So the 2013 Ashes series gets underway today, and cricket fever is definitely starting to set in – even in an office full of girls! Being brought up around cricket on a weekly basis has stayed with me into my mid-20’s, so the next few weeks are a massive part of my sporting summer diary! As much as I’d love to, I won’t ramble on about the battle of Poms vs. Aussies, but instead focus on the brilliant cities that will play host to the most exciting cricket test series to grace our glorious isles.
Nottingham (Trent Bridge, 10th – 14th July)
England vs. Australia has some history with this ground, as it was the first ever test match to be played here back in 1899. The city’s popularity stretches far beyond sport though, thanks to the abundance of culture and history that Nottingham has to offer, too. From shopping and browsing the many art galleries to walking through Bridge Field and enjoying a Trent River cruise, your time away from the cricket can be just as exciting!
London (Lords, 18th – 22nd July)
Aside from the obvious tourist attractions and major landmarks, London is also home to the greatest cricket ground in the world, Lords. The home ground for Middlesex County Cricket Club, Lords has long since been the pinnacle of English cricketing atmosphere and has played host to some of the most nail biting matches known to man. Whether before or after the test match, make sure you pay a visit to the fabulous Madame Tussauds, London which is only a mile down the road. Plus, if it’s a nice day (yes, a rarity in London I know) then Regents Park is just across the road from the cricket ground – perfect for a picnic and a pint in the sun.
Manchester (Old Trafford, 1st – 5th August)
As a Yorkshire girl at heart and an avid Leeds United fan, it’s taking all of my strength to suggest that you pay Old Trafford Cricket Ground a visit! Home to Lancashire County Cricket club and English test matches since pre-1884, if you’re looking for a proper British day out it doesn’t get much better. Surrounded by sporting history like the football ground and Manchester United Museum, you can overdose on your favourite sporting past times once the cricket’s over. There’s also the small fact that Manchester is the location of some of the UK’s best bars and restaurants! Make sure you try out the ever popular Vermillion.
Chester-le-Street (The Riverside Ground, Durham, 9th – 13th August)
The northernmost ground for this years’ test series takes place at The Riverside Ground in County Durham. It’s the first ever Ashes test match to take place here after home club Durham’s rise to success over the past ten years. Nearby Durham is widely regarded as one of the UK’s ‘must visit’ short break destinations, so if you have a spare day before or after the cricket, make sure you take some time to explore this truly beautiful city of architecture. Bang in the centre of the city is the impressive Durham Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the country.
London (The Oval, 21st – 25th August)
Back to London for the final (and hopefully white-wash sealing) test. The Oval is traditionally the home for the last English match of the summer, and was also the first ever UK ground to hold a test match. Just south of the river from central London there are one-million-and-one things you can get up to in the evenings. Whether it’s enjoying a show at the theatre dining out or just enjoy the surroundings, a test match in London is a busy weekend away.