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Twickenham is as celebrated as the game of rugby is itself, acknowledged as the most famous venue in all of rugbydom. For many fans, a visit to the historic place seems like a pilgrimage to a hallowed sports mecca, a once in a life time memorable event.
From its humble beginnings in 1909/1910, when the RFU bought a cabbage patch in the Borough of Richmond, the stadium has produced some of the most famous rugby union test matches. It started with wooden stands, some seats, some standing, and the first contest occurred between the Harlequins and Richmond. King George V offered the royal christening in 1910 when England defeated Wales.
In 2004, a new South Stand was built and raised total capacity to 82,000. In addition, a 156-room Marriott Hotel and conference center were built into the stands along with a large sports store selling England rugby merchandise.
For many, the day begins in London at Victoria Station to take a short train ride to Twickenhan. The parade of posters announcing important test matches appear on the Underground, easily visible during the long escalator rides.
Passengers descend the train, and start the short, winding, downhill walk to the stadium. In front of the main entrance is the enormous line-out statue. Fans enter and take their seats.
An interesting experience is to take the escorted stadium tour, either before a match or during the week (Closed on Monday). Visitors are taken through the Royal Box, the hospitality suite, medical room, players’ tunnel, and also a view of the pitch from the top of the stadium. The cost is £16 for adults and £10 for the Under16/Over 60 groups.
World Rugby Museum
The repository for all rugby items. It is also closed on Mondays. Separate entrance fee or combined with the Stadium Tour. To learn more, go to www.rfu.com
The Twickenham book (featured in photo).
For sale on Amazon at about $21.00. A wonderful retrospective of the stadium, replete with photos from bygone days, and museum relics. A wonderful gift for the rugby aficionado. (Also in the UK, you can buy the book: "Twickenham, 100 Years of Rugby HQ," published in 2010 by the RFU.)