England - Twickenham Stadium
As the sport of Rugby Union was born in England, it is no surprise that they took part in the first ever international fixture in 1871, with a defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh. England have competed at every Rugby World Cup and have been the most competitive of the Northern Hemisphere sides, reaching the final on three occasions. In the 1991 tournament England beat France and Scotland en route to the final at Twickenham, where they lost 12-6 to arch rivals Australia. 12 long years later they had their revenge when an extra-time drop goal by Jonny Wilkinson handed England a 20-17 victory over the Australians in Sydney. The 2007 tournament in France also saw England make the final, losing out on this occasion to South Africa by a score of 15 points to 6.
Ground Information Back to Top ^
Twickenham is the national stadium of rugby union in England,
plays host to national team matches, the English leg of the IRB Sevens
World Series and club rugby finals. Twickers' has been the home of
English rugby since 1907, with the first international at the ground
seeing England defeat Wales 11-6 in January 1910. Twickenham has been
redeveloped many times over the years into the world-class stadium it
is today, ready and able to host the final of the Rugby World Cup in
The stadium is nestled in a pleasant area of Southwest London close to Heathrow Airport, with good transport links to Central London and beyond. There are three tiers of covered seating right around the stadium, with the East and West stands running the length of the pitch and North and South behind the posts. There are no standing terraces in Twickenham. Whilst you are quite high up in the Upper Tier, the stands are quite steep and close to the pitch, so it's not the end of the world if you find yourself in the heavens.
A concourse runs around the bowl of the stadium at each level, meaning if you so desired you could do laps (not unknown at the sevens!). There are plenty of bars, toilets and food outlets around the ground. Access to each concourse is via a mixture of stairs, escalators and lifts. On match days there are usually a selection of further bars and catering facilities on the ground level just outside the stadium or in the car park. There is also a Rugby Museum located in the East Stand, and a Marriott hotel built into the South Stand.
Getting There Back to Top ^By Car
To get to Twickenham by road, the majority of drivers will exit at Junction 12 of the M25 onto the M3. From there, follow signs for the A316 and the stadium is just off the Whitton Road roundabout (by the car dealership). Stadium parking can be booked in advance via the RFU, but for big international games demand is extremely high.
Parking in the surrounding area is extremely difficult as it is mostly residents-only.
By Train / Tube
London's transport network is a bit of a labyrinth to the outsider, but Transport for London offer an excellent journey planner that can help you get to the ground in the most efficient way. The majority of visitors to Twickenham use the train, and there are a few options to choose from;
Twickenham station is around 10-15 minutes walk from the stadium, and is served by regular services between London Waterloo and Reading. The majority of trains also call at Clapham Junction for those connecting from other parts of the South London and further afield in (e.g Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset). The journey time from Waterloo is around 30 minutes.
Twickenham station can get extremely busy on match days and is not particularly well suited for handling large crowds, so you may find yourself held outside in a queuing system on the return journey. Upgrades were made in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and there are additional services operating on match days, but the trains can still be very crowded. So if you aren't a fan of getting up close and personal with your fellow passengers your best bet is to head to Twickenham well in advance of kick-off or hang back to avoid the post-match rush. There are plenty of nice places to eat and drink!
An alternative is to travel to Richmond station, which is served by rail services on the same line as those serving Twickenham (but you jump off a couple of stops earlier), and also by the District Line of the London Underground. The District (green to non-capital dwellers) Line trains serve Central London destinations such as South Kensington (25 minutes) and Westminster (35 minutes) where a multitude of connections can be made.
Although a longer walk (approximately 30 minutes to the ground), Richmond is a popular spot for pre-game drinks and is usually served by special buses on match days that operate from the station to the stadium for a small fee.
St Margarets Station
A final option is St Margarets station, which is the stop in between Twickenham and Richmond, therefore also served by trains from London Waterloo. It's about a mile from the station to the ground and has plenty of good pubs around, but will definitely be quieter.
National Express offer coach services from a range of destinations in the UK to Twickenham on match-days, and offer a competitive alternative to transferring through central London for the majority using rail services.
Airport - 7 miles
Twickenham is a short distance from the behemoth that is Heathrow Airport, and is so close to the flight path that you can usually spot an A380 or 777 coming into land over the stadium during dull periods in a match! Flights operate to destinations around the globe.
From Heathrow, take the Piccadilly Line to Hounslow East station, and transfer to the 281 bus which passes the stadium. Total transfer time is around 45 minutes.
If you are staying in Central London, the Heathrow Express to London Paddington is by far the quickest journey into town at 15 minutes, but is also the most expensive. If you don't mind spending a bit more time on the final leg of your journey, take the regular stopping rail service to Paddington (25 minutes), National Express coach services (40-80 minutes) or the Piccadilly line of the London Underground (50-60 minutes).
Gatwick Airport - 42 miles
London Gatwick airport is also easily accessed from Twickenham - simply take a train towards London (not the Gatwick Express if you want a much cheaper fare for a marginally longer journey) and change at Clapham Junction for services to Twickenham. If you are travelling into London, there are direct services to London Victoria and London Bridge stations.
Luton / Southend / Stansted / London City
The other four main airports serving London can also be used for a trip to Twickenham, particularly if you are staying in the centre of town. Each have rail links into London and from there you can follow the rail / underground instructions above to get out to Twickenham.
Drinking Back to Top ^The best spot for pre/post-match beers depends on your choice of public transport. There are two main hubs for supporters - Twickenham and Richmond. There is usually a good buzz around both areas on matchday so it's well worth heading out in advance to sample the atmosphere.
Near Twickenham Station
Cabbage Patch (another
nickname of the stadium due to the land's previous use) is the closest
pub to the train station, and as such gets extremely busy on match
days. However, they are usually well prepared for the crowds with
plenty of bars, TV screens and food on the go.
- The Shack 68 is right beside Twickenham Station too, and is part owned by former England and Harlequins full-back Ugo Monye.
- The Misty
Moon is also in the vicinity, formerly part of the Wetherspoons chain but now privately-owned.
Heath Road is also rugby-friendly.
- The 17th Century White
a pleasant location on the riverside, and although a slightly longer
transfer from station to pint is still a popular place on match day.
- The Royal Oak (formerly the Twickenham
Tup) is a large sports-friendly venue on Richmond Road.
- The William
Webb Ellis is
a Wetherspoons pub close to the train station.
Barmy Arms is
another popular spot for rugby fans.
- The Orange Tree is on the right as you exit Richmond station and offers live sport and easy access to the shuttle buses to the stadium.
- The Sun Inn is hidden just off the main street in Richmond, but not from the regular rugby visitors.
St Margarets Station
on Winchester Road is en route between the station and the stadium,
with live sports, food and a lovely pub garden to boot.
Sleeping Back to Top ^
- The Twickenham Marriott is as close as you can get, located right inside the ground itself!
- Never fear, the Travelodge is
here! A branch of the budget chain is handily plonked right beside
Twickenham rail station.
- There is a Premier
walking distance of the stadium, and theTwickenham
Guest House is
just opposite the stadium too.
- The 4-star Chiswick Moran Hotel is also just
a short distance from Twickenham.
- If you need an
excuse to stay in the pub all night why not try the Alexander
Twickenham town centre or Dukes
- Other options in Richmond include the 4-star Richmond Inn Hotel, or the Richmond Park Hotel.
Image - Sale fan James Mooney
Make a Trip of It Back to Top ^Whilst in the area, you could check out the World Rugby Museum in the stadium that is home to a wide range of rugby memorabilia and charts the history of the sport.
Alternatively, Hampton Court Palace, Richmond Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew are in close proximity, whilst all of London's attractions are within easy reach.
- Twickenham provides over 300 wheelchair spaces (including parking) and over 700 easy-access seats in the lower tiers. Lifts are available to all levels.
- Twickenham has been the home of English rugby since 1907
- One of the stadium's nicknames is 'The Cabbage Patch', a
reference to the former use of the land on which Twickenham is built.
- If you can, leave the car behind! Traffic is pretty
congested at the best of times in this part of London and there are
usually road closures and diversions in place.
- The atmosphere in the bars and restaurants around the
stadium is great on match days before and after the game, so head out a
couple of hours before the match to join in.
- London's airports offer quick rail links to Central London
but at an inflated price. If you are happy to wait for a slightly
longer time, avoid the 'Express' services and take a regular service.
Drinking in the Ground
- At the majority of events at Twickenham there is some kind
entertainment/bar set up in the West Stand car park - check with the
specific event organiser in advance.
- Inside the ground itself there are loads of places to grab beers, teas, coffees on each level of the concourse and also at the bottom of the ground. Plenty of choice then, but as you might expect prices are above average.
Keep it Local
- Whilst many visitors opt to stay in Central London to
their rugby trip with a spot of sightseeing, plenty of people have
recommended staying closer to the stadium.
avoid the busy transport system, can soak up all the pre and post-match
atmosphere and still be within a short train journey of Central London.
- If that sounds like a plan, check out the links below. We're not going to provide a list of accommodation in the centre of town!
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