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London: It’s the City of Sport

Sport can always find ways to thrill us, whether in the last seconds of an Olympic race, or the the last gasp of a football match between fierce local rivals.

Sometimes, our guests have flown halfway around the world to be in London for a huge match or event. And this city has played host to some amazing sporting events – so we’re celebrating what makes London the City of Sport.

Tour Guide Fact: Last year over 1 million visitors from overseas came to London to watch live sporting events

London 2012

If you were lucky enough to have visited ‘The Capital’ in 2012, it was impossible to ignore the truly special atmosphere. For the first time in over 60 years London hosted the Olympic games. It was the biggest celebration of sporting prowess. It felt like the biggest party on Earth had come to town.

The eyes of the world were firmly on our beloved city. Now, of course, the games did not disappoint: there were Gold, Silver and Bronze medals galore, and it left London with a fantastic “feel good” legacy for sport, which visitors to London can still benefit from.

Tour Guide Fact: In Preparation for the Medal Ceremonies, The London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded 205 national anthems in just 52 hours. That’s 15 minutes each

Opening ceremony London 2012

Iconic Stadia and Venues

Whether you have tickets for the big game or not, the good news is that there’s an amazing variety of places to visit all year round. Delve into the array of incredible sporting venues that the ‘City of Sport’ has to offer. From Wembley Stadium, the so-called home of football (that’s soccer, to our American friends), to the tradition of the two hundred-year-old Lord’s Cricket Ground. In almost all these venues you can enjoy a tour of the stadium, or a walk around it, throughout the day.

One great example is Wimbledon. Every summer in late June and July the very best players descend upon SW19 to fight for the most coveted of trophies in tennis. Even if you don’t strike it lucky and get a ticket, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Association (as Wimbledon is officially known) hosts a fascinating 90-minute tour. And of course, this gets you coveted access to the hallowed turf of Centre Court.

Not a tennis fan? Not to worry! There are other fantastic sporting experiences including Twickenham Stadium for Rugby, Wembley Stadium for football and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for athletics (track and field).

Tour Guide Fact: The first cricket game at the legendary Lord’s Cricket Ground was held in 1814. It was a one-day affair between the Marylebone Cricket Club and Hertfordshire County Cricket Club.

Where Did it All Begin?

Ok, so Wimbledon, the Rugby World Cup, and even the Olympic Games are certainly part of the modern international phenomenon. But the fever of competition is nothing new. We’ve been playing sport and games since we were living in caves. Kicking, throwing, fighting, and catching (and even hitting) whenever we get the chance. Organised sport is, of course, a more civilised affair. Still, London is the birthplace of a whole host of games and contests.

Take a trip to The Freemason’s Arms Covent Garden, where in 1863 a group of senior footballing figures got together, probably with a pie and a pint! They founded the world’s first national football association. Together, they set rules and regulations for football. Why not have your lunch here on our City of Sport Tour.

Freemasons arms where the football association was founded.

Stroll down to St James’s Park, where you can stand in the former palace grounds of the court of King Henry VIII. Sports were played daily in these quaint grounds. Sports like:

  • Colf (an ancestor of Golf)
  • Tillting (which we know as Jousting)
  • Bear Baiting (nasty)
  • Hunting (also nasty)
  • Archery (better)
  • Rounders (which inspired Baseball!)

The City of Sport

Us Londoners have been hooked on competitive sport since time began. Something of the hustle, bustle and majesty of the city, sparks an excited, competitive sporting spark. London is never too far away from the action. With all this in mind, London can quite easily sit at the top table of iconic, global sporting cities. It’s waiting for you to come and visit.

Want to find out more about London as the City of Sport? Why not book on to our City of Sport tour to learn about more sports founded here in the big smoke!

Tower of London with Olympic rings for biggest sport event in the world
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