For a small country, the UK has an amazing amount of world-class sport. Stadium tours and attending events are both excellent ways to get close to the action and explore the world of sport beyond watching it on television.
WHITE HART LANE STADIUM TOUR
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club was formed in 1882 and moved to ‘The Lane’ in 1899. It is one of the most famous sporting arenas in the world. With 131 years of history for visitors to enjoy, it is a stadium that breathes nostalgia and inspires young and old alike.
A stadium tour of White Hart Lane is a fascinating experience for any football fan or those simply interested in sporting history. Lasting between one and a half to two hours, professional tour guides lead the way behind the scenes at the club. The press auditorium is usually the first point of call. If you’ve watched Andre Villas-Boas on television, post-match, this is where it happens. Visitors can find out for themselves what it is like to sit in that chair and face the press.
The Bill Nicholson Suite and West Box Holders Lounge offer a lesson in the club’s long history with memorabilia to marvel at, including The FA Cup. The most famous trophy of all is right there in front of visitors. Next, perfectly situated on the half-way line of the West Stand, the Director’s Box plays host to VIP guests on a matchday. Stadium tour guests are able to admire the view from the best seats in the house. A stroll down the players’ tunnel passing the Hall Of Fame on the way leads to the home and away dressing rooms. The away dressing room boasts an old style bath, while the home dressing room provides a photo opportunity in front of the shirts of current Spurs stars. The final element of the tour is the chance to walk out to pitchside to take in the full glory of the Lane. Visitors can try out the manager’s pitchside seat for size.
White Hart Lane is easily accessible from central London with trains taking just 20 minutes from Liverpool Street to White Hart Lane station. Special group rates are available.
T: 0208 365 5191
STAMFORD BRIDGE STADIUM TOUR
This great tour of the home of Chelsea Football Club is a fun, informative and unforgettable experience, enjoyed by groups of sports fans of all ages from all over the world. The fully guided tour takes groups behind the scenes at one of the world’s greatest football clubs, giving access to areas normally reserved for players and officials. Visitors can imagine meeting the press as they sit behind the desk in the press room, soak up the atmosphere in the spectacular home dressing room and then feel the excitement as they walk down the tunnel to the pitch side with the roar of a capacity crowd ringing in their ears.
Chelsea FC pride themselves on having tour guides who are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the club and can provide entertaining yet informative tours to groups of all ages and nationalities. The tour is ideally combined with a visit to the Chelsea FC Museum, offering visitors an interactive tour of the successes, the emotions and the sights and sounds that have contributed to one of the most fascinating stories in football. The museum is included with tours and offers a multimedia experience, bringing the club’s past alive through audio visual shows as well as a fascinating collection of Chelsea-related memorabilia.
Chelsea has an extensive choice of dates and times available for group booking and offer great group discounts. They can also offer private tours for groups of 20 or more. For every 10 children/concessions, one adult will be welcomed free of charge. Groups of 30+ will receive a 15% discount. Groups of 50+ will receive a 20% discount. Tours start at 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm except when there are home matches, the day before a Champions League match or other significant events in the stadium, subject to availability.
OLD TRAFFORD STADIUM TOUR
The Manchester United Museum and Tour Centre combines historical exhibits, interactive experiences and a chance to see round the stadium. In over 130 years of football, the club that humbly started life as Newton Heath has lifted silverware on a global stage time and time again. A visit to the trophy room lets visitors see just how successful the club has been, from the European conquests of the Busby Babes to the 1999 treble. Other artefacts and detailed insight capture the story and history of Manchester United in a way that engages visitors of any age. Using interactive exhibits, there is a chance to get even closer to the world of Manchester United, including an audience with Sir Alex Ferguson himself in his own private office, recreated with flawless attention to detail. A new ‘What It Takes’ theatre exhibit shows exactly what is required to become a professional footballer, surely a must for all wannabe footballers in attendance.
For the stadium tour, groups are taken from the dizzy heights of the North Stand to Sir Alex Ferguson’s dugout spot, round the stadium and into the behind-the-scenes areas. The atmospheric changing rooms give an idea of the tension of pre-match preparation and are often the rooms that visitors are most excited to see, as they have surely welcomed all the most famous footballing names into their showers, and indeed continue to do so. The ultimate taster of match day experience comes when visitors are able to emerge from the tunnel onto the pitch, just as all those famous have done throughout the years to this day.
BURGHLEY HORSE TRIALS
Harley Denham reports
The ticket office for the Burghley Horse Trials has just opened, as this year’s four day event will run from 5th September until 8th September situated in the stunning grounds of Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire. The event is acknowledged as one of the major British social occasions and includes the famous retail village with plenty of new exhibits and shops each year. Lively avenues with a range of over 500 shops offer an unbeatable variety of luxury goods, crafts, jewellery, furniture, clothing and Burghley’s renowned food walk offering international and regional foods for every palate. Luxury members’ packages are available and offer admission to the members’ enclosure with restaurant, licensed bar, and Burghley TV.
The equestrian competition begins on the Thursday with dressage commencing in the main arena and pony club team jumping in Ring 2. The second day offers a dressage display with Ferdi Eilberg in the Main Arena; the surrounding stand seats offer individual headsets to clearly hear the commentary. Saturday consists of the famous cross country course, 80 horses and riders taking on over 33 jumps to test the strength of each competitor. When visiting last year, I joined other spectators in walking the entire course, allowing me to see each jump first-hand. Some of the jumps had the crowd holding their breath in anticipation and breathing sighs of relief when they were safely navigated by each competitor. The famous Land Rover final jump looked beautiful with Burghley as the back-drop. Sunday’s show jumping in the Main Arena brings the competition to a nail-biting finale. Mr Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) riding Avebury took home the prize last year.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has gone on to win the Equestrian Social Media Award for ‘Best Use of a YouTube Channel’ for the second year in a row. They are also pleased to announce that Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has won another Equestrian Social Media Award [ESMA 2013], this time for ‘Best Use of Social Media by an Event/Competition’.
Coach parking is available located just a few minutes’ walk from the showground and programmes are available at the entrance to the shopping village. Coach drivers are granted free entry every day.
Thursday and Friday: £7 pp advanced online booking, £8pp box office, £16pp on the gate
Saturday: £14 advanced online booking, £16pp box office, £27pp on gate
Sunday: £7 advanced online, £8pp box office, £15pp on the gate
The reduced rates apply to all coaches and minibuses (16+ seater) when booked in advance.