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sports in the UK

Is the UK a Good Destination for Sports Fans?

Sports in the UK are huge and it has one of the biggest sports betting markets on the planet. While it has only the 21st largest population, it has the 8th biggest market for wagering on sporting events.


You don’t have to look very far to see evidence of this either; just take a look at the incredibly long list of bookmakers that offer free bet promotions in an effort to tempt customers away from their rivals and it’s clear that there is a lot going on in the UK.


While sports in the UK are huge for the British, does that make it a good place for sports fans to visit from abroad? Here we’ll discuss a closer look at sports in the Uk and how they are drawing in tourism from international fans.Sports in the UK, Wembley

A Closer Look at Sports in the UK for Tourists

International Events

Some sports fans enjoy traveling the world to see their favorite teams and athletes in action. For example, a hardcore Formula 1 fan might cross the globe several times a year to see as many races as possible in person. 


The UK is a great place to visit if these major international competitions interest you. Sticking to the theme of motorsport, among the many sports in the UK, it hosts both the British Grand Prix and the British Motorcycle Grand Prix each summer at Silverstone, while other competitions like the Speedway GP take place elsewhere.


London is also home to Wimbledon, the only tennis Grand Slam to take place on grass. It’s also where you’ll find regular cricket Test matches at Lords, and international football matches at Wembley.



Probably the most infamous of sports in the UK is Football, or soccer, which is by far the biggest sport to be spectated in the UK, and British culture is very much built around it. It’s discussed daily in many workplaces and people will even shape their identity around the club they follow.


This makes going to a match a truly unique experience. You’ll get to soak up the electric atmosphere that these passionate fans generate, using their creative chants and singing, and often throwing friendly insults at their rivals.


Not only that, but you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best football in the world, especially if you go to watch a game at one of the leading Premier League clubs.


In London alone, there are currently seven Premier League teams (though the exact number varies each year due to the promotion/relegation system). That’s on top of a further five clubs that compete at other levels of professional football in the city.


This means you have a lot of opportunities to see football games whenever you visit the capital for business or tourism.


Of course, sports in the UK, especially football, aren’t restricted to just London. In fact, many of the country’s most successful teams (recent and historic) can be found in the north of England.


Names like Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool have remained near the top of the table for decades and they all offer incredible experiences to fans, no matter where they’re from.


Sports Museums

With widely popular sports in the UK, it makes sense to have places where these sports can be remembered. Home to several fantastic sports museums, visitors to the UK can learn about the history of different disciplines, teams, and players.


Many can be found in London, but some are elsewhere.


For example, most of the top clubs in the Premier League have their own museums where they show off their silverware. Entry prices and opening times vary but, as a general rule, they’re open outside of match days.


While you’re there, you can also join one of the many stadium tours where you get to see what it’s like to walk out onto the pitch, as well as a glimpse of behind-the-scenes facilities like dressing rooms.


It isn’t just individual teams that have their own museums either. The National Football Museum can be found in Manchester.


There, you’ll find historic artifacts like the 1966 World Cup Final shirt worn by Geoff Hurst, medals, boots, caps, armbands, and other unique items of memorabilia.


For motorsport fans, the Brooklands Museum of British Motorsport in Weybridge is a great option. The museum sits on the site of the former Brooklands race track, which was the first purpose-built facility of its kind with unique (for the time) banked corners.


Today, much of the original track has been lost, though there are remnants of the original banking that will excite any petrolhead worth their salt. Inside the museum is a collection of motor vehicles, including Formula 1 cars.


The World Rugby Museum in Twickenham is a must-visit attraction for anyone that’s a fan of rugby, while the National Horse Racing Museum is the perfect destination for anyone with a passion for equine sports.


Sports in the UK, horse racing

Horse Racing

Among the many popular sports in the UK, the United Kingdom is one of the places where horse racing is most popular.


In England alone, you’ll find several ancient racecourses that have been welcoming runners, riders, and spectators for centuries. The oldest surviving one is the Chester Racecourse, which has a unique inner-city venue that offers attendees spectacular views over the entire course.


Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool is another popular destination for horse racing fans. It is the site of the biggest event of the year for the sport in Britain and Ireland, with as many as 40 horses taking part and millions of people watching from the stands and on TV.


Royal Ascot, which takes place at Ascot Racecourse, is another popular option. This event stands out as it is attended by members of the Royal Household.


In years gone by, that would have meant The Queen being present, but her passing means King Charles will be the most prominent figure at the event in years to come.


In the UK, horse racing is as much about the experience as it is about the racing itself. People tend to get dressed up in their finest regalia to enjoy a day out with their friends and have a flutter on some (or all) of the races.

sports in the UK, Ascot Reacecourse


Golf is another sport that has its roots in the UK. It was first played in Scotland in the 15th century, though it was also banned by King James II in 1457 for being an “unwelcome distraction” from learning how to fire a bow and arrow.


That ban didn’t last long, though, and the sport began to spread around the British Isles and then the world.


No matter if you’re an avid player or someone who prefers to spectate, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy golf in the UK. The country is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious courses in the world, including St Andrews in Scotland, Royal Birkdale in Southport, and Royal St George’s in Sandwich.


There is also plenty of lesser-known (and cheaper) places to play a few holes. In fact, there are so many in the UK, that you are always just a short drive from somewhere you can play golf.


In addition to full courses, you’ll also find plenty of driving ranges and mini-golf venues. In the UK, there has been a recent wave of new indoor venues that make the game a more social affair by mixing crazy golf with live music, a bar, and a restaurant.


This is the perfect spot to spend time with your friends, even if they’re not big golf fans.


In Closing

Sports in the UK are huge and they have been around for centuries. Tourism around these sports, from all corners of the globe, thrives and will continue to do so. From sporting events to museums where the icons and legendary moments of these sports are remembered, the UK is a hot spot for sports enthusiasts.

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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