Why London is the best place in the country to watch this summer’s sports

Henman Hill at WimbledonThe summer is always a favourite time of the year for sports fans here in the UK. The football league season might be over, but over the coming weeks this year we’ve got the FA Cup final, the World Cup, and Wimbledon to name just three of the main sporting events taking place.

Perhaps saying “just” isn’t quite right here – the FA Cup final is arguably the most coveted match on the UK football calendar, the World Cup is the biggest football event on earth and Wimbledon is the most popular of the four Grand Slam tennis events. These aren’t “just” sporting events – they’re some of the most followed, watched and anticipated events in the sporting calendar.

So if we couple this with the fact London is at its busiest in terms of visitors during the summer months, it’s no real surprise that we’re often asked where you can watch X match or Y game, regardless of the day of the week or in fact, time of the day.

And the great thing about London? As with everything, no matter how specific your tastes may be, you’ll always be able to find somewhere perfect for you. It really is one of the best cities to visit if you’re a sports fan wanting to keep up-to-date with every kick of the ball or serve of the racket, and we wanted to take some time to explain exactly why.

You can watch the event (almost) at the venue without needing a ticket

Let’s take Wimbledon as an example. Tickets are traditionally hard to come by – and that’s no different for Wimbledon 2018 – and so getting seated to watch a match, particularly on one of the main courts or later in the tournament, can be more difficult than many might expect.

Rather than just settling for this fact and disappointing swathes of fans, organisers arrange for each match to be shown on huge screens outside of the venue (home to the ever-popular “Henman Hill”). You can head to Wimbledon, soak up the atmosphere and watch every match outside of the venue, enjoying your own food and drink and having a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable day.

What’s more, some fans actually prefer this approach as it means they can make it a family occasion. If you have young children, taking them to Wimbledon can induce all sorts of headaches. But if you’re outside of the venue, you can have a picnic, take as many toys as you can carry and let them play freely whilst you enjoy the tennis.

Late night sports bar aren’t just for America

Moving inside, the ‘sports bar’ might be an American tradition, but over the years they’ve gradually made their way to the UK and London in particular has a variety of bars showing every sport imaginable.

And whilst we’re quite fortunate this year in terms of the World Cup – the fixtures for the 2018 World Cup mean if you’re staying with us in London you’ll be able to view most games at reasonable times of the day – the sports bars will undoubtedly be showing them, and any replays or insights, whatever time it is.

They make for really great places if you’re a solo traveller and a sports fan, too. You might be able to watch the FA Cup final in your hotel room, but soaking up the atmosphere in a place where you know everyone else is a sports fan? Now that’s appealing.

One of the most popular examples in London of such a sports bar is ‘The Carlsberg Sports Bar’ located on the other side of St James’s to us here at DUKES Hotel – and being located in the Empire casino, not only is it 24/7, but it’s the perfect connection to our third point.

Casinos often have it all

London may not have the same ‘city that never sleeps’ moniker as some other cities around the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find what you want if you look for it.

The city is scattered with casinos and many have a 24/7 license, giving you the opportunity to eat, drink and enjoy whatever casino game takes your fancy irrelevant of the time of day – and for most, having a lounge area to kick back and watch sports in is a key part of their offering.

Often the go to place for US boxing matches that don’t start until the early hours of the morning here in the UK, the atmosphere is very much relaxed, informal and especially in the early hours, it can be surprisingly quiet.

Enjoying the summer sports in London

London loves sports. From the mainstream to the niche, whatever your chosen sport is, you’ll be able to find it in London – and with this summer one packed full of sport, you’ll find fewer places better to enjoy them than those right here in the city.

Image courtesy of Jonathanawhite

Is spring the best time to visit London?

The green trees of spring in a London parkIt’s over a month since the festivities of Christmas. We’ve all put up with the cold weather, most people have been back into the swing of work for several weeks and at DUKES we’ve been looking forward to the year ahead.

Being located in St James’s, we know we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the sights, enjoy the atmosphere and take in everything this wonderful city has to offer every single day of the week.

As Walter Besant said: “I’ve been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day.”

From the bitter cold of late through to the blazing hot summer days, you’re never at a loss of something to do when you’re staying in London. Indoors or out, right in the middle of the City or at the very edge of the outer boroughs, it’s somewhat of a cliché now, but there really is something for all.

With that said, everyone has their favourite part of the year when they like to spend time in London; that time where everything just falls into place and you have the brilliant mornings, the best days and wonderful evenings.

And it’s hard to argue with the people who say spring is the best time to visit.

The best British weather

Kicking off the reasons why, let’s start with one of our favourite things to talk about – the weather!

Generally seeing temperatures of between 11 and 15 degrees during the day, it’s the ideal temperature for everything. You can wrap up with a jacket if you’re feeling cold, but don’t need to wear half a dozen layers to combat the icy winds of wintertime..

Similarly, with these higher temperatures comes very little by the way of rainfall (at least not of the torrential variety). A shower here and there is easy to cope with – perhaps even enjoy – when you can jump in and out of somewhere to shop, or grab a bite to eat without needing to take off coats, jumpers and hats..

But whilst the milder weather is undoubtedly an attractive part of springtime in London, it has to be the longer days that are particularly pleasing – by the time we’re into May, it’s generally light well past 8pm, making the days seem longer, which is fantastic when you’re trying to see as much as you can on your visit.

Sights and attractions for everyone

And if you’re visiting in spring, you can be certain there’ll be enough for you to see and do.

By way of an example, let’s take a look at some of the events we’re looking forward to between 1st March and 31st May this year:

  • St Patrick’s Day: 17th March
  • Good Friday: 30th March
  • Easter Sunday: 1st April
  • Easter Monday: 2nd April
  • London Marathon: 22nd April
  • St George’s Day: 23rd April
  • The Royal Wedding: 19th May
  • FA Cup Final: 27th May

And these are just eight of the most notable events that come to mind straightaway – it doesn’t include some of the others that we’re particularly looking forward to, including International Health Day on 7th April and – conversely – National Hamburger Day on 28th May!

You can make it a family break

As mentioned above, Easter falls right in the middle of spring this year. With many schools closing for two weeks, it’s this time of year when a family visit to London can be ideal.

If you’re restricted to school holidays, the summer break is a brilliant time to come, but it’s undoubtedly warmer and busier. This can bring with it a fantastic atmosphere, but we can’t get away from the fact you’ll also see more queues for most attractions.

This isn’t the case over Easter. Easter week is definitely busier than those before and after, but it seems more manageable; there aren’t as many people compared to the height of summer, but all of the attractions are open – including the ever-popular street performers of Covent Garden – and so you get all of the benefits with none of the downsides.

Plus, it can be warm enough to take a picnic along to Green Park (a very short walk from DUKES) and spend a day enjoying a part of London that’s over 400 years old and where you’ll find arguably the most ‘natural’ part of the city – unlike many of the other parks in London, Green Park is almost completely free of buildings, statues or monuments, instead dominated by towering trees and wildflowers.

Visit when you can

We love London in the springtime. It’s a truly magical time to visit this wonderful city.

But we also love it in summer, winter and autumn. Each season really does bring something new to London.

If you only have the opportunity to come and see us in the months outside of spring, we’re confident you’ll have as spectacular of time as if you were visiting in spring itself. Yes, spring in London is fantastic – but the reality is, London has so much to see, do and experience that it’s impossible to say that one time of the year is better than the other. It’s always a fantastic time when you’re walking the streets of London!

Planning a trip to London this spring? We’ve got an array of offers to make your stay as enjoyable as it can, from half term breaks through to romantic escapes!

Image courtesy of Cristian Bortes.