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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Edgbaston Cricket Stadium is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, as well as one of England’s, and the world’s, premier cricket stadiums. It regularly hosts Test matches, one-day internationals, and major cricket finals. The stadium is all-seated with a capacity of 25,000, making it the second-highest in England behind Lord's. The ground’s facilities have been increased twofold with its new South and West Stands where most of the stadium's restaurants are located. Now complete with floodlights, Edgbaston is a fantastic venue and a truly great arena to watch cricket.
(Note: exchange rates are as of the date of this posting, September 2013.)
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Unlike football stadiums going to a Test match is a different experience in terms of catering, and the food and drink experience will be more akin to that of a baseball game in the States. A wide range of different stalls sell burgers, Chinese, Indian, fish & chips, and sandwiches. In addition, there are ice cream stalls and specialist coffee outlets. Edgbaston is a multi-cultural venue, and although the food and drink on offer can be expensive, it does offer value for money. For those wishing to participate in an alcoholic beverage, there are wine bars and areas selling beer and lager. Unlike football stadiums, you are allowed to drink alcohol at cricket matches whilst watching play.
Cricket is unique in that it has different levels of atmosphere. County cricket is poorly supported, but the Test match atmosphere when England play at Edgbaston is special. It is renowned for being one of the best in Test match cricket. One-day internationals and Twenty20 games also possess good atmospheres. To sample the atmosphere of a Test match, the best place to purchase your ticket is the Eric Hollies Stand. It is normally here where you will see the Beer Snake. This is where fans place together a day's worth of empty plastic pint beer glasses to make a snake.
The second-largest city in England, Birmingham has excellent shopping areas, hotels, and restaurants. Although there is little to occupy in the vicinity of the ground, Edgbaston is only a short bus ride from the city's hub in New Street. Here, you will find the Bull Ring Centre, Hippodrome Theatre, and the City Hall. The National Exhibition Centre, the LG Arena, and Cadbury World are all nearby. There are hundreds of curry houses in the city, and the Lasan Indian Curry House located in the Jewelery Quarter is number one in the city's top ten.
Warwickshire County Cricket Club has a good fan base and possess one of the highest membership bases in county cricket. Things on the pitch have not been great this season, but the club has still won major honours within the past five years.
The stadium takes its name from the district of the city in which it is located. The nearest railway station is Birmingham New Street, which is the hub for all trains within England due to its central location. A bus journey from here to Edgbaston will take about twenty minutes. If driving, take the Aston Express Way from the M6 Motorway through the tunnels, and turn left at the Five Ways Junction, where the stadium will be signposted. There are both official car parks at and near the ground, and street parking is also available, but with restrictions in some places. Birmingham International Airport is also close by.
If the sun shines, a day at a Test match or a one-day game is excellent value for money, even though tickets for England games are £40 ($64.30) and over. Tickets for Warwickshire games are less, and prices for Twenty20 games are fantastic value at about £20 ($32.15). Dependent on the duration of a day's play and the number of overs bowled, there are refund and part refund schemes available in the event of bad weather.
Warwickshire has an excellent club shop selling a wide range of cricket gear, replica shirts, and other cricket souvenirs. The ground has a number of big screens that shows the review decisions and replays during the game. Music is also played when a wicket falls and between overs during the shorter game versions of cricket.
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