great places to visit off the beaten path.
On the 2nd October 2013, the World Rugby Museum in Twickenham officially reopened after a substantial makeover. In addition, the tunnel and England changing room were refurbished and have enhanced the facility in preparation for the Rugby World Cup in 2015. Since the stadium and museum are only a 20 minute train ride from Waterloo station it is well worth a visit since this is the home to the largest rugby venue in the world and the 5th largest sports stadium in all of Europe.
Located in the east stand of the stadium is the World Rugby Museum (the largest in the world) and a great experience for all – whether a fan of rugby or interested in sports and the culture associated with them.
The WRM gives a unique insight into rugby by allowing visitors to follow the history of the game from its origins at Rugby School to the present day. Discover why people love rugby, from the grassroots game to the elite sport, and get the stories behind some of the greatest players, matches and tries.
Highlights of the Museum: In the “Play Rugby” Zone visitors take up the challenge of this new interactive area by testing your skills including speed, strength and kicking prowess, to find out “What Kind of Rugby Player Are You?”. There is also, a computer where you can design youth football uniforms and have them printed for you. There is an array of trophies on display including the Calcutta Cup, an intricately engraved trophy made from 270 silver rupees for which England and Scotland have competed since 1879. There is also film and video footage allowing you to re-live some of rugby’s most memorable moments, along with the world’s finest collection of rugby memorabilia comprised of over 25,000 iconic objects dating back to the beginning of the game. There is also a programme from the 1924 Olympics – the last time rugby was played at the Olympics (though Sevens are coming in 2016) where the USA team won gold making them the still current Olympic champions.
Tour: The guided tour gives you access to some of the most exclusive parts of the Stadium, including entry to the England dressing room, the royal box and the players’ tunnel along with a view from the pitch side.
History: Rugby Football Union (RFU) started in 1871 and the collection provides insight and perspective from its founding to the current day. Over the years many rugby unions have donated items to the museum. As the collection grew, the RFU decided to put items on display. In the late 1970s and early 80s, display cabinets contained a small sampling of the collection, and then in 1983 a museum was built in the south stand to provide a permanent home. In 1996 the museum moved to the newly redeveloped east stand. In 2013 it reopened after renovation and reimagining.
Visiting Info: The Museum is generally open Tues-Sat 10-5, and Sun 11-5, though closed on and often around match days/weekends – so check website before visiting. Tours are at specific times during these hours and should be prebooked to ensure space. Museum adult entry: £8, £20 (as of April 2015) if combined with a tour. Child prices and Concessions available. Tours times are at 11, 1pm, 3pm on Tues-Fri, and 10:30, 12, 1:30 an 3 on Sat, and at 12 & 2 on Sundays, and they start at the Rugby shop. The museum’s last entry is at 4:30pm.
Located at: Twickenham Stadium, Hamilton Rd, Twickenham, TW2 6SN
Closest transit: RAIL: Twickenham (from London Waterloo). TUBE: (1) Richmond (District Line), then R68 or 33 bus to Twickenham, or (2) Hounslow East (Piccadilly Line), then 281 bus to Twickenham.
Photo Credits: The RFU Collection.