London is a city with a rich sporting history, hosting the Olympic Games three times (1908, 1948, 2012). That gives a clear picture of how important sports are for UK’s capital.
It’s not hard to guess which sport takes the first spot on the list – football, of course! History proves it as well: football games have been documented in London as early as 1314, and football in its modern form was first codified in London. The city has several leading teams such as Arsenal, playing in Holloway, and Chelsea, playing in Fulham. Arsenal and Chelsea are also favourites in the Premier League.
But what is football without a great stadium? Wembley Stadium, located in north-west London, was completely rebuilt in 2007 and it’s the national football stadium.
Tennis is also high on the list. Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world and one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is being held every year at the All England Club in London. Matches are played on grass courts over two weeks, at the beginning of July. Another famous tennis tournament is the Queen’s Club Championship, held in West Kensington and regarded as a training tournament for Wimbledon.
Cricket is also loved all across UK and London makes no exception. After all, it is England’s national sport. Lord’s and The Oval are London’s Test cricket grounds. Several championship finals are held at Lord’s and it is also the place where you can visit the world’s oldest sporting museum.
Rugby union is especially popular in London’s north and west suburbs. UK’s capital has two rugby union clubs, Harlequins and Saracens. Also, the Twickenham Stadium in south west London is considered to be England’s national rugby stadium.
London is also a great place for rowing, with the River Thames being the venue for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. The race stretches over 4.2 miles on the river, from Putney to Mortlake. There are many rowing clubs based in the city such as London Rowing Club, University of London Boat Club or Thames Rowing Club.
Athletics is well represented in South London where the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre hosts an athletics tracks used for national competitions. The London Marathon held in the city since 1981 is one of the largest marathons in the world and it shows just how much Londoners appreciate sports. The London Triathlon is another big athletics event worth taken into consideration by sports lovers.
Hockey must not be forgotten. Although London only has teams playing in the lower-tier English Premier Ice Hockey League and English National Hockey League, the sport is still enjoyed by many.
It might come as a surprise to some people, but in recent years cycling appears to be more popular than ever in the capital. The Lee Valley VeloPark cycling centre was opened to the public in 2014 and is hosting numerous cycling events.
London is one of those cities with a strong sports culture that is reflected in the lifestyle of the locals. Whether you’re a spectator or a player, you can’t help but love sports.