Rugby fans around the world are counting down the days until The Rugby World Cup kicks off on the 19th September in the UK.
If you’re one of the lucky ones heading over to ye old Blighty to watch the Wallabies battle it out -- make the most of your visit with the help of Lisa Perkovic, Expedia Blog Editor.
Match: Australia vs Fiji, 23rd September
Location: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Wales
You’ll be crossing over to the land of red dragons for the Wallabies’ first match. The capital city of Wales, Cardiff and its surrounding areas are home to several archeological ruins so there’s plenty of sightseeing for the history buffs in between the rugby action. Make a beeline for Cardiff Castle, where everyone from the Romans to the Vikings and the Normans had a go at fortifying the city.
For a spot of pop culture history, the Galifrey Museum’s Dr Who Exhibition has props and costumes from the last 50 years of filming, much of which took place in the BBC studios nearby.
Diehard Dr Who fans can also hop on filming location tours around the city.
Come match day, expect to see this rugby-loving city heaving, regardless of who is playing. Pubs around Millennium Stadium will be packed but try squeezing in a pint at craft beer house, Zero Degrees, located directly opposite the stadium.
Wander further down Westgate St and onto Church St and you’ll hit the City Arms and The Old Arcade.
If you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, expect to stay at hotels further away from the sporting action -- The St David’s Hotel and Spa sits on Cardiff Bay and isn’t too far from the stadium.
Match: Australia vs Uruguay, 27th September
Location: Villa Park, Birmingham
Birmingham is booming. Shrugging off its industrial past, England’s second largest city is now home to some seriously cool architecture, a burgeoning art scene and a diverse community of locals affectionately known as Brummies.
Before kick-off at Villa Park stadium start your visit with a trip to the library. Yes, you heard right, the library. Located in Centenary Square, this architectural marvel cost $400 million to construct and spans 10 floors -- with dedicated music and Shakespeare libraries, outdoor garden terraces and 25 miles of archives. Delve into the archives for photographs of the Aston Villa Football Club, which began life at Birmingham’s Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel and has called Villa Park home since the late 1800s.
Villa Park stadium is located north east of the city centre so stay in town to be closer to the main tourist attractions.
Prepare for the big match by swinging past the Balti Triangle. This pocket of the city bound by Moseley and Stratford roads is home to dozens of curry restaurants – the city is the self-titled “curry capital of the UK”.
Match: Australia vs England, 3rd October, and Australia vs Wales, 10th October
Location: Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham Stadium is practically a hallowed ground when it comes to the rugby, especially for the Aussies -- it was the site of our victory against England in the 1991 Cup final. Dating back to 1909, and the home of the World Rugby Museum, the stadium will be a busy base for fans during the Cup, especially during these two big matches between old foes.
The William Webb Ellis pub is just down the road and is named after the inventor of the game so expect the atmosphere to be very merry as you partake in an ale or two surrounded by memorabilia.
The Barmy Arms Riverside is another popular rugby pub nearby but steer clear unless you want to be heckled -- England fans will be out in full force.
Accommodation options out at Twickenham are sparse so your best bet is to stay in London and hop on the train -- the station is a short walk from the stadium.