Watch Steve Ridgway of the British Tourist Authority talk to Jason Dasey in the video above about what visitors to the UK can look forward to this summer


Over a million fans will watch a game at this summer's World Cup, and for many the tournament represents an opportunity to get to know England and Wales much better. The 11 World Cup venues vary widely in character, ranging from the prestige of Lord's to the character of Taunton, and from historic Trent Bridge to the modern Ageas Bowl. Naturally, so too do the areas in which they are based. If you're in these cities, here's a bunch of things to add to your itinerary.

The Ageas Bowl, Southampton - Boundary Lakes golf course
Though undeniably picture-perfect, the Ageas Bowl's location takes something away from its beauty for fans travelling on match days: it is a half-hour train or bus ride from Southampton, and an ordeal to get to by car. Luckily for the players, there is now a four-star hotel at one end of the ground, with an 18-hole golf course on its doorstep. Expect to find World Cup squad members on the course throughout the tournament, not least before England's game against West Indies on June 14: Ben Stokes, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler all consider themselves handy players. Anyone can book a tee time here, with green fees starting at £25.

The Brightside Ground, Bristol - Fed 303 cafe
A beautiful, busy city in the south west, Bristol found an unwelcome place in English cricketing history in 2017 thanks to Ben Stokes' infamous brawl outside a nightclub, which saw him miss the Ashes defeat in Australia. The Brightside Ground is on the outskirts of the city, but just round the corner from a brilliant row of cafés and restaurants. Fed 303, which opened last year, is the pick of the bunch: it's a hipster hangout with exposed brickwork and good coffee, and has quickly become a favourite with the Gloucestershire squad.

The County Ground, Taunton - Millichamp and Hall
Taunton is a quiet town of 60,000 people, and perhaps unsurprisingly, cricket is an obsession for most of its residents. The County Ground is a centrepiece of the town, with a hidden gem on its premises in the form of bat-makers Millichamp and Hall. Founded in 1987, M&H quickly gained a reputation for quality, and scores of international players have used their bats (albeit often with stickers of other brands) at the top level. You can go into their workshop for a chat and a look around, or even get a world-class bat crafted to your exact specifications. But make sure you bring your chequebook - prices start at £700 for the bespoke package.

Edgbaston, Birmingham - Bullring & Grand Central
England's second city has been the scene of countless memorable cricketing moments in the past 20 years: that semi-final in 1999, Australia's two-run defeat in the 2005 Ashes, Alastair Cook's 294, India's Champions Trophy win in 2013, and an electric atmosphere to boot. The city's most recognisable sight is the Bullring, an enormous shopping centre that claims to be the busiest in the UK. That part of town has been the home of market stalls and traders since the 12th century, and while it might be slightly gaudy from the outside, it's worth a look around to get a feel for the city.

Headingley, Leeds - Kirkstall Abbey
Headingley, on the north-west edge of Leeds, hosts four games later on in the group stage. The city has undergone something of a transformation over the past ten years, and is growing in popularity as both a tourist destination and a commercial centre. Visit the historic Kirkstall Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery that dates back to the 12th century, if you are staying near the ground - it's a 25-minute walk away, and entry is free.

See also: Kirkgate Market, one of the largest covered markets in Europe and right in the centre of Leeds - worth a visit for a pre-match bite.

Lord's, London - Abbey Road
Four men, each a legend in his own right, walk over a pedestrian crossing in London. They have a photographer on hand - as you do when you're among the most famous people on the planet - who captures them mid-stride. One, his long hair flowing down to his shoulders, is out of step with the other three, and barefoot. It could hardly be more apt - he will soon move onto pastures new. But the memories have been made already, and the iconic shot only cements their place in history. Ever since, Abbey Road - a ten-minute walk from Lord's - has been inundated with tourists trying to recreate that picture of Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Michael Kasprowicz and Glenn McGrath, taken before the 2005 Ashes series (though a handful will tell you they're actually fans of an obscure 1960s band named The Beatles). Pay it a visit and get your own version of a seminal snap.

See also: Camden Market, a 30-minute walk away along Regent's Canal with plenty of food stalls for a pre-match meal. Slightly closer to the ground, a visit to Baker Street is a must for any Sherlock Holmes fan.

Old Trafford, Manchester - Lou Macari Fish and Chip Shop
Despite the cricket ground's impressive redevelopment in the past decade, Old Trafford will always be synonymous with Manchester United, the world's most valuable football club and 20-time champions of England. Their 75,000-seat stadium is just up the road from the World Cup venue, but if you head over to take a look inside, be sure to stop off at Lou Macari's on the way. Named after and owned by the United legend, this chippy is a match-day staple for hundreds of their fans - we recommend the chips, peas and gravy.

Riverside, Durham - Lumley Castle
A 14th-century castle which looms ominously over the Riverside ground at Chester-le-Street, Lumley Castle is now a hotel that often houses visiting teams. When Australia were on the way there for an ODI in 2005, their bus driver "started to wind me up massively about the place being haunted", recalled Shane Watson. "He said certain rooms are more haunted than others. Then I went back to my tiny little room, and I had to walk through a dungeon to get there. I got a bit spooked out." News soon spread that Watson had spent the night on Brett Lee's floor, and Darren Gough produced one of the great non-verbal sledges by imitating a ghost when Watson came to the crease. Rooms start at around £65 a night, if you're brave enough.

Sophia Gardens, Cardiff - National Museum
As well as the only non-English World Cup 2019 ground, Cardiff is home to over 200 pubs, an enormous rugby stadium, and Premier League club Cardiff City. But it's not all sport and drinking: it's also home to the Welsh National Museum , which has an impressive range of exhibitions. We recommend their excellent impressionist collection, thought to be the largest outside Paris: it features Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh, and is well worth your time.

Trent Bridge, Nottingham - Trent Bridge Inn
The Trent Bridge Inn sounds like a name dreamt up by an opportunistic landlord hoping to gouge cricket fans for expensive beers, but that could hardly be further from the truth. This pub existed long before the famous ground next door, and in 1838, William Clarke - who had married its landlady - fenced off the neighbouring meadow and suggested to his Nottinghamshire team-mates that they might start playing there. Visiting teams could stay in the inn, and over the next 180 years it grew into a fine venue. The pub itself has had several owners since, and is now part of the Wetherspoon chain, meaning ugly carpets and cheap beers if you're looking for somewhere to celebrate a victory.