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Top Five Iconic UK Sporting Venues

This summer has already seen an abundance of great sporting events across the UK in some truly stunning venues. But just what is the UK's most iconic sporting venue? Our criteria will include history, character as well as also being the most visually striking. We're also going to be selecting from a relatively broad spectrum of sports and have chosen to exclude Wembley on the bounds of originality, we like to be different ok? So now your over your outrage, get ready to read's humble opinion on the most iconic sporting venues this nation has to offer.

 5. Alexandra Palace

Probably the venue with the least sporting heritage of all featured but Alexandra Palace, affectionately known as Ally Pally, is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing. Since its construction in the 19th century, it has become a hot bed for entertainment in both sporting and musical events. Its raised location in North London provides an incredible over the city as well as visitors an alluring incline when approaching. The ornate design was for the building to be North London's equivalent of Crystal Palace in the South and it really does encapsulate the Victorian grandeur of the time.

Sporting wise, as previously mentioned, Ally Pally has only in recent years become synonymous with sporting events. However the venue even in a short amount of time has now become loved by fans of darts and snooker in particular. Since 2012 it has been the home of the Masters snooker event, the second longest running tournament only behind the world championship. Though not a ranked event, it is considered as part of the 'Triple Crown' and one of the most prestigious in the game. However the real home of snooker is considered to be another venue (more on that later) and it is darts for which the Palace is most well known. Every year it plays host to the World Darts Championship, the crowning jewel in the PDC's game with the festive period each year seeing a huge couple of weeks of darts descend on North London. Fancy dress, plenty of pints and cries of '180'! fill the venue making for a truly unique spectacle.

4. The Crucible

So the 'real home of snooker' as we previously coined the phrase, is actually based in Sheffield at the Crucible Theatre. Now I know the name may bring back memories of the famed American play and novel, but there is little witchcraft going on in the Steel City bar the bewildering displays from Ronnie O'Sullivan. As you may have probably the guessed, the venue is in fact also used for a whole host of theatrical performances although it is dramatics of the snooker for which it is really famous.

Ever since 1977, the World Snooker Championship has been held at the Crucible and given all the prestige that goes with that tournament, it is hardly a surprise to learn of its hugely iconic status. For years it has played host to the likes of Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan's successes have all been played out in front of an adorning crowd. In 40 years, those that make the pilgrimage to the historic Grade Two listed building have seen all sorts, including streakers and marriage proposals not to mention the hours of encapsulating snooker action.

3. Twickenham

The World's largest purpose built stadium for rugby is tucked away in the leafy suburbs of south-west London and Twickenham Stadium has earned itself the reputation as the home of rugby. It is steeped in year's of history having played host to the England rugby team virtually since its construction in 1907. Not only countless England games but also Six Nations fixtures as well hosting World Cup fixtures in 1991, 1999 and 2015. Under the stewardship of Clive Woodward, England enjoyed a stunning run of form at the stadium, earning it the nickname of 'Fortress Twickenham' as they went 19 games without defeat in a spell spanning five years.

Twickenham's impressive appearance is largely down to its sheer size. It's towering presence presides over much of the local area and it instantly recognisable to visitors arriving as they come to the end of the M3 motorway and on to the A316 in to London. It possesses all of the modern-features you would want from a state-of-the-art sporting venue, though it does not have the over sanitised feel that many a modern arena suffer from. And whilst its mantle as the 'home of Rugby' cannot be doubted, it also opens its arms to various other events. As well as transgressing rugby codes and playing host to league fixtures, it has also now also signed a deal for NFL matches to played there. Away from sport it has also seen its fair share of musical concerts over the years with artists ranging from the Rolling Stones to Rhianna.

2. Lord's

If Twickenham is the home of Rugby then Lord's can boast a similarly lofty status in the world of cricket. Having been in use since 1814, the venue situated in North London possesses an absolute abundance of history. The ground is named after its founder Thomas Lord, who initially constructed three cricket grounds between the years of 1787 and 1814, with now famous Lord's Cricket ground the third to be built. Some 70 years before an England side ever took to the field here, it had been home Marylebone Cricket Club who have remained the official owners right up to the present day.

The most famous aspect of the old ground is undoubtably the Victorian era pavilion. A grade two listed building, this was built in 1889 and is famous for its Long Room as well as hosting the Bowlers Bar, the player's dressing rooms and also a small balcony for players to keep a watchful glaze over the action. This part of the ground is in stark contrast with ultra-futuristic media centre, created in time for the 1999 World Cup and its design has received plenty of acclaim, even winning the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture in 1999. Further notable features include the Old Father Time weather vane located on top of the mount stand. The beauty of Lord's is that despite the numerous upgrades and building works over the years, it has retained its character and charm whilst successfully modernising itself for the 21st century.

1. Wimbledon

Despite efforts of the Wombles and the Crazy Cang, when most people hear 'Wimbledon' mentioned it's tennis that immediately springs to mind. Home of the sports' oldest competition, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to give it its proper title has played host to a staggering 130 editions of the Wimbledon Championships. With its strict dress code, strawberries and cream and presence of the Royal Family amongst the spectators, many consider the event to encapsulate a distinct quintessential British-ness.

The popularity of Wimbledon is perhaps best demonstrated by the sheer fact that fans are willing to camp overnight in order to then be able to watch the action from the famed 'Henman Hill' or 'Murray Mound'. Those select lucky few that do get their hands on tickets are more often than not desperate to get in at centre court, the most famous of the courts at the club. It is here where Wimbledon champions are corwned in front of a capacity crowd of almost 15,000 spectators. For all of the grandeur and traditions at SW19 however, the club has demonstrated its ability to move with the times. A retractable roof was added for centre court in 2009 allowing for matches to be played despite the usual showers that accompany the Great British summer time. The club added another presitgious feather to its bow back in 2012, when it held the Olympic tennis matches with Andy Murray claiming gold in front of a fervent home support.

There is perhaps no venue in World sport more synonymously associated with a single sport than Wimbledon is to tennis and despite accusations of 'stuffiness' in some of the rules and regulations, it is one of the great sporting venues on the planet.

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