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Tour of Lords Cricket Ground, London Review

By Edited Jun 13, 2016 1 0

Pros

Being able to see the authentic ashes
Access to the pavilion
Access to the famous long room
Access to the English and Visitors dressing rooms
Guided tour including the history of the ground and famous matches played there
Access to the English and Visitors dressing rooms
Guided tour including the history of the ground and famous matches played there

Cons

Poor signage to get to the start point
Restricted from taking photos in the most interesting areas
No food or drink allowed on the tour

Full Review

A tour of the home of cricket, Lords, is a must do for any cricket fan during a trip to London. For the affordable price of £14 for adults and £8 for children, seniors and students, the tour provides a fascinating insight to the famous ground, its history and provides access to areas that are usually off limits to the general public on match days. Be mindful that tours are only conducted on non-match days. On scheduled days, tours are conducted at 10am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm.
We decided that we would do the 12pm tour of Lords. We caught the tube from near our hotel and then it was about a 10 minute walk to the ground from the nearest station of St John's Wood. The route from the station to the ground is clearly signed and it is an easy 10 minute walk down hill to the ground. When you first arrive at the ground, this is the furthest point from the gate that you need to enter to undertake the tour. You will need to follow the street down from the station to the other end of the ground and then turn right and walk to the last gate. This is not well signed at all. Once at the correct gate, it is a short walk to the MCC museum where tickets for the tour are sold and is also the place where the tour starts
We had a quick look around the museum, which unfortunately didn't allow photos, and came across something that looked an awful lot like the Ashes, but as it was out in the open in a glass case with no signs on it, we weren't sure if it was the real thing or one of many replicas.
On the day we visited, there were too many people to be escorted around by just one guide, so they split the group in two with one group heading off to the media centre while our group was escorted to The Pavilion, which is effectively the Members Grandstand and has stood since the 1880′s. The tour was billed at 1hr 45, and from the very beginning we could tell that this tour guide was going to use every second of it. Every oil painting and piece of dust on the floor warranted a detailed explanation, which was made even worse by the fact that not only were photos not allowed in the grandstand either, a very serious pimply faced youth followed us everywhere to make sure no cameras were produced and to make sure our convict hands didn't touch anything that they shouldn't have.
It was a good group of people on the tour, largely Aussies, with a sprinkling of Kiwis, Indians and a couple of Brits for good measure and there was plenty of friendly banter about the last and the upcoming Ashes series. Although far too much detail was given about some of the paintings and artefacts stored with the building, having a guided tour through it is a wonderful and eye opening experience. The highlights of the Pavilion were certainly the famous long room and going into both the English and Visitors dressing rooms, sitting on the balconies overlooking the ground and seeing the famous names on the honour boards.
We then proceeded back to the museum for a quick look, where it was confirmed that the urn we had seen earlier really was the original authentic Ashes. It was actually bigger then I was expecting, similar to The Mona Lisa, I had heard so many times how small it was that I had now overestimated just how small it would be. It's certainly would never be considered large, but it is certainly bigger then thimble size. The guide went through the history of its creation, which I largely knew, but I did learn the urn itself was actually originally a perfume container.
We were escorted to one of the other grandstands where we were finally able to take pictures of the ground and its surroundings. To Australian standards, the seating capacity is tiny, with only room for about 28,000 people, of which 10,000 seats are reserved for MCC Members. No wonder they wanted 90 pounds to watch a day of the test a couple of days before, demand certainly outstrips supply.
We were then escorted to the Media Centre, which has a terrific view of the ground but the level of detail that the guide went into on its construction only reminded us how hungry we were as it was approaching 2pm. The Media Centre was the final point of the tour, before the guide dropped us at the souvenir store, which has a solid range of items to take home for friends and family.

In Closing

The tour around Lords covers a lot of ground and history. It is well worth doing, especially for cricket fans, just be prepared for it to be slow and to eat before you get there.

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