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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Lord's Cricket Ground is called "the home of cricket". It is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is home to both Middlesex County Cricket Club and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The ground is named after its founder, Thomas Lord, and was established in 1814. The stadium also houses the world’s oldest sporting museum. Currently made up of nine different stands, Lord's has an all seated capacity of 28,000 with further redevelopment planned. The Victorian-era Pavilion, with its famous Long Room, is a Grade 11* listed building and is the centrepiece of both old and new architecture. The Old Father Time weather vane is located on the top of the Mound Stand, and it has its own history within the sport, as does the ornamental Grace Gates located at the stadium's entrance in St John’s Wood Road. The iconic Media Centre was built in 1999 for the Cricket World Cup, and floodlights were finally erected in 2007. Lord's always hosts an England Test Match each summer, and the venue is steeped in history with regards to both Test and County Cricket. It is also used to host major cricket finals, and was also used as a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics, hosting the Archery events.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
As described in reports on other cricket venues, the food and drink options for Test Matches at any stadium are more varied. Due to lower crowds, not all kiosks are open for County and One-Day Cricket within the domestic game. However, on a Test Match day, you will have plenty of choices, as there is a wide range of food available, with catering for all nationalities and for all tastes. There are restaurants, Food Villages, Bars, and the famous Lord's Tavern. Yes, it can be expensive, but the offerings are of good quality. You are also allowed to bring in your own picnics with limited quantities of wine and beer.
Cricket is unique in that it has different levels of atmosphere. County cricket is poorly supported, but the Test Match atmosphere is different, and attending an England Test Match at Lord's ranks alongside watching England football at Wembley or England Rugby at Twickenham. There is no better feeling in English sport when walking through the W.C. Grace Gates, past the Nursery, and around the inner stadium on a sunny Test Match day. Floodlight limited overs games are also special with the coloured clothing and white ball, and a visit to both day and night cricket at Lord's is a must.
Lord's is located in the St John's Wood suburb of London, where several famous celebrities live and where the Abbey Road Studios made famous by the Beatles are located. There are several public houses and shops located on the approach to the stadium. One of the nearest public houses is the Richmond Arms which sells snacks and a wide range of beers. There is also a Tesco Express near the stadium where food and drink can be purchased to take into Lord's.
Middlesex are London's two major cricket counties and have a good membership base. Crowds are a lot higher for the Pro 40 and Twenty/20 limited over games where the club operate under the name of Middlesex Panthers.
Lord's is best reached by taking the London Underground to St John's Wood station. Come out of the station turn left and the stadium is a mere five minute walk. Connections are available from all of London's main railway stations. If travelling by car then you are likely to pay the London congestion charge and parking is extremely difficult and expensive.
As with all cricket, you are reliant on the sunshine and dry weather, which currently in England is again a rarity. Pro 40 and Twenty/20 games offer tremendous value for money at less than £20 per game, and most fixtures are played under floodlights to entice supporters after work.
Lord's has an excellent club shop selling all sorts of cricket souvenirs. There is also a book shop specialising in cricket books. Betting shops are also on site, and the ground has two excellent scoreboards that are updated after each ball is bowled.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Jul 03, 2013
Lord's Cricket Ground was first established in 1787 and the current ground has been in use since 1814. It is owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club and the home ground of Middlesex.
It is located near St. John's Wood tube station on the Jubilee line. For those of you with a musical bent, Abbey Road Studios is nearby and you can see the iconic crosswalk that featured on the cover of the Beatles' final album. Just try not to get run over when taking a picture, the drivers around there are quite tired of fans slowing them down!
The pitch is surrounded by several stands. None of these are particularly special, but there are two buildings that you will notice. The first is the pavilion, where the members are allowed to sit. It was built in 1889 and contains the changing rooms as well as dining facilities for the members. Directly opposite is the media center, built in 1999 and resembling a spaceship. It is quite the contrast between these two buildings and illustrates just how much architecture has changed in a century.
The rest of the stands have two levels - most were constructed in the late 1900's as the entire ground underwent a large-scale renovation.
The most interesting feature of Lord's is the slope of the field. From one corner to the other the vertical difference is a remarkable 8 feet! It is quite noticeable from ground level and affects the bowling as a bounced ball behaves differently depending on which direction the bowler is facing.
The stadium holds 30,000 fans but on the cold spring day I attended, there were only 300, so I tried sitting in a variety of different locations. With the pitch in the middle of the field, there is no one section that is really close to the action. I preferred the Tavern Stand which is down low and let's you talk to the fielders when they are playing near the boundary.
However, many fans chose the Edrich Stand next to the Media Center which gives a better view of the movement of the balls.
There's a museum on site which is well worth visiting. There's also plenty of other buildings, restaurants, offices, etc. Lord's is more than just a sporting venue, it's the home of cricket and it acts as such.
There were a couple of food stands open and as usual I had a pie which I'd recommend. But it would be much better to see a match there when the ground is filled with people. I can imagine an Ashes match here to be incredible, but regardless, if you are in London while there is a match at Lord's, you simply must go.
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