As a sports fan, the offseason can be a frustrating period; a time when we’re left counting the days until the new campaign starts. This is clearly the time to take a holiday, but many of us may still be distracted and unable to relax while we wait for the action to begin.
There are options, however, to indulge your passions while on your travels and the close season is the perfect time to take a stadium tour. Here, then, are five of the best sporting arenas from around the world.
Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea’s stadium has plenty of competition from elsewhere in London, but it is widely acknowledged as the best, largely due to its interactive soccer museum. Finished in 2011, this is the largest museum of its kind in the capital and it can either be seen in isolation, or as part of the hour-long stadium tour.
Chelsea have enjoyed another successful season in 2016/17 and all the soccer odds markets have the Blues as hot favourites to win their fifth Premier League title. That success will allow manager Antonio Conte to have a tilt at adding a second Champions League trophy to the club’s cabinet so there will be even more football memorabilia to see in the months that lie ahead.
Staying in London for now, and any rugby fan should be heading west to Twickenham where once again, the stadium tour is complemented by the best museum of its kind. As an attraction that consistently receives top ratings, the World Rugby Museum in the East Stand was opened in 1996 and houses a huge collection of important memorabilia relating to the sport.
Visitors can also take in the stadium tour, and see the famous ground which has been home to England Rugby for over a hundred years.
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Outside of the UK, the stadium tour of the Nou Camp is widely regarded as being one of the best in Europe. Open all year round, excluding match days, this is a competitively priced tour which also features a museum, and Barca’s five European Cups at its heart.
The main attraction for many fans will be the fact that this particular tour really takes you into the heart of this famous club and even lets supporters sit on the bench, after entering the field of play directly through the players’ tunnel.
Wrigley Field, Chicago
In contrast with the other stadiums on this list, you don’t visit the famous home of 2016 World Series Winners the Cubs for its state-of-the-art features. Wrigley Field displays all of its 103 years, including what could be a unique attraction – Ivy-covered outfield walls.
From its plain wooden benches to its hand-operated scoreboard, this stadium isn’t a modern one in any sense of the word but that is its attraction. It’s a friendly, historic environment and its highly rated tours operate on both match days and non-match days.
Maracana, Rio De Janeiro
When it was constructed for the 1950 World Cup, the Maracana was simply the biggest stadium in the World, hosting an incredible 199,854 spectators for the final of the tournament. The size has since decreased but a tour of this magnificent arena still conveys a sense of its vast capacity and it remains the largest in Brazil, and the second biggest in the whole of South America.
While it may not be able to set records again, the Maracana, like all the stadiums on this list, is worthy of a visit for its great sense of history and the chance to connect with the sport that we love.