The search to establish England’s ultimate sporting capital began in June, when VisitEngland asked the public to nominate their top sporting experiences and venues across the country. Over the following weeks, more than 2,000 submissions flooded in from across the country, and spanned everything from favourite running routes and personal fitness challenges to stadia holding tens of thousands of fans and even choice pubs for watching the action.
Establishing a shortlist was no mean feat – a VisitEngland panel worked through the thousands of claims to select the leading destinations according to their offering of sporting venues and attractions, the breadth of their sporting experiences, diverse and beautiful backdrops, and sporting trivia or claims to fame.
The shortlist of England’s top sporting destinations, announced today, is:
- The people’s choice (most nominations) – Nottingham
- Sporting playground – Yorkshire
- Biggest claim to fame – Rugby
- Best sporting attractions – Manchester
- Quirkiest sports – Gloucestershire
- Iconic venues and events – London
Maureen McAllister, executive director of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association says: “the Forest of Dean is a real centre for unusual pastimes – there’s nowhere else in England where you can see surfers riding 50 foot waves down the river! From the surfing Severn Bore to exploring caves hundreds of meters underground, the Forest of Dean is proud of its quirky sports and we’re thrilled to be part of Gloucestershire’s bid for England’s Home of Sport.”
Susie Hunt, Partnership Manager for Cotswolds Tourism added “We’ve been proud advocates of quirky sports since the first Olympick Games were held in 1612. Together with the rest of Gloucestershire, we believe we are England’s true Home of Sport representing as we do the true spirit of English eccentricity.”
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive says: “shortlisting six destinations from a pool of 2,000 nominations was a tough job. Between them, these destinations showcase England’s diversity as a sporting country. Gloucestershire earned its place in our Home of Sport shortlist with the sheer range of quirky sports and pastimes held here, from River Football in the River Windrush to the Cotswolds Olympicks and Wacky Races. Voting goes live today, and we are excited to see which of our worthy shortlist the public crowns the country’s ultimate Home of Sport.”
Head to www.englandhomeofsport.com to vote and help make Gloucestershire England’s official #HomeofSport !
Voting will close on 19 October, and the winner announced on 23 October 2015.