London lives and breathes football, from the massive stadiums all the way down to the shabbiest local pub with excited fans gathered around a television, but other sports are well represented here too. If you're a sports fans through and through, there are all sorts of things to see and do in London. Whether you're looking to pay a visit to your favourite club's home ground, play a match or two yourself, or just enjoy the game in a welcoming setting with a pint in hand, our guide to things to do for sports fans in London has you covered.
Things to do for sports fans in London
In this guide
- Where to play sports
- Sports-themed bars
- Pick up some new gear
Wembley Stadium is a British icon in both sports and music, famous the world over for hosting some of the most memorable sports events in history, as well as record-breaking shows by global superstars. The 90,000-capacity stadium, the second largest in Europe, is the home ground of England's men's national football team and has also hosted major football matches such as UEFA Champions League finals and the FA Cup finals. You can book various tours of the facilities.
Choose your champion
Wembley is far from the only stadium in London, but it is the only one that can be considered somewhat neutral ground, at least when it comes to football. Which of the others you visit will likely depend on where your football club allegiances lie. Many of them offer guided tours, some house museums dedicated to their club, and others offer additional thrills such as a skywalk. And if you're able to get tickets to a football match at one of them, go for it – it's an experience unlike any other, regardless of who's playing. Read our stadium guide for all the details.
The home of cricket
When it comes to historic sports venues, it's not all about the football stadiums – there are cricket stadiums as well. Lord's Cricket Ground is considered to be the spiritual home of this fascinating sport. One of its most striking features is the iconic Grade II listed Pavilion, which has become global symbol of the sport. If you want to learn how to wield a bat and what exactly to do with the bails and stumps, lessons are offered at the indoor cricket centre.
All about rugby
Located at Twickenham Stadium, the World Rugby Museum is home to the most prestigious collection of rugby memorabilia anywhere in the world. Launched in 1983, the award-winning museum rotates more than 41,000 exhibits through its galleries, as well as hosting special exhibitions and learning programmes. You can also book a tour of Twickenham Stadium.
The legendary mecca of tennis
This private members' club is the most famous tennis venues in the world. It's where the annual Wimbledon Championships, the only Grand Slam tournament held on grass, are held, resulting in thousands upon thousands of tennis fans from all over the world making the pilgrimage here in summer. The rest of the year, non-members can visit for a tour of the grounds or pay a visit to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.
The legend of the five rings
Built for the 2012 Olympic Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a verdant urban oasis stretching along the River Lea. It encompasses top-notch sports and event amenities, lush landscapes, well-maintained walkways, and play areas. The park houses numerous Olympics-associated attractions such as the Olympic Rings and the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, complemented by an assortment of cafés and gardens.
Where to play sports
Pitches as far as the eye can see
Encompassing no fewer than 82 football, rugby and cricket pitches, Hackney Marshes are considered the spiritual home of Sunday league football. You'll find someone kicking a ball around more or less any time of day here, regardless of the weather, but peak season is summer. Especially on sunny weekend mornings you can expect to see legions of amateur footballers chasing hangovers away with a bit of footwork.
Unleash your serve
If you're looking for some Wimbledon action yourself, grab a mate and book one of the many tennis courts around London. Both indoor and outdoor options are available, and many of the facilities offer courses or personal trainers to help improve your game. Find more details in our guide to the best tennis courts in London.
Padel is a fast-growing racket sport that's popular all over the world as a fun and exciting alternative to tennis that is easier to adapt to different skill and fitness levels than its more famous cousin. You can play it both indoor and outdoor courts in London, with dedicated padel clubs offering lessons and leagues for both casual and more serious competitors.
Pint ping pong
Likely everyone has held a table tennis paddle in their hand at one point in their life or another, on account of this popular sport being suited to both professional arenas and casual Friday night throwdowns at your local. Whether you're looking for serious training and competition or just for something to do in between sips of your pint, ping pong is played across numerous London venues. Find the best ones in our guide.
Swing like you mean it
Golf isn't to everyone's liking, but once you get into the, ahem, swing of things, it can be a surprisingly fun and strenuous sports activity. You'll want to hit the links at one of London's golf clubs for the full experience, but if you're short on time or good weather, or just want to give it a test run before committing, indoor golf simulators are a decent alternative.
Realistic F1 racing experience
Boasting an impressive collection of 60 advanced full-motion racing simulators, F1 Arcade is likely the closest the average Formula 1 fan can get to the real thing. You can tackle different racing contests and trials at this modern social gaming hub, suitable for all skill levels, as well as attend official F1 Grand Prix parties. Drinks and food are served too.
What's on the telly?
If your idea of a sports drink is more alcoholic than isotonic and if you prefer to watch rather than play, head to a sports bar. These establishments screen major sports events on screens throughout the venue to make sure you don't miss a thing, as well as providing refreshing drinks and a convivial atmosphere. The best ones can be found right here in our guide.
Pick up some new gear
Data meets sports meets art
The Goal Hanger is a one-of-a-kind shop that takes significant sports moments and milestones and commemorates them in creative infographics with the help of statistics. Their prints might feature Grand-Slam-winning rallies, lifetime achievements, iconic goals or other unforgettable moments across a range of sports, making for a great gift for sports fans – especially as you can order bespoke depictions of the moments that really matter.
All the kits in the world
The London branch of an established Manchester business is your go-to destination if you're hunting for a particular football shirt from years past. Their stock of football shirts, boots, and other accessories goes back decades and spans continents, ranging from pre-loved rarities to the latest season's kits.