Rugby evokes passion in Yorkshire. The county is historically known for spearheading the split from rugby football union and developing rugby league, while the wealth of local talent has meant 1 in 7 England rugby union players now hail from its cities, towns and villages. An invitation to host two Rugby World Cup matches was therefore music to the (cauliflower) ears of Leeds and set in motion the planning for a whole host of celebrations throughout the city. From the chance to chat to sporting legends, to club demonstrations and even theatre productions, find out what’s on offer at three of the city’s leading destinations this September and start planning your rugby retreat to Leeds.
Despite its football ties, Elland Road Stadium actually has roots in rugby. Upon opening in 1897, the ground was solely used to host rugby league matches for both Holbeck Rugby Club and Leeds Woodville, changing hands to Leeds City FC in 1904 and then to Leeds United in 1919. Combine the fact that it hosted a rugby union match between South Africa and England North in November 1992, its renowned, feisty atmosphere and 37,914 capacity, and it’s easy to see why the venue has been chosen for both the Italy vs Canada game on the 26th of September and Scotland vs USA on the 27th. Kick-off is at 2.30pm on both days, leaving plenty of time to enjoy a Full Yorkshire Breakfast and explore the city’s many attractions before heading to the stadium, just a 6 minute drive from our 4-star stay.
The 22,000 capacity Headingley Carnegie Stadium holds a special place in the hearts of fans as the only stadium in the world in which union, league and cricket games are played. The rugby stadium was built by the team now known as the Leeds Rhinos in 1889, it hosted the first ever Challenge Cup final in 1897 and its first international rugby league match in 1908. With such a rich history, the ‘home of Leeds Rugby’ is a must-see for any visiting fan and will be offering special edition heritage tours led by dual-code legends, Sir Ian McGeechan and John Bentley. Expect behind-the-scenes insight, a look into the stadium’s history and sporting highlights, and an exclusive Q and A lunch post-tour on the 24th and 25th.
Missed out on a ticket at Elland Road? There’s no need to panic as 4,000 rugby fans will be descending on Leeds’ Millennium Square to celebrate every day throughout the tournament. Named the ‘Fanzone’, it'll offer the chance to watch matches on the big screen, sample a delicious bite to eat from local street food vendors and a enjoy a variety of family friendly activities. ‘This Girl Can’ and the first mixed ability contact Rugby Union team, the Bumbles will be on-hand to inspire and inform, while local clubs will offer demonstrations. Kids will be encouraged to practise tackling on inflatables, while local creative producers, Dep Arts will be putting on two productions, one delving into rugby’s world history and the other celebrating teamwork using 300 volunteers.
From the opening ceremony on the 18th of September, to the moment the winning team lifts the gleaming Webb Ellis Cup, we’re expecting an electrifying air of excitement throughout our city. Combining the original features of a historic corn mill and contemporary facilities, we offer a charming getaway with feather duvets, outstanding views over the Aire and an honesty bar in the heart of the city. Find our latest offers and packages here for a luxurious stay during the Rugby World Cup 2015.