th Rugby World Cup will be hosted by England from the 18th of September to the 31st of October 2015. While you follow your team on its way up the ladder, hopefully to the finals, there’s lots to see and do in between matches at all 13 venues!
Birmingham – With such a large population of Muslims in Birmingham, having a Halal trip is much easier! With the matches being played in Birmingham City Stadium and Villa Park, choose from the wide range of restaurants around, like Caspian Pizza, Big John’s, or even the closest KFC or Subway. The Birmingham Central Mosque is your stop to pray.
Be amazed with Cadbury World, the National Sea Life Centre, or Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum that gets the wheels in your brain turning, or go back in time when you visit Warwick Castle, where the ancient myths and tales will keep you mesmerized. If you’re looking for something to do, Broadway Plaza will keep you occupied, jam-packed with fun for the whole family, when you’re taking a break from rugby.
Brighton – Brighton is a seaside town, so spend your days on the beach – making sure to stay away from the designated nudist beach, or the Palace Pier for shopping and entertainment. The Lanes host mostly jewellery shops, with a splattering of cafés, and a bunch of Italian restaurants, but the setting reflects the history of the original fishing village.
In between the two matches played at the Brighton Community Stadium, if you’re looking for unique places to shop at, drop by North Laine; but if you wish to see your familiar stores in one place, Churchill Square Shopping Centre is a must-visit. Explore underwater life at the Sea Life Centre, or climb the Foredown Tower for exotic views of the place.
Despite the diverse population in Brighton, there is a Muslim community that meets at the Al-Quds Brighton Mosque, and they offer a selection of Halal food places like Green Coombe Deli, Makara (a Turkish restaurant), Infinity Foods Kitchen which is a slightly pricey but delicious vegetarian restaurant, or Pizza Di Roma or Efes Kebab for fast food and takeaway.
Cardiff – Even though Cardiff is not technically England (it is the capital of Wales), the people’s passion for the sport means that it will also play host to six matches, in addition to two quarter-finals. While you’re there, make sure to soak up the history at Cardiff Castle, a fortress that is around 2000 years old and the ‘Jewel in Cardiff’s Crown’.
Be sure to drop by the Farmer’s Market, visit the museums, or take part in water sports for a bit of adventure.
Madina Mosque is just one of the many to be found in Cardiff, as well as Al Manar Centre. Eat at Grill N Shake – which boasts the best halal steak in the UK, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Blue Ginger, or 1Malaysian Cuisine Restaurant which is the closest to Millenium Stadium.
Exeter – With a growing capacity at the Sandy Park stadium that is set to host three matches this World Cup, Exeter balances their passion for the sport with the rich history within it. Take the time to explore the gorgeous countryside, or tour The Underground Passages – old underground pipelines – to add a bit of spook and adventure, in this historic Roman city.
If you’ve ever wanted to be in one of those scenic images you see online, Dartmoor National Park is the place to go. If you want to take it easy and do a bit of shopping, try Princesshay, Fore Street, Gandy Street or Harlequins Shopping Centre for an eclectic mix of stores and architecture.
Be sure to eat at Blue Eyed BBQ, or Herbies, a vegetarian restaurant, both of which are slightly away from Sandy Park. If you happen to find Halal restaurants closer, add them to HalalTrip app to benefit others!
The Mosque and Islamic Centre for the South West is the major masjid in the area.
Gloucester – Known for its medieval cathedral, also the birthplace of royalty, Gloucester is set to host four games. When you’re not at Kingsholm Stadium supporting your team, take a stroll through the Historic Docks that hosts Victorian warehouses, museums, shopping and more; the Waterways, where you might catch a Severn Bore – a natural wave surge that is a spectacular phenomenon; or the Ski Centre if you’re looking for a little activity. Cathedral Quarter has quirky shops that are good for souvenirs and keepsakes.
Mermaid Fish & Chips is the closest Halal food to the stadium, or you can take the time to make it to Mumtaz or Chutney’s Indian Takeaway. Masjid-E-Noor is the local mosque in the heart of Gloucester.
Leeds – Starkly different from the rich historic countryside’s of the previous cities, Leeds takes you back to the modern world. Take advantage of that with ample shopping all within walking distance at the compact city centre, or viewing modern art at the Leeds Art Gallery.
If the rugby fanatic in you doesn’t want to take a break even when your team is not playing, take the Headingley Heritage Tour that showcases some of the best historic moments in sports in Leeds, in addition to a behind-the-scenes tour to one of the most unique stadiums in the world.
Connect with nature by relaxing at Roundhay Park or Harewood House.
Graveleys Fish & Chips is the closest Halal eating place to Elland Road Stadium, but you can also eat at the Leeds chain of Mumtaz, or hit Safran (a Persian restaurant), or Café Moor for Middle Eastern food. Masjid Ibraheem Leeds and Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira are the closest ones to the stadium, or you can stop at Leeds Makkah Masjid or Leeds Grand Mosque if you happen to take the Headingley tour.
Leicester – Leicester City Stadium is hosting three matches in October, so in the days in between them, visit the King Richard III Visitor Centre to learn more about his life and death, the New Walk Museum to discover dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, Picasso and local culture, the National Space Centre to take you out of this world, the Twycross Zoo – one of the top ten zoos in Britain, or the Jewry Wall, one of the tallest surviving pieces of Roman masonry.
Shop at Highcross & John Lewis, The Lanes and Leicester Market, the latter of which is 800 years old, and The Golden Mile, which is like a mini-Asia in the spice and jewellery department.
Eat at the familiar Subway or KFC, or look up Vanilla Pod or Lahore Kebab if you want Pakistani food. Big John’s if you want to stay British, Nana’s Asian Cuisine for Sri Lankan, or ADMA Shawarma for Lebanese. Visit Leicester Central Mosque or Masjid Umar in the vicinity of Leicester City Stadium.
London – London has marked three different venues to host over 15 matches, including the quarter finals, semi finals and finals. Spanning from The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium in Brent, to Wembley Stadium in Newham, to Twickenham Stadium in Richmond, take advantage of your stay in London to explore the city.
Take a behind-the-scenes Wembley Stadium Tour, or connect with nature at Queen’s Park or Gladstone Park if you’re at Brent. Stroll along the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park or visit the London Aquatics Centre if you’re in Newham.
Visit Hampton Court Palace, Ham House and Gardens for history, or Richmond Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for rustic charm. Take a boat ride on the Thames, or spend the day as a family at the Strawberry Hill House, Orleans House Gallery, or WWT London Wetland Centre if you want something to do.
Shopping stops across the three areas include Golden Court and Paved Court in Richmond, Westfield Stratford City, Stratford City and Indoor Market, and Queen’s Market at Upton Park in Newham, and Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Queens Parade in Brent.
Take your pick of cuisines and restaurants from Pod, Chicken Cottage, Wrap it up!, Cinnamon Kitchen, Labeneats, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Ned’s Noodle Bar and more. There are over 420 mosques in London, London Muslim Mosque and London Central Mosque included.
Manchester – Manchester City Stadium is hosting just one match, but don’t miss out on taking advantage of the city while you’re there!
Soak in the culture at The Whitworth and HOME – for art, culture, and theatre; head to the Manchester Museum, Chester Zoo, and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester with the kids; explore the countryside at Tatton Park, The Peak District, or on a steam railway journey with East Lancashire Railway; or go shopping on Market Street, Manchester Arndale, or Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Eat at Archie’s, Steak ‘n’ Shakes, Tampopo, Paan House, The Grill, Taste Masters, and more. Manchester Mosque and Makki Masjid Manchester are the central mosques and learning centres.
Milton Keynes – If you’re in Milton Keynes for the games at Stadium MK, set aside time to have an adventure with the many attractions on offer. Spend time with the wildlife at Woburn Safari Park, entertain yourself with extreme sports, leisure and food at Xscape, bounce off the walls at Bounce, or keep the kids occupied at Gulliver’s Land or Snozone.
Shop at intu MK, eat at Nando’s, Sizzling Grillz, or Subway, and pray at Masjid Al-Rawdha or Jamee Masjid.
Newcastle – Home of the world’s only tilting bridge, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge is a must see. Check out the art in The Angel of the North, or take a selfie with the Tyne Bridge, emblazoned with the Rugby World Cup 2015 brand.
Explore Newcastle Castle – where it gets its name from, Hadrian’s Wall, and Alnwick Castle and Gardens that feature in the Harry Potter movies. Stimulate your brain at the Life Science Centre, and Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books.
Shop at intu Metrocentre, Grainger Town and Fenwick; eat at Subway, Nando’s, and KFC, or the now-familiar Chicken Cottage and more. Newcastle Central Mosque is one of the few mosques in the city.
Rugby – This town in Warwickshire is not hosting any games, but while you’re in the country, it’s worth a visit to find out more about the sport at its birthplace. Make sure you put Rugby School, Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, and Rugby Art Gallery and Museum on your list of educational stops. Visit Warwick Castle, home to spellbinding history, battles, myths and knights; and Drayton Manor for a day of fun at the theme park.
King of Tandoor, Gyro Café, Bahar Masala and India Place are amongst other restaurants that serve Halal food. Stop by Rugby Mosque for your prayers.
With all the information available here, make your trip easier by downloading the HalalTrip App to locate various Halal eating places, and masjids around you, as well as attractions close to you. Be sure to add new locations on the app so that others can benefit from it too!