Six weeks of sporting action kick off this Friday as the Rugby World Cup 2015 takes over London. The Olympic Stadium, Wembley and Twickenham will all play a starring role, filled with grown men smashing into each other full pelt as the crowds cheer them on. But even if you haven't got a ticket you can still get into the sporting spirit by pulling up a pew in one of London's boozers or maybe try one of the many open-air screenings instead.
If you walk into any Young's pub in London over the next few weeks you'll find rugger on screen, but there are three venues in particular that caught our attention. Head to The Alexander Pope in Twickenham, the Old Ship in Richmond and the Duke's Head in Putney for wide-screen watching and rugby-themed activities, plus tasty nosh and all the beer you can get through.
NICHOLSON’S RUGBY ALE FESTIVAL:
Nicholson's Pubs across London are celebrating the rugby in style as part of a UK wide ale festival. Punters can drink specially created brews while watching the game. And downloading the Nicholsons’s Hop Circle App during the festival will get you a free pint at the start of the festivities. The festival runs from 18 September to 4 October and is free to attend. Find your local on the website.
M restaurants is celebrating the Rugby World Cup with a party in support of the School of Hard Knocks, a charity that uses rugby to bring disadvantaged youths into work. Live music will follow the game. The entry fee includes a Gentleman’s Brew or Gentleman Jack Cocktail on arrival, a pint of Asahi or Guinness and a chicken karaage bao or a doctor burger. Tickets are £25 (£10 of which goes to the charity)
THE BURGER OF NATIONS:
Who wants to spend six weeks in a rowdy old man's boozer when you can watch the games sipping cocktails in your very own Thai Tea Hut? The Grand Union in Brixton has also put together a burger menu matching each contender with their local cuisine. £10 for a burger plus fries and coleslaw. Grand Union’s locations cover the North: Camden, Chancery Lane, Paddington and Farringdon; and the South: Brixton, Camberwell, Kennington and Wandsworth.
LONDON BEER FACTORY:
The London Beer Factory is screening all the matches throughout October and have even brewed a beer specially for the event. Tickets are only a fiver and for £3 a pint you can't really go wrong. Book tickets early to avoid missing out.
HOT WINGS EATING COMPETITION:
Meat lovers should get themselves to The Three Wings in Dalston as it's celebrating the Rugby World Cup with a hot wings eating competition. Entry to the competition is £2. You'll win a meal for two with drinks if you can stomach enough food without busting a gut. England versus Fiji will be projected at 8pm followed by DJs until late.
THE FAMOUS THREE KINGS:
The Famous Three Kings in West Kensington is one of the best sports pubs in London and will be screening all the games. With over 60 ales to choose from and a food menu that won't break the bank, what more could you want?
THE CABBAGE PATCH:
As close as you can get to the action without being in the action, The Cabbage Patch will be filled with rugby revellers having a pre-drink before heading to the match, so get there early to nab a seat.
RUGBY ON THE UNDERGROUND:
Transport for London has teamed up with ITV to broadcast live rugby news and updates so you'll never miss a try even when you're on the move. Look out for the updates on digital information boards at the entrances of all stations and on platforms at over 180 London Underground and DLR stations. Check out the TFL website for kick-off times.
FULLERS CLUB HOUSE:
This year Fullers, at the London Pride Clubhouse in Moorgate, is celebrating 170 years of brewing and supporting local teams. Alongside their awesome sound system and state-of-the-art screens they'll be serving up home-made bar snacks. The match days will be hosted by professional rugby legends. Tickets are free but you'll need to apply in advance.
On a budget? Enjoy the England versus Fiji game at Roxy London. Your ticket includes entry and dinner for just £6, but be sure to book in advance.
Al Fresco Rugby Screenings
BOXPARK GREEN BIG SCREEN:
Take advantage of the offers on food and drink from the pop-up stalls nearby then grab a deckchair and relax on the green bit of East London's Boxpark.
Enjoy all the sporting action on the big screen at Exchange Square. On 18 September you can see live coverage from 1pm.
RUGBY ON THE GREEN:
This one guarantees an escape from the congestion of the pub as Rugby on the Green alternates between Parson's Green and Fulham Palace private gardens. Alongside the sport expect DJs, a silent disco and pop-up stalls. Munch on gourmet food washed down with craft beer before practising your rugby skills in the fun zone. Ticket prices now start from £9.99 (updated 19 October), book early to save money.
Enjoy afternoon screenings of the games from Paddington Amphitheatre at Sheldon Square, though they aren't screening anything after 8pm you can still catch the New Zealand versus Argentina, Australia versus Fiji and Tonga versus Namibia games all free of charge.
Roof-top film club has transformed Roof East in Stratford into a Rugby retreat. Watch the game on a massive LED screen with stunning views over London and the Olympic Stadium. Alongside the street food take advantage of the food and drinks deals. Entry is free.
Rugby Fanzones will be established across the UK with four in London. Head to Trafalgar Square, Wembley Park, Richmond Old Deer Park and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will all be home to a big screen showcasing live matches plus extra rugby themed activities, food, drink and entertainment.
Trafalgar Square will be open from the weekend of the semi-finals until the final and include entertainment, food and drink, and rugby activities on the semi-final, bronze final and final match days. On non-match days you can expect community initiatives and events to celebrate the game and the wider aims of the tournament.
Alongside screenings of the matches, rugby fans can take part in scrum machines and passing and tackle challenges. The Fanzone will be live on 20 September and on 27 September from 11.00am-4.15pm
RICHMOND OLD DEER PARK
You can catch all the rugby matches at Richmond Old Deer Park with each game to be introduced by a special guest, plus music and family activities.
QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK
There's a big screen showing live matches as well as opportunities for fans to engage in special activities. Look out for live performances from musicians and a good range of food and drink stalls.
Other rugby related stuff
Purchase all the rugby merchandise you could want to show your support at the Rugby World Cup 2015 store in Covent Garden.
From 11 September, just in time for the Rugby World Cup, residents and visitors with wireless devices such as smart phones, tablets or laptops will be able to log on to the FreeRichmondWifi account to receive 30 minutes free Wi-Fi per day. Additionally, users will be able to access three websites — Richmond Council, Visit Richmond, and TfL on an unlimited basis for free.