Ten things you didn't know about England's
Rugby World Cup hosts

by Katie Rowe

Category: Expert insights
July 30 2015
Clockwise: The Banqueting Room, exterior shot of the Royal Pavilion, The Music Room

1. The Prince Regent hosted a 127-dish banquet at Brighton’s Royal Pavilion in honour of the visiting Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia in 1817 and the pièce de résistance was a 4ft-high Turkish mosque constructed entirely out of marzipan. Hear more about the Prince Regent's outrageous exploits on an audio tour of the palace. A fantastic attraction in the South East of England.

>> Find more things to do in Brighton...

Clockwise: carnival performer © Bryan Ledgard, jerk chicken and whistles on sale © YorkshirePhotoWalks

2. Taking place every August Bank Holiday weekend, Leeds West Indian Carnival is the oldest in Europe and sees 100,000 revellers shake their stuff through Potternewton Park, Chapeltown and Harehills.

>> Find more things to do in Leeds...

Clockwise: Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema lit up at night, screening room © Alan Mushen, Tyneside Bar Cafe

3. Originally opened as the 'Bijou News-Reel Cinema' in 1937, Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema was designed and built by Dixon Scott, great uncle of film director Ridley Scott. Grab some popcorn and soak up the grand surroundings while watching the latest flicks.

>> Find more things to do in Newcastle...

Clockwise: festive garlands on sale, a shopkeeper holding Diwali decorations, Belgrave Neigbourhood Centre decorated with lights

4. In Central England, Leicester holds one of biggest annual celebrations of Diwali outside of India with up to 35,000 people attending the switch on of the lights on Belgrave Road and even more attending Diwali itself. 

>> Find more things to do in Leicester...

Clockwise: exterior of Bletchley Park, Bombe Machine © Mendhak, statue of Alan Turing © Elliott Brown

5. Milton Keynes is home to Bletchley Park, the hallowed site where Alan Turing led a team of codebreakers in WW2.  Marvel at the largest collection of Enigma machines on display in the world and take a glimpse at the iconic Bombe machine – developed by Turing himself.

>> Find more things to do in Milton Keynes...

Clockwise: Chetham's Library © Michael D Beckwith, books on display © Pete Birkinshaw, ornate reading room © Michael D Beckwith

6. Bring out your inner book worm at Manchester’s Chetham’s Library. The oldest public library in the English-speaking world, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels often studied together in the alcove of the Reading Room.

>> Find more things to do in Manchester...

Clockwise: view of the Canalside and Cube building, a boat tour on Canalside near Gas Street, a tranquil canal in Birmingham's outskirts © Manuel Ebert

7. Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice. Discover pretty locks and wharfs, marvel at restored industrial buildings and explore peaceful suburbs on a canal boat cruise that showcases well-known sights alongside hidden gems.

>> Find more things to do in Birmingham...

Clockwise: The Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral, close-up of stained-glass windows, exterior of Gloucester Cathedral

8. Gloucester’s gothic cathedral is where Henry III was crowned, Edward II was buried and famous Harry Potter scenes were filmed. Climb the 269 steps of the Cathedral Tower to admire views across Gloucestershire, a stunning South West county.

>> Find more things to do in Gloucester...

Clockwise: Close up of the gold pineapple on the south tower © [Duncan], St. Paul's at dusk, The Millennium footbridge looking towards St Paul's

9. Sir Christopher Wren had originally wanted to crown the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral with a stone pineapple as he saw them as “a symbol of peace, prosperity and hospitality”. There are pineapples on top of the two western towers instead.

>> Find more things to do in London...

Clockwise: Close-up of the city walls, wall plaque © BazzaDaRambler, roman bridge © aaron.bihari

10. Exeter's City Wall is almost 2000 years old. It's withstood rebellions and has been the setting for many civic ceremonies and celebrations. Discover more about the city's history on a free guided tour.

>> Find more things to do in Exeter...


The titans of world rugby will be battling it out on pitches across the country as Rugby World Cup 2015 plays out in England from September 18.

Find out more about the world-famous tournament...

Find events taking place in and around the host cities

Katie Rowe

Instagram updates


Customer survey …

VisitEngland would like to invite you to take part in a short survey about our website.

It should take no more than a couple of minutes.

Please click here to be taken to the survey


To add items to favourites …

… you need to be logged in.

If you already have an account, log in.

Or register a

Access your account

Enter your e-mail address or username.
Enter the password that accompanies your e-mail.
Forgot your password? Recover your account
Don't have an account? Register an account