If you’re visiting the UK this year why not take a detour from the usual city landmarks like Big Ben and Edinburgh castle, and find some sport to watch instead? Sport is big business in the UK, with big named teams and amateur leagues almost everywhere you look. But which are the most popular sports? Here are some of the UK’s favourites along with a list of essential words that you will need for each.
The UK Premier League is arguably one of the most popular football leagues in the world. With teams like Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea, and international stars like Cesc Fàbregas and Mohamed Salah, it’s fair to say there are plenty of reasons why the Premiership attracts a crowd. But if you’d prefer to see what lower league football is like in the UK away from sponsorship deals and celebrity footballers, then there is plenty of that too!
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The English Football League Championship is second tier English football, home to 24 teams hoping for promotion to the Premier League or to avoid relegation to English Football League One, which is in fact, the third tier of English football. Just to make things simple and not confusing at all.
The English football pyramid system actually gives you seven levels of football to watch. So if you feel like cheering on from the terraces of a village pitch instead of paying a fortune to get into stadiums like Old Trafford and Emirates, you are spoilt for choice!
So what vocabulary do you need for those terraces?
Rugby is a hugely popular sport in the UK, to the point where football and rugby fans often argue (mostly good-naturedly) about which sport is best. The first thing to bear in mind about UK rugby is that there is Rugby Union and Rugby League, which are completely different (though for the casual viewer, not at all). For amateur rugby you’re better off with Rugby League. Rugby Union is the professional league from which the national squad team is picked.
There are twelve teams in the Premiership with famous names like Harlequins and Wasps that you may already know. Teams from this league take part in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Champions Cup, two important fixtures in the European rugby schedule.
Though if you want to stick to lower league rugby while visiting the UK there is plenty of that too! The RFU Championship is the second tier of professional competition home to twelve competing teams. Below this level are levels three to five, with the lower levels competing on a regional level.
Here is a little vocabulary to get you ready for your first UK rugby match.
Time for a very civilised sport, one that leaves the nation very divided! When you hear about UK cricket, you are probably hearing about the English Cricket Team, which is in fact the English and Welsh cricket team combined, managed by the English Cricket Board (ECB). Both Scotland and Ireland have their own separate leagues, so depending on where you visit in the UK your cricket experiences will be different.
ECB cricket has eighteen county cricket teams competing at the top level, including the likes of Yorkshire and Surrey. There are university teams from Cambridge and Oxford who are also governed by the ECB and compete with each other. And finally, within the MCCU ‘league’, there are six competing teams. In short, there is cricket at every level for any occasion! During the summer you will often find many an amateur cricket match on village greens and pitches around the country. Feel free to stay and watch!
What vocabulary do you need for watching cricket? Here are some words to get you started.
Whichever sport is your favourite, we hope your experiences watching it live in the UK are good ones. Want to brush up on your English for your trip? Why not check your current level with our free online level test? Our courses our tailormade to fit your needs and schedule should you want to practice; drop us a quick enquiry and see how we can help!