the Chelsea Football Club. Chelsea is an affluent borough in the greater London area filled with the best restaurant and shopping locations. Loftus-Cheek is widely recognized for his impeccable fashion, and there is no doubt some credit is due to shopping areas in Chelsea such as King’s Road, Duke of York Square and Sloane Street.
And if you’re really looking for something unique to buy, stop into the Furniture Cave - a 30,000 square foot antique shop that is sure to blow you away. All this shopping will give you an appetite, and luckily Chelsea is no stranger to good food. The Kurobuta restaurant is famous for its Japanese style tapas dishes that will spice up your palate, but if you’re looking for something more classic, Tom’s Kitchen has a wide variety of comfort food options-including breakfast. Either way, you can’t go wrong with any restaurant in Chelsea. Better yet, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Chelsea!