Written by Victoria Philpott
Just been checking out the Rugby Six Nations fixtures – it all kicks off very soon! Over six weeks France, Italy, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England will battle it out for the winning title in the annual RBS Rugby Six Nations league. If you’ve got a ticket for the games you better book your nearby accommodation ASAP, beds are selling out fast.
If you’ve not got a ticket, but want to get caught up in the stadium atmosphere then why not incorporate the Rugby Six Nations into a city break? You could stay in a cheap hotel and enjoy a pint or five at the nearest local pub or bar…
Sun 3 Feb: Italy v France
Sat 23 Feb: Italy v Wales
Sat 16 March: Italy v Ireland
The matches in Rome are at the Stadio Olimpico – the largest sports facility in the city and the home of Italy’s rugby team.
Where to watch the rugby in Rome: The Highlander Pub will be showing all the games in the centre of Rome. It’s actually in the vicinity of the Flamincio Stadium, which is sometimes used for matches, but just a 30-minute walking distance from the Stadio Olimpico, so it’s sure to be popular afterwards. There are HD screens and with every four beers you’ll get a special edition Six Nations Cup 2013 t-shirt.
If you’re willing to admit defeat against the ticket and just want to throw yourself into a fun, pub atmosphere I’d go to The Abbey Theatre Irish Pub. It’s just a short walk from the Piazza Navona and although it looks quaint from the outside it’s huge and fully air-conditioned inside with whiskeys, cocktails and beers on tap. There’s also four TV screens so you won’t miss a second – unless you get a bit carried away in happy hour.
Where to stay: Ottaviano Hostel is a 30-minute straight route walk away. It’s just metres from St.Peter’s Square and you’ll get a clear view of the Dome. Dorm rooms from €8.90pppn.
More hostels in Rome.
Sat 9 Feb: France v Wales
Sat 16 March: France v Scotland
In Paris the Stade de France takes centre stage. The 80,000 seat stadium is the fifth largest in Europe and will be hosting a match on the first day of the tournament.
Where to watch: The Eden Park Pub is renowned for being the best place to watch rugby on screen in Paris. Owned by rugby players, they know what keeps their punters happy — including a 2am licence, huge screens and great drinks offers.
Alternatively you could try the Frog & Rosbif Pub just around the corner from the Rue Montorgueil, the oldest market street in Paris. It’s a traditionally English pub with a great selection of drinks and all the games up on the big screens.
Where to stay: Just ten minutes from the Stade de France you’ll find the Hotel de Bellevue. The two-star hotel has rooms with en suite bathrooms, TV and internet access. Private rooms start from €36pppn.
More hostels in Paris.
Sat 9 Feb: Scotland v Italy
Sun 24 Feb: Scotland v Ireland
Sat 9 March: Scotland v Wales
Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh will host the matches for Scotland. It’s got the largest permanent big screen in the country and more than 67,000 seats.
Where to watch: A 20-minute walk away from the Murrayfield Stadium, you’ll find Bert’s Bar. They’ve got great food and beers on draught, as well as plasma screens throughout ensuring a great atmosphere. An array of framed rugby shirts adorn the walls.
A bit further away from the stadium you’ll find the Three Sisters bar. It’s one of the most popular places to watch rugby in the city and you’ll find huge plasma screens and three large bars inside. You can reserve a booth to enjoy the match from and they have live DJs spinning on the decks well into the early hours.
Where to stay: The Murrayfield Hotel & Lodge is adjacent to the Murrayfield Stadium, just a short distance from the bright lights of the city. Each room has an LCD panel TV and all are ensuite. The hotel bar has live sports coverage within a spacious seating area and food and drink is available, as well as a beer garden. Private rooms start from €31.63pppn.
More hostels in Edinburgh.
Sun 10 Feb: Ireland v England
Sat 9 March: Ireland v France
Sat 10 March: Ireland vs Scotland
The Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin, was designed to be wave-like to avoid blocking the light to local residences. It was opened in May 2010 on the site of the old venue and can hold 47,000 spectators. There are four tiers: the lower and upper are for general access, the second for premium tickets and the third for corporate boxes.
Where to watch: The Outback on Parnell Street is an Australian themed pub bringing you all the games on the big LCD screens. The laidback pub has live music – when the games aren’t on – and drinks offers throughout the night.
Or try The Old Stand Pub in Dublin city centre. It’s one of the top pubs in Ireland’s capital and is simply decorated with rugby shirts at the windows and they have a strong link with Dublin’s rugby fraternity too. I’d go for this one!
Where to stay: Waterloo House is a great little hotel just five minutes from the Aviva Stadium. There’s a drawing room with a bar and a restaurant downstairs for all your traditional Irish breakfast needs. Private rooms from €45pppn.
More hostels in Dublin.
Sat 2 Feb: England v Scotland
Sat 23 Feb: England vs France
Sun 10 March: England v Italy
In London Twickenham Stadium will be home to the Rugby Six Nations matches.
Where to watch: Head to the Roxy Bar & Screen‘s 4m wide TV, full HD projector and surround sound. The food’s amazing, the drinks even better and with all the supporting screens you won’t miss a minute.
Or if you’re staying at my suggested hotel (see below) you should find your way to The Clapham Grand. They’ve got the biggest sports screen in the UK at 40m² as well as six 50-inch plasmas strategically placed around the pub. They’re also running competitions with some great prices and they have VIP booths – could be handy for a half-time snooze…
Where to stay: Clapham is near enough to Twickenham via the national rail network (Clapham Junction – Twickenham is a 25-minute journey by train), so stay in this exciting area of London at the Euro Lodge Clapham. You’ll be just a few steps from one of London’s biggest green spaces so you can recreate those great moments once the game’s over. Private rooms start at €19.13pppn.
More hostels in London.
Sun 2 Feb: Wales v Ireland
Sat 16 March: Wales v England
The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, is home to the Welsh national team and will be where the Rugby Six Nations games in Wales will be held.
Where to watch: The City Arms is just a five-minute walk from the stadium and is one of the most popular pubs for those times when you just haven’t been able to get a ticket to the match. There’s plenty of delicious food, some tasty beers and a few plasma screens in there to enjoy too.
Where to stay: Riverhouse Backpackers really stands out as the best accommodation for the Rugby Six Nations in Cardiff. It’s just over the bridge from the Millennium Stadium, you’ll get breakfast for free and it’s recently been renovated too. There’s loads more free stuff, including Wi-Fi and it’s close to the train station. Shared rooms start from €20.25pppn and private rooms from €17.57pppn.
More hostels in Cardiff.