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29 Sep AA Roadwatch RWC Guide to Twickenham

The home of English rugby since 1907, Twickenham is the fourth largest stadium in Europe, seating an impressive 82,000 spectators.

Twickers, as it’s sometimes called, will be home to some of the biggest fixtures in this year’s World Cup including both semi-finals and the final itself.

Another nickname for the stadium is ‘The Cabbage Patch’, which stems from the fact that the land the stadium was built on was originally used to grow cabbages.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA Customer and you’re travelling to the Rugby World Cup we have a variety of AA Reward offers especially for the event itself; including ferry crossings, accommodation and food and drink. Click here to find out more.

Getting There

By Train/ London Underground

Probably the easiest option for getting to Twickenham is via the train.

There are regular trains to Twickenham train station from London Waterloo, Clapham Junction, Reading, Ascot and Windsor & Eton Riverside. It’s just a short walk from the train station to the stadium. When you come out of the station, turn right and then continue down Whitton Road (follow the crowd).  You could also get a train to Whitton, St Margarets and Hounslow stations, which are also in the vicinity of the stadium.

Twickenham Trains

The nearest Underground stations to Twickenham are Hounslow East for the Piccadilly Line, and Richmond for the District Line. There is then a shuttle bus between Richmond Station and the stadium, before and after the matches.

By Bus

As mentioned above, there’s an RFU shuttle bus between Richmond Station and the stadium, before and after matches. It’s very cheap with the fare before the match only costing 50p (which is donated to charity) while after the match, the bus is free.

London Bus also run regular services which pass close to the stadium: 281, 267, 481, 681 and H20. You could also take the R68, R70, 33, 110, 290, H22 or 490 to Twickenham town centre and then walk to the stadium, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

By Car

To be honest, if you can, leave the car behind and get public transport to Twickenham. As you can imagine, traffic gets very busy around Twickenham, especially on match days so in addition to sitting in long delays, you will also have to battle with road closures and diversions that will be in place.

roads- micks garage

If you are driving to the stadium though, depending on where you’re coming from, your route to Twickenham will vary, obviously.

Most people will travel along the M25, exiting at junction 12 onto the M3 which then merges onto the A316. The stadium is located off the A316 on Whitton Rd, which is just off Whitton Rd roundabout, by the car dealership.

Alternatively, you can take the M4/ A4 out of London and follow signs for either the A310 or the A316, both which will bring you in the direction of the stadium.

The venue will be heavily signposted so if you take either of these routes, make sure to follow the appropriate signage to get you there.

Car Parking

There is parking at Twickenham Stadium but it needs to be booked online in advance. It’s also worth noting that the demand for such parking will be extremely high so you need to book it well in advance. Car parking can be booked through the RFU eTicketing website.

There is also an off-site car park called Rosebine Avenue. It’s next to the Twickenham Stoop (Harlequins RFC) on the A316 (Chertsey Rd). This is located around 10 minutes’ walk from the stadium and is also easy to get to from the M3 and M25.

The stadium is located in a residential area so parking in the surrounding area is quite difficult as it is mostly reserved for residents. Any unauthorised vehicles will be towed away and you don’t want to be dealing with that headache after a match. A company called JustPark offer spaces in the local area so do check them out.

You also have Park & Ride options open to you. You can park at Kempton Park, which has 3,000 car parking spaces and then take the dedicated rail/ bus shuttle to the stadium. You can also park at the Hounslow Civic Centre, where there are 500 car parking spaces, and then take the dedicated bus shuttle

Road Closures

There will be various road closures and restrictions in place during the World Cup, with the A316 particularly affected, which is a main route to the stadium. All road closures and restrictions in place can be found on the local council’s website here.

Places to Watch the Match Nearby

If you’re heading to London with the hope of picking up a ticket while there but it doesn’t work out, you have plenty of options to watch the match at pubs close by which are popular with rugby fans and offer a great atmosphere.

Located about 1.5km from the stadium is The Cabbage Patch. One of the first pubs you’ll see if you’re coming out of Twickenham train station, it’s quite a large pub which gets very busy when there’s a match on so you can be guaranteed some long queues. There’s usually plenty of banter between the fans and plenty of big screens to watch the matches on too.

Not too far away from The Cabbage Patch is The William Webb Ellis. Named after the man who apparently invented rugby, the pub is part of the Whetherspoons chain so is a little easier on the wallet both in terms of food and drink. You can also try and get your seat on one of the many comfy armchairs dotted around the venue.

Two other popular “rugby pubs” are located a little away from Twickenham. The first is “The Grand” in Clapham. The reason this place is a popular sports bar is due to its massive screen on which it shows matches. Measuring  24ft by 15ft, it is the largest sports screen in the UK, which is a reason in itself to drop by. There are also six other 50 inch plasma screens “strategically positioned” (according to their website) around the pub.

Finally, “Faltering Fullback” in Finsbury Park is another popular spot, especially with Irish fans, probably because it’s Irish run. Somewhat of a quirky little spot with quite a cool multi-tiered beer garden that always impresses patrons. As well as decent screens to watch the matches, it also offers Thai Food at reasonable prices.

Guide to London

Getting Around

Other than getting around London on foot, which is very much doable, the second easiest option is to use public transport as the city has quite an expansive network in place, whether that be via the bus, tube, train, Overground or on the bike.

Presuming you’re staying for more than two or three days, it’s worth purchasing an Oyster card. Like the Leap card here in Ireland, it’s a touch on/ touch off card that you can use across the bus and tube network with different travel zones resulting in different fares.

London_Oyster_Card

Credit: Rachel Lovinger/ Under CC license

You can buy an Oyster Card at any Tube station for £5 and you then add money onto it. When you’re finishing up your trip to London, you can return your Oyster card at any Tube station and you will be refunded your £5 deposit as well as any cash you may have on your card.

If you don’t want to get an Oyster card you can also pay as you go and purchase tickets at a given station before boarding. You could also purchase a Day Travelcard which can be used for a whole day’s travel. More details can be found here.

There are discounts available for under 11s, 11-15 year olds and also 16-18 years. This is all explained on the official Transport for London website.

You can now also use Apple Pay to pay as you go on public transport around London. For more info, see here.

You can search how much it will set you back to travel between two points using the Transport for London site here.

The Tube

You can download Tube maps here as well as pick them up at any station. There are also some very good apps on Android and iPhone which are handy to have so you can always glance at your phone to check when your next stop is, or what route to take, instead of fussing about with a large map.

London_Tube

Trains run from 5:30am to approx. 1am. Keep in mind that the trains are very busy during rush hour so give yourself plenty of time if travelling from 7am to 10am and again between around 4pm and 7pm.

The Bus

With over 700 bus routes around London, there won’t be many areas you can’t get to on the bus. Services run between 5:30am and 12:30am. After this, there are over 100 routes which run overnight. They usually run at a minimum of every 30 minutes but some run every five minutes. If you have a Day Travelcard, it is still valid on these buses up until 4am.

The Train

Generally speaking, most visitors to London probably won’t end up using the services, you may still find using a mixture of the train and the tube results in a quicker journey time. Most services don’t actually run through London City Centre with the Thameslink being the exception, running from north to south. Most stations are on the periphery of the city centre but the Tube’s Circle Line connects with most of National Rail services around London. You will be able to use your Oyster card on National Rail services as long as it’s within travel zones 1-6. Keep in mind it is a little more expensive using the train than the tube or bus.

There are also Airport Express Rail services which run to Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted.

DLR (Docklands Light Railway)

DLR is another rail network which operates in East London. Operating much like The Tube in terms of frequency, it also operates above ground.

The Overground

While many people may refer to the “normal” train as the Overground, there is actually a dedicated Overground service which runs in north London. It’s much like the Underground and features on the Tube maps as the Orange line.

By Bike

The London equivalent of the public bike schemes in Limerick, Cork, Galway and Dublin, the public cycling scheme is “Santander Cycles”, although most people refer to them as “Borris Bikes”. Like in Ireland, you rent the bikes from one bike station and return them to another.

Cycling

Credit: Tejvan Pettinger/ Under CC license

Like here, there are cycling lanes but they can be patchy and, again, like here, there is a little angst between cyclists and motorists. You can find all the info you need for cycling around London here.

Car Rental

If you’ve decided to drive around London for the World Cup but AA_Car_hireyou’re renting a car instead of bringing your own, don’t forget that you can rent a car with The AA. You can book it online here, and it is available at almost every airport, city or ferry port worldwide, and it searches various companies which offers car rental.

For that extra piece of mind, make sure you have breakdown cover. For more information on European Breakdown cover, see our website here. Also, if you do break down in the UK, you can call the AA on 0800-88-77-66.

6 Things to Do in London

From musicals to galleries, historic walks to beer tasting and all things royal family, you’ll never be short of things to do in London; all tastes are catered for.  We’ve picked a handful of highlights to give you a flavour of what’s on offer in good old London town.

Keep in mind that if it’s your first time in London, it’s worthwhile doing a bus tour to give you an overview of the city, its history and what it has to offer. It’s always helpful to do this and you can then go back to any particular sights that tickled your fancy.

1. The London Eye

Tube Stop: Waterloo

Quite an impressive feat of engineering, the London Eye offers some very impressive views across the city. A ride in one of the 32 pods lasts 30 minutes and isn’t a bad introduction to the city and what it has to offer on an architectural level. It’s cheaper to book in advance online. Tickets cost £20.70 for an adult and £14 for children. Children under 4 are free.

2. Tower of London

Tube Stop: Tower Hill

A look at the somewhat gruesome history of the United Kingdom is on offer at the Tower of London. While primarily used as a residence for royalty up until the 16th century, it then became more famous for being a prison and saw the death of two kings and three queens. These days, you can wander around the impressive structures with plenty of historic artefacts along the way, with the highlight being the Crown Jewels. There are very good one hour tours which you can take and they’re free so that’s always a bonus.

3. Camden Markets

Tube Stop: Camden Town

According to Lonely Planet, around 10 million people visit Camden Market each year and it’s easy to see why. With four main markets (Buck St Market, Lock Market, Canal Market and Stables Market), there’s sure to be some something that will catch your eye. From arts and clothing to bags, jewellery and shoes, the list is endless. A great place to people watch; you can also grab a bite to eat and a drink from one of the many food and drink outlets in the area and enjoy it by the canal. There are hipsters galore pottering around. You’ve been warned.

4. British Museum

Tube Stop: Holborn

Rated the top thing to do in London on Tripadvisor, the British Museum is one of the world’s top museums and is a must for look back at the world’s history. Collections from around the globe filled the vast space at the museum, which architecturally is also quite impressive. One of the favourites sections for many is the Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. Bear in mind that it is a very popular spot so gets quite busy at times and your day out there may involve some queuing. Other museums and galleries worth visiting include the National Gallery, National History Museum, the Tate Modern and also the Science Museum.

5. The West End

Tube Stop: Various

If you can, you should try and squeeze in a show on the West End. While tickets can be expensive, the productions are top notch. Some of the top shows include:

  • The Lion King – Fun for all ages and a very impressive production.
  • The Book of Mormon – Very risqué but hilariously funny. From the minds of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone so you can guess the type of humour.
  • Mamma Mia – Obligatory nod. You will almost definitely see people dancing in the isles by the end of the show.
  • Wicked – It defies gravity… see what we did there?!
  • Billy Elliot – Worth a look even if not a fan of the film (who isn’t?).
6. Hamleys and Harrod's

Two very well-known stores, both are handy places to go if you’ve got kids in tow as they both have plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Harrod’s has quite an impressive toys department too. If getting the Tube, for Hamleys it’s Oxford Circus while for Harrod’s, it’s Knightsbridge.

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Sharron Lynskey
Sharron.Lynskey@theaa.com