Sporting Holidays?! You mean going on a ‘relaxing holiday’ to play sport?! That’s what I said whilst I laid in a stupor scratching my ever encroaching belly on the sofa whilst wearing sweats and watching a re-run of Loose Women. But to her credit, Katie put up a fight and reasoned that it was a sporting holiday to WATCH the sport. There, I perked up. Think of the camaraderie, the patriotism, the delicious snacks by the ringside and the chance to bellow out your lungs to scream out that high-pitched ‘WOOOOO!’ like a hyperactive dancing cheerleader! No? Just me? Okay, so here I was listening and hiding that tummy with that helpful cushion. Katie challenged me to go on a sporting holiday and be involved in the top five not to be missed events that she would like to share with you. After, she glanced at my physique and mentioned that perhaps the sporting events will inspire me…
While all eyes are on Rio as Brazil gears up to host the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016, it’s by no means the only destination for sports fans. Following your team on the road or just watching your favourite sport in an entirely different setting and atmosphere can be one of the most exhilarating travel experiences you can have. Here are some of the best sports events, along with suggestions of where to stay to see them, taking place over the next few months.
Le Mans in France
Described by petrol heads as the world’s best motor race, Le Mans first took place in 1923 and is still held every June. Beginning at 4pm, the racing lasts for 24 hours, with the top prize awarded to the team of drivers who cover the greatest distance in that time. There’s a good selection of budget hotels in the area, including the Hotel le Charleston near the train station or the stone-built Logis de la Contrescarpe which sits next to the river and has a lovely big garden for guests to relax in.
The Super Bowl in America
Even if you’re not an American football fan, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the Super Bowl. Pretty much everything comes to a standstill as the country cheers on its favourite for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. In the two weeks running up to the day dubbed super Sunday, there are parties building up the pre-game hype and the event attracts some of the world’s top singing stars to perform at half-time. The next Super Bowl takes place at the beginning of 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Gas Light Inn is a quaint little bed and breakfast in the heart of the old town, just four miles away from the new stadium complex.
Six Nations in Wales
The Scots will be looking for their first victory since 2007 against Wales in the RBS 6 Nations championship on March 15. Whoever wins, the atmosphere inside Cardiff’s all-seater Millennium Stadium is sure to be electric. You could have a few nights in cosmopolitan Cardiff before heading on to see some of Wales’ incredible scenery. Parkdean’s Trecco Bay is one of Wales’ best-sited caravan parks. Just a 40-minute drive from the stadium, it sits directly behind a stunning blue flag beach, where you could take a ball and practise a few trys of your own.
The Grand National in England
The world’s most-famous horse race is held at Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse every April, capturing the attention of the British public like no other throughout the year. Even those who don’t place a bet on anything else are likely to pay a visit to the bookies to back the horse with a name that takes their fancy or whose jockey is racing in their favourite colour. Requiring speed, stamina and bravery, the event’s most famous winner was Red Rum who took the title three times during the 1970s. The Aintree’s Premier Inn sits right next to the course or there are lots of campsites nearby in Ormskirk or further afield in Anglesey and the North Wales Coast.
Polo in Argentina
Argentine polo is considered to be the best in the world and the Argentine Open Championship draws the best players and fans from across the globe. First held in 1893, the tournament takes place in late November and early December. And, not only is there the spectacle of the sport itself, the open is played in the beautiful neighbourhood of Palermo in the capital, which has a raw energy all of its own. Painted a sunny shade of yellow, Lola House has pretty Spanish tiles and 12 good size en-suite rooms or there’s the British-run Abode, which promises luxury without the price tag you usually pay in the central Palermo area.
Win or lose, joining the crowd at one of the world’s most famous sporting events can truly help give you an entirely different look at a country’s culture.
What do you think? Shall I do a Sporting Holiday? I wouldn’t mind seeing the Grand National. After all, if there’s money to be won betting on the right horse, there’s definitely no need for the long face on holiday!