Explore the home of rugby

Rugby, Warwickshire

After the game, take the opportunity to discover where and how it all began in the Warwickshire market town of Rugby.

Rugby  is known throughout the world as the birthplace of the game. It was here, in 1823, while playing football at his school, that the young William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran. This moment, which took place on The Close at Rugby School, is the origin of today’s games of Rugby Union, Rugby League, and American Football and today, you can visit the momentous spot and a dedicated museum.

Don’t miss
Housed in the same building where a bootmaker created the world’s first rugby ball, the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum is packed with rugby memorabilia, and traditional rugby balls are still made here, by hand, to this day. Take your photo next to the statue of William Webb Ellis in running pose complete with ball under arm, which stands outside his former school. Insightful tours show you around Rugby School with its 200-year old buildings and galleries that will conjure up thoughts of Hogwarts, and of course, you can stand in The Close where the game was born all those years ago.

Explore the city

Uncover the history of the birthplace of rugby with a walking tour around the town, and enjoy the sights of Rugby’s historic buildings and places as you’re taken on a journey through the town’s sporting or literary heritage.

Great for families
Discover the town’s surprising Roman past at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum where children can follow activity trails and try on Roman outfits. They can run wild while you admire the organic Ryton Gardens on the outskirts of town, which have won awards for their 10
acres brimming and buzzing with flowers, fruit, vegetables and wildlife.

Go shopping
Rugby’s charming old town centre provides the backdrop for some great shopping, with a wide range of high street stores and thriving independent shops as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants.

Get active
The 630-acre reservoir of Draycote Water is encircled by a five-mile flat path, making an easy waterside walk or cycle. Or take to the water on a sailing boat. Get the family together for a picnic and some birdwatching in Coombe Country Park, which has 500 acres of gardens,
woodland, and lakeside walks. Join the Oxford Canal as it wends its way from Oxford to Coventry. Stroll along the towpath or take a narrowboat ride to admire the largely unaltered winding course of the canal, which is criss-crossed with black-and-white lift bridges.

Explore the area
Rugby is in a great central location to get out and explore the heart of England. Shakespeare’s birthplace is less than an hour away in Stratford-upon-Avon. Catch a play by the Bard in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s home. Warwickshire has two fine examples of English castles to explore at Warwick and Kenilworth.The classic honey-coloured cottages and gentle hills of the Cotswolds are a short drive away too.

Did you know?
Along with a world-famous sport and the rugby ball, Rugby is also the birthplace of the jet engine, invented in 1937 by Sir Frank Whittle, and the hologram, invented by Dennis Gabor in 1947 while working in Rugby.

Where to eat

Budget: Prezzo

Moderate: Café Vin Cinq

Luxury: Fergusons of Rugby

Getting there and around

• Air: The nearest major international airport is Birmingham Airport. Direct train services serve Rugby, or you can take a taxi from the arrivals area
• Rail: Rugby is around 50 minutes from London Euston, and can be reached by direct services from Birmingham, the north, south and Scotland
• Road: Rugby is at the centre of the country, at the junctions of the M1 (J19), M6 (J1) and the A14.

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A Rugby match at Rugby School, WarwickshireCopyright VisitEngland/Shakespeare's England
A plaque commemorating William Webb EllisCopyright VisitEngland/Shakespeare's England
Rugby School, WarwickshireCopyright VisitEngland/Shakespeare's England

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