Great Britain boasts a rich sporting heritage that has infl uenced the way in which sport is played, spectated and accepted as part of the national culture in countries around the world. Andrew Moore details a few fixtures

General view of the groungs shot from the TV crane. The Championships Wimbledon 2012 The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Wimbledon Day One Monday 25/06/2012 Credit: Matthias Hangst / AELTC

The Championships Wimbledon

The UK’s sporting calendar is filled year round with exciting fixtures that are perfect for group excursions, which cover every imaginable competitive sport from athletics to wrestling. However, attending a sports event is not the only way group travellers can enjoy Britain’s rich sporting legacy. There are many museums and tours (and even bars and restaurants) devoted to different sports throughout the country, each of them offering entertaining and informative insights into our enduring national passion for sport.

golf Museum

Golf Museum

THE BRITISH GOLF MUSEUM AND COURSE TOUR, ST ANDREWS, FIFE, SCOTLAND
Golf – as we recognise it – originated in Scotland, where it has been played in one form or another for the past 600 years. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Fife possesses one of the world’s best-known and most prestigious championship golf courses and is also the location of the British Golf Museum. The museum’s unparalleled collections amount to around 17,000 exhibits that include golfing equipment, clothing, publications and artworks. The British Golf Museum brings to life the sport’s colourful story from its earliest beginnings to the immensely popular and internationally renowned game it has become today. Following a major refurbishment to its entrance galleries, shop and reception area in summer 2015, the British Golf Museum will also boast a new 80-seat rooftop café. Groups of 10 people or more will benefit from discounted admission to the museum and tour leaders will enjoy free entry. In addition to visiting the museum, groups also have the opportunity to take a 50-minute guided tour of St Andrews’ Old Course, treading fairways that have been played upon for centuries. The cost of this unique golfing experience is just £10 per person, whilst the standard price of admission to the museum is £7. Groups wishing to stay close to the action might like to try Best Western’s Scores Hotel (www.bw-scoreshotel. co.uk), which is the nearest hotel to both the first tee and the 18th of St Andrews’ famous course.
T: 01334 460046 E: enquiries@randa.org  W: www.britishgolfmuseum.co.uk

Cricket's Crown Jewels Exhibition 2014 (RV) -013

Lords Cricket

LORD’S CRICKET GROUND TOUR, ST JOHN’S WOOD, LONDON
When the football season is over, cricket becomes one of the two predominant summertime obsessions of sports fans throughout the UK. Of all the cricket grounds in the country, the historic Lord’s ground is considered ‘the home of cricket’. Since its establishment in 1814, this legendary sporting venue has hosted more than 120 test matches and has seen many cricketing records achieved and broken. Parties of fans can take a 90-minute guided tour of this most hallowed cricket ground, which takes in a visit to the players’ dressing rooms, the Grade-II listed Pavilion and the iconic, futuristicallystyled J.P. Morgan Media Centre, which offers spectacular views over Lord’s. The original urn, which contained The Ashes, is just one of many valuable items of cricketing memorabilia in the ground’s museum and entry is included in the tour price. Whilst the standard tour price is £18, concessionary rates are offered to groups of 15 people or more. Situated a quarter of a mile from the ground, the four-star Danubius Hotel (www.danubiushotels.com) provides excellent accommodation and facilities for groups visiting Lord’s. Meanwhile, the Potting Shed Bar and Restaurant beneath the Dorset Square Hotel is open daily and is subtly cricket-themed to reflect the hotel’s location on the original Lord’s Cricket Ground.
T: 0845 862 9840 E: sales@shop.lords.org W: www.shop.lords.org/shop/the-lordsexperience/lords-tour

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum Picture by Bob Martin AELTC

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Picture by Bob Martin AELTC

THE WIMBLEDON LAWN TENNIS MUSEUM AND TOUR, WIMBLEDON, LONDON
For two weeks each summer, tennis fans worldwide are gripped by the unfolding tensions and triumphs on court at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, simply known as ‘Wimbledon.’ The Wimbledon Championships form the oldest and perhaps most prestigious tennis competition in the world, and
for fans of the sport, a behind the scenes group tour of the legendary courts and club that hosts them is unmissable. Over the course of an hour and a half, visitors are taken to some of the club’s most recognisable and most exclusive areas, following in the footsteps of legendary players such as John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Virginia Wade, Steffi Graf and Andy Murray. Beyond the immaculately-kept tennis courts, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum provides a thoroughly entertaining and interactive journey through the history of the game, with exhibits dating from the 16th century and some exhibits personally donated by the sport’s most famous players. The combined cost of a tour and museum visit is £24 per adult. The Antoinette Hotel (www. antoinettehotel.com) is a good choice for groups seeking accommodation close to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club and offers corporate rates.
T: 020 8944 1066 E: museum@aeltc.com W: www.wimbledon.com

TWICKENHAM RUGBY STADIUM AND MUSEUM TOUR, TWICKENHAM, LONDON
Named after the school in which the game originated in the early 19th century, rugby’s modern-day spiritual home is the town of Twickenham. In this South Western suburb of London, devoted fans can soak up the exhilarating match-day atmosphere of the world’s largest dedicated rugby stadium. When the Twickenham Rugby Stadium isn’t hosting domestic or international rugby matches – it’s the home ground of the English Rugby Union Team – group travellers can discover the magic and history of the stadium on an extensive guided tour. This includes access to the famous pitch, in addition to the royal box, hospitality suites, medical room, players’ tunnel and the England dressing room, as well as the World Rugby Museum that features around 25,000 exhibits including trophies, equipment, artworks and memorabilia. The cost of the combined stadium and museum tour is £20 per adult, with group rates available for parties of 15 people or more. Twickenham Rugby Stadium has its own Marriott Hotel that offers group and corporate rates, whilst the nearby Cabbage Patch pub (www.cabbagepatch.co.uk) shares its name with the stadium and claims to be “the most famous rugby pub in the world.”
T: 020 8892 8877 E: museum@rfu.com  W: www.englandrugby.com/twickenham/stadiumtours

NEWMARKET RACECOURSE AND NATIONAL HORSERACING MUSEUM TOURS
Due to its historic associations with British nobility and royalty, horseracing has been described as ‘the sport of Kings’. Horseracing has taken place in Newmarket since the 17th century, with this attractive Suffolk market town is believed to be the birthplace of the modern sport. In addition to hosting thrilling horse races weekly from April to November, including the famous 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas Stakes, Newmarket Racecourse offers groups a varied range of half and full-day group tours. These range from visits to the National Stud Thoroughbred Horse Breeding Farm or the famous Tattersalls Bloodstock Auction House, to afternoon tea at the opulent and historic Jockey Club Rooms. Race Day Tours are also available, allowing groups to see behind the scenes as horses and trainers prepare for the day’s races. Many of these tours incorporate a visit to the award-winning National Horseracing Museum, which is staffed by former jockeys and enjoyably illustrates the history and heritage of horseracing. The museum also boasts a racehorse simulator. Newmarket Racecourse tours are priced from £11 per person to £200 per person depending on the type and duration of the tour. Smaller groups will find the White Hart Pub and Hotel (www.whitehartnewmarketpub. co.uk) perfectly located for Newmarket’s key attractions and
guests enjoy a 20% discount on the hotel’s restaurant prices.
T: 0844 748 9200 E: admin@discover newmarket.co.uk W: www.discovernewmarket.co.uk

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National Football Museum Machester

NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM, MANCHESTER
If your group is keen to learn about the history of a particular British football club, many major sporting attractions offer guided tours of their grounds, dressing rooms, hospitality suite and trophy room. However, individual teams command fierce loyalty amongst fans and any tour of an individual club will inevitably be biased in its favour. A more comprehensive and impartial view of ‘the beautiful game,’ its history and cultural importance globally can be found in Manchester’s National Football Museum. Admission is free and set over four floors. This outstanding and award-winning celebration of
football is any fan’s dream destination, regardless of whom they support. The museum possesses some of the world’s greatest collections of footballing trophies, kits and memorabilia, with exhibitions devoted to the World Cup, Sir Stanley Mathews, FIFA and the Littlewood’s Football Pools. With so much to see, groups can learn about and enjoy the introductory guided tours provided. Beginning in the museum’s Footballing Hall of Fame, each guided tour tells the story behind some of the museums greatest exhibits, gives an overview of the museum and highlights certain items that simply shouldn’t be missed. Football-obsessed groups might consider staying in the four-star Hotel Football (www.hotelfootball.com) situated at Old Trafford, or can at least dine in the solidly football-themed and adjacent Café Football (www.cafe-football.com)
T: 0161 605 8200 E: info@nationalfootballmuseum.com