Sports in the United Kingdom
Updated last year

Did you know that sports such as football, rugby and cricket were invented in the UK? Indeed, sports are incredibly popular in the UK with many sports having historical ties to the country. Whether you're a fan or you just want to stay fit, here is what you need to know.  

The sports scene in the UK

Sports are part of the country's fabric. Most UK citizens are passionate about sports, either practising, watching or simply talking about it. Various types of sports are popular in the country, including cricket, football, rugby, tennis, cycling and horse racing, as well as water sports like sailing, surfing, kite surfing, and jet skiing.

The UK also enjoys a large variety of sports facilities and clubs for both amateurs and professionals. Many expats and tourists are also attracted to the many regular sports events, but the costs vary widely, depending on the league the team plays.

Football in the United Kingdom

Football remains one of the country's most popular sports. The UK has nurtured some of the most influential football teams in the world, such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Everton, Arsenal FC, and Chelsea. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their national football team that play in the Euros and the World Cup. Each country within the United Kingdom also has its league, which any fan can attend or watch live.

Rugby in the United Kingdom

If you are not a football fan, you tend to be a rugby fan in the United Kingdom. Both sports are the most popular in the country. The game was invented during the 17th century in the English town of Rugby.

There are various rugby unions and rugby leagues in the UK; the Six Nations tournament being the most important of the year. Participating countries are England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy. The United Kingdom also participates in the Rugby World Cup.

Cricket in the United Kingdom

Cricket also remains very popular in the UK. At the time of the British Empire, the British brought their love for cricket to many former colonies. This sport is now considered Australia's and India's national sport.

Tennis in the United Kingdom

Tennis has long been a traditionally favourite sport in the UK. Every year, London hosts Wimbledon which is one of the most important tennis championships in the world. The tournament is usually held in June and involves many international tennis players.

The United Kingdom has several top tennis players, such as Scottish born Sir Andrew Murray, OBE.

Interesting fact: It is tradition to have strawberries and cream when watching tennis at Wimbledon.

Other sports in the United Kingdom

Other sports such as boxing, golf, table tennis, badminton, squash, cycling, and swimming are also widely popular in the UK. Martial arts have also gained popularity due to the United Kingdom's participation in events such as the Ultimate Fighter, MMA and the Olympics.

Professional cycling and track running are also becoming popular sports and earning the UK international acclaim in major championships.

Horse racing, which is traditionally considered as an upper-class sport, is regularly held throughout the year. The most famous races of the year are the "Royal Ascot", an event attended by Queen Elizabeth II, and the Grand National.

Sports clubs in the United Kingdom

The UK offers a vast number of sports clubs that cater to all backgrounds, levels and abilities. For those who wish to join a club while living in the UK, there are many to choose from, including council-run sports facilities, amateur sports clubs, professional clubs and social networking sites arranging sports activities.

Useful links:

Uk sports club directory
Disability sports groups

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.