Britain is world-renowned as a host for international sporting events and 2018 welcomes major championships to its shores once again. Cheer on your team or sports idol at these three upcoming events, then enjoy the cultural experiences the host destinations have to offer.
European Championships, Glasgow, Scotland
2 – 12 August
Glasgow 2018 is part of a new multi-sport event combining the existing European Championships for aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon, plus a new Golf Team Championships. During 11 days of exhilarating sporting action, 3,000 of the best athletes on the continent will compete. Berlin will concurrently host the European Athletics Championships.
What can I do? These championships are spread across a variety of first-class sporting venues in both Glasgow and the surrounding area, which means this fascinating and beautiful part of Scotland is at your fingertips. Host city Glasgow – which has hosted some of the world’s top sporting events, such as the Commonwealth Games in 2014 – is one of Britain’s coolest destinations, and during the championships will be highlighting exactly why that is during Festival 2018. The festival will celebrate the world-class sporting action with cultural events ranging from street art to music, theatre to dance, with the iconic George’s Square as its hub. 2018 also sees the city celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of famed Glasgow-born architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh with a series of programmes, so there’s plenty to see during your time there.
Rowing and triathlon events will be taking place at Strathclyde Country Park, a 20-minute drive from Glasgow city centre. Don’t let just the athletes have all the fun; visitors to this picturesque countryside spot can also flex their fitness muscles at the huge range of activities on offer, from cycling and rowing to water ski-ing and bracing walks through the woodlands.
Coming to the event for the open swimming? This will mean the chance to visit host location the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, a simply breathtaking part of the country, less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow, with forests and lochs, glens and mountains to explore. If you’re coming over for the golf championships this means the chance to visit one of the most prestigious golf courses – and hotels – in the world; Gleneagles. This five-star luxury hotel, also less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow, boasts three championship golf courses, an award-winning spa and the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars.
Where can I stay? Glasgow’s hotel scene ranges from the five-star to the budget, from cosy B&Bs to the city apartments, so you won’t be short of places to lay your head. If you’re looking for one of the newest properties to hit the accommodation scene, check out Radisson Red, a hotel where cutting-edge art is prevalent throughout, located adjacent to event venue SSE Hydro. Another new hi-tech, contemporary style property is Village Hotel, also close to the Hydro, with great views over the River Clyde. And, due to open in the month of the championships is aparthotel Native Glasgow, located in a gorgeous Art Deco-style building.
How do I get there? Glasgow has its own international airport and can be reached by train from London in 4.5 hours and from Edinburgh in around an hour.
Women’s Hockey World Cup, London
21 July – 5 August
The world’s best female hockey teams from 15 nations take to the field at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London. This will be the first time England has hosted a Hockey Women’s World Cup and will be the biggest stand-alone hockey event the UK has ever seen.
What can I do? As this World Cup takes place at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London is your oyster (and make sure you buy an Oyster Card to get you around!). But you can stay put on site and still have plenty to do in between matches. Within the Olympic Park alone you can step into the shoes of top-flight athletes; dive into the waters at the London Aquatics Centre, take a spin on two wheels at the Lee Valley Velo Park or run for glory on the London 2012 trail. Thrillseekers will love the Ride the Slide at the UK’s largest sculpture, the ArcelorMittal Orbit (maybe try your hand at abseiling down it if you’re feeling brave, it’s the UK’s tallest freefall abseil!). Or, if you’re looking for something a little more tranquil, there’s 560 acres of gorgeous parklands to explore by foot or by bike (hire one of the Santander bikes available at eight different stations), follow the Biodiversity Trail to discover all about the Park’s sustainability or head out to Lea River Park for a 1.5-hour hike from the Olympic Park to the Royal Docks and the River Thames.
Head just across the road from the Olympic Park and can spend the day exploring the largest shopping mall in Europe, with its 250 stores and more than 70 places to dine; Westfield Stratford City. Or, for a little culture mixed into your day, book tickets to see a performance at Theatre Royal Stratford East, which has a long history of being at the forefront of new play and musical development.
Where can I stay? You’ll find affordable hotels on the Olympic Park’s doorstep, ranging from Premier Inns to Holiday Inn Express, but for something a little cooler, venture to the neighbourhood of Hackney (about 15 minutes by taxi) for places such as the boutique Avo Hotel, The Old Ship, where ‘East End cool meets pub charm’ or the ultra-cool Town House Hotel a little further afield in Bethnal Green.
How do I get there? Stratford can be reached from central London on the London Underground’s Central Line in around ten minutes.
Women’s Golf British Open, Lancashire, north-west England
2 – 5 August
One of the premier links golf courses in the world, and one which has seen golfers teeing off since it opened in 1886, Royal Lytham & St Anne’s will host the Ricoh Women’s British Open this summer for the fifth time. The course is no stranger to hosting major international tournaments – two Ryder Cups and 11 Open Championships have also been held here.
What can I do? Royal Lytham & St Anne’s is in an enviable location on the coast of north-west England, on what is known as England’s Golf Coast. If you’re looking to tee off on 18 holes on another prestigious course during the run of the tournament, just over an hour’s drive away is the Royal Birkdale course on the Southport coast, or travel 1.5 hours to the Royal Liverpool golf club.
The golf clubs’ locations means you’re also near to some incredible beaches. Lytham St Anne’s Beach is mile upon mile of golden sands, perfect for long walks, with attractive gardens and a boating lake close by. Further down the coast in the pretty seaside resort of Southport are huge stretches of magnificent beaches, where you can kite surf, climb sand dunes, stroll along its historic pier or follow one of the town’s historic trails. Take a trip to Crosby Beach, which is home to Anthony Gormley’s art installation Another Place, 100 iron men standing looking out to sea. And for some pure, unadulterated, British seaside fun, Lytham St Anne’s is just a 20-minute drive from the town of Blackpool and its array of attractions. Stop by Blackpool Pleasure Beach for exhilarating theme park rides or the iconic Blackpool Tower to enjoy panoramic views over the coast, visit its renowned circus or dance across the floor of its world-famous Tower Ballroom. And, if you’re still in town towards the end of August, you’ll witness the switch-on of the Blackpool Illuminations – a spectacular sight of one million bulbs – which run until early November.
Where can I stay? Befitting of a coastal resort, there are plenty of good-quality B&Bs and guesthouses near Lytham St Anne’s. Four-star hotel The Clifton Arms enjoys fabulous views of the seafront and, for a touch of glamour, head a little further out of town (40 minutes’ drive) to either the Northcote and the Stanley House Hotel & Spa, both elegant boutique country house hotels with superb countryside views.
How do I get there? Reach Lytham by train from London in three hours, and from Liverpool or Manchester in 1.5 hours.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com