Leicester Tigers - Welford Road
Tigers (originally known as Leicester Football Club) were formed in
1880 and adopted their famous scarlet, green and white hoops fifteen
years later. The club have been based at Welford Road since 1892 which
today holds the title of the largest purpose-built club rugby stadium
Leicester's trophy cabinet must be overflowing - they have a long list of victories stretching back to 1898 when the Midlands Counties Cup was won with victory over Moseley. The first victory at a Twickenham final came when Tigers won the John Player Cup in 1979, again defeating fellow midlanders Moseley. They went on to retain this trophy for the following two seasons with victories over London Irish and Gosforth. When league rugby was introduced in 1988 Leicester were the inaugural winners, and as of today they have ten English premiership titles to their name, the last coming in 2013 when the Tigers defeated Northampton Saints at Twickenham.
Ground Information Back to Top ^
Welford Road has hosted rugby matches since 1892, and even hosted international rugby as early as 1902 when England defeated Ireland 6-3. The first game at the ground under lights was played in 1964 and the old ground has been continually developed and expanded over the years into one of the world's greatest club rugby grounds, and not just in terms of size. The atmosphere on a big match day at Welford Road is hard to beat, with the passionate fans kept close to the action and well-oiled from the many bars inside!
The most prominent addition to the ground in recent times is the all-seater Caterpillar stand that towers over the pitch along the touchline. Opened in 2009, this stand alone can hold 10,000 supporters. Opposite the Caterpillar stand on the South side of the ground is the Holland & Barrett Stand, with seated areas and a large terrace along the front that gets pretty rowdy on matchdays. If the game is a sellout though you're recommended to get to the terrace early as it fills up and is not the easiest to find a space in.
To the East behind the posts lies the Goldsmiths stand, an all-seater structure. To the West lies the newest addition to Welford Road and is full of all sorts of things in the manner of all new stands. You'll find just over 3,000 seats for watching the match in addition to the ticket office, lounges, shops and a concourse area.
Getting There Back to Top ^
View Leicester Tigers Rugby Guide in a larger map
Whilst the proximity to the M1 motorway means getting to Leicester by car is easy, as in most UK cities parking isn't the easiest. Here are a few options for those who can't leave the car behind.
- The King Power Stadium (home to Leicester City football club) is a 10-minute walk from Welford Road and offers £5 parking on match days that can be pre-booked online.
- There is an NCP car park that although pricey, is situated right next door to the ground. This will get full well in advance of kick-off, and will also restrict departures until 30 minutes after the match finishes - not ideal for those who need to get away quickly.
- The local Council's Park and Ride services operate every 15 minutes from three locations to Leicester City Centre.
- Regent College on Regent Road (LE1 7LW for sat-nav fans) is a 10-minute walk from Welford Road and offers further paid car parking spaces.
are some free car parking spots in the terraced streets around
Clarendon Park (LE2) and Raw Dykes Road south of the ground, although
as they are residential areas do take care to park responsibly and
check for restrictions.
Probably the easiest way to travel if you can - Leicester's newly revamped train station is no more than 15 minutes by foot from Welford Road. Upon leaving the station, cross the road, turn left onto Waterloo Way and continue until you see the ground! Regular services run to Birmingham New Street (where connections to most destination can be made), Sheffield, Nottingham, Cambridge, York and London.
East Midlands Airport
The closest airport to Leicester is East Midlands, approximately 19 miles to the North. Popular with budget airlines FlyBe and Ryanair, scheduled flights operate to many destinations in the UK and Europe. Regular 'Skylink' buses operates from the airport to St Margaret's station in Leicester 24 hours a day, with the transfer taking around 1 hour.
Birmingham Airport is only 37 miles away, and is also easily connected to Leicester. Jump on a short train service to Birmingham New Street, where connections can be made for services to Leicester. Total journey time approximately 90 minutes.
London Luton Airport
London Luton Airport is also relatively close to Leicester - take the shuttle bus from the airport to Luton Airport Parkway rail station before taking a 1-hour train journey to Leicester.
London Stansted Airport
London Stansted Airport is also connected by rail to Leicester, with hourly direct services operating but they do take around 150 minutes.
The Caterpillar Stand
Drinking Back to Top ^In The Ground
As a dedicated rugby ground, the overseers at Welford Road have wisely provided plenty of options for the thirsty punter. The substantial 'Final Whistle' bar located on the ground floor of the Caterpillar stand is open before, during and after matches. There are also two bars in the underbelly of the Holland & Barrett stand.
Before/After the Game
As both a student and a rugby city, there are no shortage of options for grabbing a drink in Leicester.
- The creatively named 'The Pub' on New Walk has numerous ales and lagers on draught and serves up decent grub as well.
- Just across the road from The Pub is The Kings Head on Kings Street, recently been taken over by Black Country Ales who have given it a new lease of life. Cosy with a decent part-covered patio area it's an unfussy drinker's pub offering basic grub.
- The Swan and Rushes is another favourite that can get very busy on match days due to its size, quality and proximity to the ground.
- Criterion on Millstone Lane is another beer drinker's pub - it doesn't look like much but is a regular CAMRA pub of the month and also serves up a selection of pizzas.
- Salmon is another CAMRA award-winner, a handsome old pub behind the main Highcross shopping centre. Several guest beers on tap, and offers Sky Sports if you want to catch a game.
- Nearby on Churchgate is the Longstop, another good freehouse with lots of good real ale on offer.
- Also worthy of a mention is the Ale Wagon on Rutland Street off Charles Street. A little shabby at the corners, not one for those who want elegance, music, Sky Sports etc!
- The Sir Robert Peel is a decent, old fashioned backstreet pub behind the Royal Infirmary and just about a good touchfinder from Welford Road.
- On the way into Leicester from the South you'll find two pubs beside each other on Welford Road itself - the Donkey and the New Road Inn.
- If you're arriving by train, Time Bar next to the station is convenient and will have plenty of supporters in it.
- There are also two Wetherspoons and branches of the Varsity, O'Neills, Scream and Walkabout chains in Leicester.
Eating Back to Top ^There are catering facilities inside Welford Road as you would expect, but Leicester is famous for its curryhouses which are ideal for a post-match feed. Here are a few recommendations;
- Kayal on Granby Street and The Tiffin are within easy walking distance of Welford Road and are known to serve up a good curry.
- The Taj Mahal on Highfields Street is one of the oldest in the city.
- If you don't mind a bit of a walk, the Golden Mile along Belgrave Road is renowned for its authentic Indian restaurants. Recommendations include the Grand Durbar, Bobby's Chaat House and Feast India.
- Terracotta is a Chinese buffet on High Cross Street, which can get pretty busy on Saturday nights.
- Cedars Lebanese restaurant is on Church Gate for those who like their Eastern Mediterranean flavours.
- Bistro Pierre on Millstone Lane is a reasonably priced French bistro.
- Barcelonetta on Queen's Road is an good independent tapas bar and very handy for those who park in and around Clarendon Park.
- For Italian lovers, Casa Romana on Albion Street is a recommended family-owned restaurant in a central location.
Sleeping Back to Top ^
- The Holiday Inn Express adjacent to the football stadium is very convenient for Welford Road.
- There are branches of the Premier Inn and Ibis chains near to the train station, and convenient for pubs and restaurants.
- The Belmont Hotel is located on the pedestrian New Walk.
- The Ramada Encore (budget version of the Ramada chain) is a bit further from the ground but right in the centre of town.
- If you're looking for something a little different, the boutique Maiyango Hotel is also centrally located.
- The ever-present Travelodge also has a branch in Leicester.
Make a Trip of It Back to Top ^Leicester isn't particularly on England's tourist trail, but there are a few things to see and do for those who have had their fill of beer and curry;
- Although not obvious at first glance, Leicester is in fact one of the oldest cities in England. The Jewry Wall museum in the city centre holds local artifacts from the iron age, Roman and medieval periods. Free entry.
- Leicester is also home to the National Space Centre, to the North of town just off the A6. Take the 54 bus from Charles Street.
- Fan's Forum
- Leicester Tigers offer designated disabled parking at the
ground (subject to availability).
- There are 100 wheelchair bays in the Caterpillar, Goldsmiths and Holland & Barrett Stands that offer good views from the ground level, and seating for ambulant and visually impaired supporters. Assistants receive a complimentary ticket to the match.
- In Europe, Leicester are one of the few sides to have achieved back-to-back Heineken Cup wins, defeating Stade Francais in Paris (2000-01) and Munster in Cardiff (2001-02).
Rugby World Cup 2015
- When it was announced that England would host the Rugby
World Cup in 2015, it was assumed that Welford Road would host some
fixtures given that it is the largest club rugby ground in the country.
- When the host venues were announced however, the rugby nation was shocked to find that the football stadium nearby had been selected as Leicester's stadium for the competition.
- There are plans to increase the capacity of Welford Road further to 30,000.
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