Hosting on Airbnb gives people a chance to celebrate and share their culture with those adventurous souls that have travelled from near and far to immerse themselves in something new. This is a traveller’s reward.
Over the next two months, 11 cities in England and Wales will have the opportunity to share their cultures with the world as they open their doors to nearly half a million visitors who have come to experience the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Here’s a glimpse into a handful of these cities from local Airbnb hosts who have already spent time exploring what their cities have to offer.
Newcastle (Hosting 3 games)
Kate: Newcastle is a fantastic city! It’s friendly and vibrant and there’s always something fun happening; everything from a rugby game at one of the local clubs (Gateshead or Newcastle Falcons) to a weekend food-and-drink festival. The city centre itself is normally pretty busy too, but you can really tell the difference when there’s a game on because it gets a lot busier! Luckily there are plenty of places to watch the action and enjoy the atmosphere.There are a couple of bars on The Quayside that are nice and relaxing. Or if you want somewhere that’s a bit livelier, you can follow Moseley Street which leads you up towards the city centre. Head up the hill and you’ll find plenty of pubs and places to eat in amongst other tourists and locals which helps create a really good atmosphere.
If you want to watch the rugby but you don’t have tickets to the game, The Hancock is a really good venue to watch live sports. It’s pretty relaxed and it’s a favourite with the city’s university students which is good because you know it’s not too expensive! If it’s too busy in there, you can always head up towards Monument where you’re sure to find something going on in one of the new bars.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Newcastle’s all about sports though; there’s plenty to do outside of the rugby and the football. That’s what I’d tell people who are visiting Newcastle specifically for the rugb—make sure you make the most of everything the city has to offer while you’re here.
Take advantage of the shops by exploring Northumberland Street and beyond!
Sample the famous Geordie hospitality.
Check out the musical offerings of Ouseburn.
Hop on the Metro from the city centre and head to the coast.
Or hop on the Metro and head inland to Northumberland and enjoy the countryside.
As cities go, Newcastle’s not that big so you can see a lot of it in a day or two. Just make sure you leave half an hour to visit Blake’s – it does a great homemade breakfast and lunch and it’s definitely my favourite café in the city.Cardiff (hosting 8 games)
Gareth: Being an ex-player, I have a lot of love for Cardiff, especially on match-day. Cardiff as a city has been growing for years and it takes hosting really seriously, especially since it’s hosted before. Come Sept 18th, we know the whole world will be watching, so we have to deliver!
When there’s a game on, the atmosphere is very jovial and everyone’s happy and excited! It’s really colourful too, as lots of people paint their faces in support of the team. Also, even if the game is being played at, say, Twickenham, people will go to Cardiff to watch the game because it’s the national city and they enjoy being a part of the festivities, so it really is a community event.
If you’re visiting Cardiff for the rugby, there’s one ‘local delicacy’ I’d recommend you try and that’s a beer from the local brew house, Brains Brewery. You can try Brains Dark, Brains Bitter or Brains SA at most of the pubs, but The Goat Major – at the top of the High St in the shadow of Cardiff Castle – is something of a favourite.Then The City Arms on Quay St is a must for anyone before the game. It’s a quirky old, Victorian pub and on match day it’s packed with rugby fans of both teams so it’s a great atmosphere. It also has a mind-blowing number of local beers and and ciders on offer. The only thing is that because it’s so popular, it does get really busy, but you can get a drink inside and stand outside where you can look up at the stadium that’s only a few hundred metres away. That really gets you excited for the game!If you don’t have tickets to the match itself, or are looking for somewhere to enjoy the atmosphere away from the crowds, the Pen & Wig is hidden away on a side street (Park Grove) that’s two minutes away from the city centre and it does great food and has a fab garden.
Or there’s The Cricketers which is a nice gastropub based just on the west fringe of Bute Park and is great for a bite to eat while watching live sports. There’s also a cool outside garden with plenty of seating so you can sit outside and listen to the cheers from the stadium.The great thing is that in Cardiff, if Wales are playing, pretty much everywhere shows the game so you have plenty places to choose from. It’s just about finding somewhere with the atmosphere that suits you.
Once the game’s finished, if you’re not dashing off to dinner, I’d recommend a visit to Cardiff Castle which is beautiful, as is Cardiff Bay with Penarth Marina. Just don’t leave without saying ‘hello’ to Cardiff’s rugby hero, Gareth Edwards whose statue is in St David’s Centre. What a legend.London (hosting 17 games)
Laura: For rugby fans, when it comes to match day in London, there are two places to be – around the stadium in Twickenham or soaking up the atmosphere in south London.
Clapham and Battersea have plenty of green spaces and the area has a really sporty vibe, so whenever there’s a big sports event or tournament on, people come out and spend whole afternoons with friends in the pubs and parks. It’s a really international neighbourhood too with lots of people from as far away as Australia and New Zealand and they’re great when it comes to supporting their national teams so there’s always a good atmosphere.One of my favourite venues to watch rugby in is The Alexandra. It’s a really nice pub that’s just 2 minutes walk from Clapham Common and it has six screens in so you can normally get a decent view. It’s probably one of the busiest pubs for rugby games too, so make sure you get there early.
Then there’s The Sun pub or The Windmill (both also in Clapham). The Sun is cool but The Windmill has an outdoor area and when the weather’s nice they show the sport outside which is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Of course if you want to get closer to the action, trains from Battersea station go direct to Twickenham and get you there in about 20-25 minutes so it’s easy enough to head over to the stadium and get amongst the crowds.
What I would say though is that if you’re coming here for the rugby, definitely try to see what else there is going on in the city. I’ve been living in south London for 20 years and I’m constantly amazed at how many fun and interesting things there are to do!
You can start the day with a coffee at Brickwood (an Australian style café in Clapham) and then you can check out Brixton which is a great place to visit. It’s about two and a half miles from Battersea so you can get the train from Clapham Junction or you can walk through Clapham Common which is one of London’s most popular parks and is spectacular when the sun’s shining.It’s a short(ish) walk to Brixton, but once you’re there, you’ll know it! There’s a really good energy and vibe about the area and there’s some very cool shops and bars so it’s easy to lose track of time. Definitely check out Brixton Village (a five minute walk behind the Underground station) which has some of the best food in the city!Or you can venture further afield to Shoreditch – which is really trendy – and Spitalfields Market which is great for street food and shopping.
5-10 minutes walk from there is Columbia Road Flower Market which is perfect for a stroll on a Sunday morning. The area also has plenty of old streets and buildings that you can walk down and get a feel of what the city used to be like.
You’ll probably be pretty tired after that and, if you’re like me, ready to round the weekend off with a bite to eat. Luckily there’s a wonderful Tapas restaurant on Venn St called ‘Barsito’ that does really nice wine, and the food is fantastic too! It’s the perfect end to a perfect day.