Rugby World Cup 2015: A visitor’s guide to each host city

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City


An England fan enjoys the pre-match atmosphere at Twickenham Stadium

Heading to the UK for the Rugby World Cup 2015? Check out our definitive guide of what to see and do off the field.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

A statue of William Webb Ellis, who is widely credited with inventing the game of rugby. Photo: NEIL HALL/REUTERS


Located at the heart of the West Midlands, Birmingham is a buzzing city. Although not well known for its love of rugby, it’s still sure to put on a show for supporters. A former market town, Birmingham was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, and its pioneering history can still be explored today. Places of interest in Birmingham include the Jewellery Quarter, a designated conservation area that dates back over a quarter of a century. Often described as a national treasure, the quarter seamlessly combines the old and the new with newly establish eateries, bars and art galleries surrounding the city’s last remaining Georgian Square, and with more than 500 specialist jewellery stores, it is the perfect place to grab a special memento.

See visitbirmingham.com12

FIXTURES: South Africa v Samoa, Australia v Uruguay

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

A Wales fan waves his flag at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff. Photo: STU FORSTER/GETTY IMAGES


With most of the key fixtures, including the opening and final clashes of the 2015 Rugby World Cup being played in London, there’s no better time to explore England’s capital city. When visiting London, the question is not what can you do, but what can’t you? From catching a glimpse of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London3 to giving the Queen a wave at Buckingham Palace4 orhaving a meet and greet with some of the world’s most famous celebrities at Madame Tussauds5, the list of adventuresare endless. One of the best ways to experience all that is on offer is to jump on an iconic open-top sight-seeing bus tour which takes you to all the main attractions. If you are travelling with children, why not treat them to a visit of Hogwarts with The Making of Harry Potter studio tour. And for those who like to get off the beaten track there is a vast array of shops, bars and restaurants down quaint alleys to explore, including the world’s first Cereal Cafe.678

Looking for a different perspective?

Enjoy spectacular views of the city on the London Eye or test your nerves with a ride on the Emirates Air Line, a cable car that provides a transport across the River Thames. See visitlondon.com11.910

FIXTURES: Twickenham: England v Fiji , England v Wales, England v Australia, Wales v Australia, France v Italy, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final. Wembley Stadium: New Zealand v Argentina, Ireland v Romania. Olympic Stadium, Stratford: France v Romania, New Zealand v Namibia, Ireland v Italy, South Africa v US, Third place play-off.


Just an hour from London by train brings you to Brighton, a classic English seafaring town. But dig a little deeper than the icecream vans and quintessentially English fish and chips eaten on the beachfront or the famed Brighton Pier12 and you will find a an eclectic city that is home to some of the UK’s most creative designers and artists.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

Taking the plunge in Brighton. Photo: PAUL HACKETT/REUTERS

One of the best ways to get out and explore Brighton is by bike13. The relatively flat landscapes make it a pleasurable ride along the coast for all ages and abilities and can be easily hired. And of course, there could be no better way to end a day of exploring than with a delicious cocktail or two. Lucky Voice has turned the humble cocktail on its head, using popping candy, love hearts and brighton rock to give its specialties a bit of a boost. Or for something a little more chic, take in a show at Theatre Royal Brighton, a Grade II listed theatre that is one of the oldest in the country.

See visitbrighton.com161415

FIXTURES: South Africa v Japan, Samoa v United States.


If you are planning on visiting Newcastle for one of the three fixtures to be played at St James’ Park, then make sure you bring your dancing shoes because there is nothing quite like a night out with a “Geordie” (as anyone who’s ever seen the reality TV show Geordie Shore will attest). Newcastle sits on the north banks of the River Tyne and is united with Gateshead on the south bank by a riverscape dotted with seven bridges, including the world’s first and only tilting bridge, and watched over by the omnipresent Angel of the North, a spectacular sculpture that dominants the skyline.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

Twilight at the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle.

Just along the river, modern Newcastle comes to life at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art17. The regeneration of the Quayside is breathing new life into the former heart of Newcastle’s business district. The art on show is interchanging, with new exhibitions popping up all the time. The Baltic is also home to two restaurants and an outdoor terrace that offers fabulous views of the river and Newcastle skyline. See newcastlegateshead.com18.

FIXTURES: South Africa v Scotland, New Zealand v Tonga, Samoa v Scotland.


Manchester is so well known for its love of football that you might find the round ball game hard to get away from during a visit to this vibrant city, but then again, with the likes of Manchester United’s Theatre of Dreams19 at Old Trafford and the National Football Museum20 to explore, why would you want to? In fact, the city has so much to experience you might want to book in a few extra days.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

Shoppers and tourists strolling around Manchester City.

From getting lost in a world of shopping at the intu Trafford Centre described as “much a theme park as it is a shopping centre” to stopping for a pint in the Rovers Return with a tour of Coronation Street’s21 cobbled lanes, to embarking on a walking tour that gives you an insider’s guide into the historic Victorian-era architecture and the new developments just waiting to be be discovered, Manchester really does have it all. See visitmanchester.com22.

FIXTURES: England v Uruguay


Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium plays host to eight fixtures during the Rugby World Cup including two quarter-final clashes meaning most fans will have a bit of extra time to explore the easily accessible Welsh capital. Perhaps one of the most enthralling aspects of Cardiff is the way the city has built its modern self around its unique past. One prime exampleis the grand Cardiff Castle23, which sits smack bang in the middle of the city.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

Wales fans pose for the camera at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photo: CLIVE MASON/GETTY IMAGES

With a history spanning over 2000 years, Cardiff Castle is a remarkable piece of architecture where opulent furnishing, castle walls and underground tunnels hide secrets. Visitors can enjoy a House Tour of the castle, which takes in some of the remarkable Castle Apartments and Roof Garden. Once the tour is finished take a stroll around the pristine Bute Gardens, a tranquil oasis in the middle of a steadily growing urban metropolis.

Once you’ve had your fill of the fresh Welsh air, head across the road to the Goat Major, an ale house that serves locally brewed beer and offers a menu entirely consisting of pies. See visitcardiff.com25.24

FIXTURES: Ireland v Canada, Wales v Uruguay, Australia v Fiji, Wales v Fiji, New Zealand v Georgia, France v Ireland, second quarter final, third quarter final.


The quaint South West city of Exeter offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city with rolling countryside and 2000-year-old Roman architecture to be explored. Exeter’s historic Quayside makes it the perfect place to relax the day away.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

Pedestrians walk by businesses and residences on Cathedral Close and Cathedral Yard. This is a popular area for tourists and residents to relax near Exeter Cathedral.

Beneath the city, medieval passageways tell tales of worlds gone by, while the Exeter Cathedral is one of the best examples of medieval architecture in the United Kingdom. Looking to live like a local while in town? Grab a bite to eat at the Exeter Street Food Market that takes place every weekend. See

FIXTURES:Tonga v Namibia, Namibia v Georgia, Italy v Romania.


Take in some fresh country air in Gloucester, a beautiful archetypal English city nestled between the River Severn and the limestone villages of the Cotswolds. From the ornate cathedral to St Oswald’s Priory, Gloucester is a city overflowing with ancient architecture. Historic medieval buildings dot the landscape of this West Country city while the sights and smells of its rich nautical past fill the air of its Victorian-era quay. Here you can learn about Gloucester’s most famous son Dick Whittington whose story can be followed down hidden side streets and into sweeping courtyards. Those looking to explore a little further should take a trip to the lush agricultural landscapes of the Cotswolds or to the nearby spa town of Cheltenham. See

FIXTURES: Tonga v Georgia, Scotland v Japan,, Argentina v Georgia, and USA v Japan.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

A pupil catches a ball as he takes part in rugby practice on the playing fields of Rugby School in central England.



Milton Keynes might only be a hop and a skip from London (30 minutes by train) but it will feel like a world away from the busy tourist-filled streets of the capital. Boasting more than 5000 acres of parkland, punctuated with rivers, lakes and approximately 22 million trees, there is a reason Milton Keynes is known as “the city in the country”. From a fun-filled day at Gullivers Land theme park to a visit to Woburn Safari Park, there are plenty of adventures to keep the kids entertained. If you are keen to explore the area by water, hire a barge and take an unforgettable trip down Milton Keynes’ Grand Union Canal. See

FIXTURES: France v Canada, Samoa v Japan, Fiji v Uruguay.


Known as the “Gateway to the North”, Leeds is an eclectic city that has brilliant nightlife and exceptional craft beer. Home to a brewery for more than 200 years, Leeds is at the forefront of the craft beer and micro-brewery revolution, which can be experienced on a thoughtfully created craft beer trail.

Rugby World Cup 2015: A Visitor's Guide To Each Host City

Leeds Town Hall is a Grade-1 listed building in the city centre.

One must-do on the trail is the North Bar, known as Leeds’ original craft beer innovator. Leeds is also ideally placed on the outer edge of some of the United Kingdon’s most beautiful national parks, including the Yorkshire Dales, a sprawling area of perfect British countryside, complete with some of the best limestone scenery the United Kingdom has to offer. See

FIXTURES: Italy v Canada, Scotland v USA.


The city of Leicester is yet another perfect example of how the old and new can coexist in harmony as medieval landmarks like Leicester Cathedral and the magnificent tudor Guild Hall37 stand watch over a busy central shopping district. Leicester is also a melting pot of different cultures, something which is celebrated through food. Take a walk through the city and you will discover a plethora of international cuisine; from Indian to Kurdish and Carribean, there is something to suit even the most deserning of tastebuds..

See visitleicester.info3839

FIXTURES: Argentina v Tonga, Canada v Romania, Argentina v Namibia.

– Stuff

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