17 reasons every traveller should visit Lord’s

Forget a trip to Harrods, a stroll around Hyde Park, or a riverboat ride down the Thames – if you want to indulge in the quintessential English experience this summer, get yourself to Lord’s for a game of Test cricket.

Here are 10 reasons every traveller should visit the “Home of Cricket” in St John’s Wood, London, for the most English of English experiences.

You can take your own picnic

All over the world, people are charged a fortune for food and drink at live events whether it be sports, theatre or music… but not at Lord’s. They’ll let you take a wicker basket full of cucumber sandwiches, pink lemonade, pork pies and scotch eggs. A picnic is, after all, a very English past time.

You can take your own alcohol in

Lord’s is the only international cricket ground in the world that allows visitors to bring in alcohol on match days. And all because the stubborn English heroes at the MCC (who run Lord’s) plain refused to adhere to rules set by the International Cricket Council. Great work gents.

People sneak in even more drink

Not satisfied with the BYOB (bring your own booze) gesture, people find cunning ways to sneak even more alcohol in the ground. Arthur Conan Doyle would be impressed by the clandestine innovation shown by some devious visitors. A bottle of wine inside an empty Pringles tube is a bona fide classic.

White clothes are everywhere

Not only are the players dressed head to toe in white, if weather conditions are tepid, their jumpers are often sleeveless (the uniform of English prep schools). Aside from the players, spectators also like to dress in flowy white shirts, dresses and linens. It really is like something from Brideshead Revisited.

In the heat of the battle, the players remain coy

We all know the English can be button lipped and rather coy when they want. Try this one on for size: When appealing to get a player on the other team out the players will ask the official “how is he?” as in, “is he out?”. If the umpire says yes, that player is out, if he says no, everyone accepts the decision and carries on… “as you were gentleman, as you were”.

The players stop for tea in the evening

Forget energy drinks and a sports massage, in the late afternoon, play stops and the players go off for a cup of tea and some cake. The tea break is honoured in cricket matches around the world from village games in Kent to regional cricket in Jamaica, Rajasthan and Tazmania.

The bat is hand-carved from a Willow tree!

Yes, that’s right, bat-makers carve the most important piece of equipment – the bat – from the most English of trees – the willow.

The referee is called an umpire

Just like the other great English sporting fixture of the summer – Wimbledon – the man or woman in charge of proceedings is called an umpire. Not a referee, an umpire. How proper.

Arguing with said match official results in a fine

In which other game is a player fined if he has the audacity to argue with a match official? There is also a mutual respect between the teams which sees players applauding a good act of play from the opposition.

It’s still run by a group of English gentleman

Marylebone Cricket Club, known as the MCC was founded in 1787, the club itself own Lord’s. It’s stupidly hard to get one of their super-exclusive memberships as you must be recommended by two existing members to join the 10-year waiting list. But once you’re in, you’re in.

The on-pitch banter is plentiful

Cricket is well known for it’s in-game “sledging” between players. Sledging is where you try to wind up the opposition, the intention being that you disturb their concentration which leads to a mistake. All of this is done in a very English way as there must be no shouting or physical contact. It’s a battle of wits.

An old-fashioned bell signifies the start of play

Forget a massive hooter noise or a man shouting over a loud speaker, the players come out after the big bell chimes. The bell lives just outside the Bowler’s Bar in the Pavilion. People to have donged the bell at Lord’s include Stephen Fry, Richie Benaud and a host of legendary cricketers.

Pimms and Champagne is everywhere

If the sound of willow on leather is cricket, then the sound of champagne corks popping is the sound of watching cricket. As you’re allowed to bring your own, people often bring nice bottles of champagne that they’ve paid supermarket prices for.

The sound of willow on leather

The beautiful knock-come-popping sound when the willow hits the leather really is a noise to behold. They should make yoga soundtracks out of what could be legitimately described as the most English noise ever.

The lawn is always immaculate

A team of around thirty ground staff keep the surface at lords immaculate. It’s not unheard of for the staff to use sheers, or even scissors in parts of the pitch where precision is required. If there was a best kept lawn competition, and Lord’s was your back garden, they’d just give you the trophy to keep.

There’s a museum and the centrepiece is an urn

The Louvre has the Mona Lisa, the National History Museum has the big whale, Lord’s has an urn. Every couple of years, England battle old foes Australia for the most famous prize in cricket “the Ashes”. Rather than a ginormous silver trophy, the winning captain lifts a tiny urn in celebration. It somehow doesn’t even seem that silly anymore.

Abbey Road Studios is around the corner

The Beatles album Abbey Road was recorded at Abbey Road Studios which is literally around the corner from Lord’s. On your way to the cricket find the famous zebra crossing, take your shoes off and strut across the road like John, Paul, George or Ringo. Perfect dose of British pop culture.

Rob Stross is Chief Marketing Officer at WeSwap.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Christophe says:

    I agree entirely with this article. Lord’s is a must visit during the summer if you’re anywhere near London. Cricket is a sport that can look a little boring from the outside, but once you fully understand the nuances you’ll find yourself getting very involved and I like it because it is simply the most civilised and dignified sport. If not your cup of tea, it is still a great location for a picnic and an opportunity to get the suit out and dress smartly.

  2. Katie says:

    Never been a cricket fan and so have never visited Lord’s! Being English, I never realised that going for a picnic is an English activity, super interesting. This post actually did make me want to spend a day here, it seems like a great summers day out in London. Also, I love Pimms!

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