Some spring sporting trips with a difference

photo by CC user mistybushell on Flickr

The French Open, Paris

Several musicians – including Frank Sinatra – have offered up songs in tribute to the iconic location that is Paris over the years – and who could begrudge them? There is endless opportunities for fun in the capital of France and if you love your tennis, there’s a great reason to be here for the French Open, the second of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the season.

Held in May-June each year, the French Open is always a special time not least for the usually perfect weather. This is an ideal time to be in the city of light, regarded by many people as the fairest of all cities on the planet. This year’s French Open will be held from May 24th to June 7th, and if you can possibly be here to see if Rafael Nadal can make it a completely unprecedented 10th win.

Nadal has only lost his title once during his long reign which started back in 2005. In 2009, the Spaniard lost in the fourth round to Robin Söderling allowing the great Roger Federer to win his one and only French Open. At Roland Garros, Nadal is king.


by  y.caradec 

Rafael Nadal has already won 9 French Opens, and 2 Wimbledons

Wimbledon, London

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to mention the French Open without mentioning that most quintessential of all British sporting events, Wimbledon.

Held just a few weeks after the French Open, Wimbledon remains the biggest of the four Grand Slam events. It has traditionally been held each year in the last week of June and first week of July – but this year has been moved back a week to allow players more time to recuperate after Roland Garros. This year’s tournament will take place between Monday 29th June and Sunday 12th July.

Famously, the Wimbledon weather is very mixed and unpredictable. There have been tournaments with barely a dry day and others with blistering sunshine throughout – so come prepared.

Nevertheless, this is one of the most iconic sporting events the world has to offer and you have to be here at least once in your lifetime if you possibly can.

The Grand National, Liverpool

Moving away from tennis now, and starting much earlier in the spring – we have another quintessentially British and iconic sporting event, the Grand National.

It’s great fun as is the whole Aintree Grand National meeting in early April – and it just seems to get more popular every year. This year’s race will be held on Saturday 11th April.


by  stacey.cavanagh 

The Grand National course at Aintree near Liverpool

When it comes to racing betting, or any other type of betting for that matter, there’s no bigger single event anywhere in Europe. The amounts staked on the race in the UK alone run to over £150 million each year. It’s just one of those times when the whole country seems to come to a standstill to see the race.

If you want to be there, now is the time to start booking your tickets; and you surely won’t regret it – this is the most fun sporting day of the whole year for many of us.

The Masters Golf, Augusta

If there’s one golf major that the players themselves really want to win more than any other, it’s probably the first of the season – the famous Masters at Augusta, Georgia. And this is always a wonderful time of year to visit Augusta if you ever get the chance to. This year’s Masters Golf tournament will be held from April 9th – 12th. Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy is the pre-tournament favourite but his record at Augusta isn’t great. This is the only one of the four golf majors to elude the 25 year-old McIlroy, though, so he would dearly love to win to complete the Grand Slam of golf – a very rare thing indeed for one so young.

The Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo

If you had to pick out one motor race of any kind anywhere in the world that stands out above all others – it would surely have to be the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. This year’s iconic race will be held in Monte Carlo, from 22-24 May hot on the heels of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona (which would also be well worth the trip) two weeks earlier.


by  Nick J Webb 

Monte Carlo is the world’s most iconic motor racing venue

Le Mans 24-hour race, Le Mans

There’s nothing quite like Monte Carlo except, perhaps, Le Mans. This year’s famous 24-hour race will take place on June 13-14th, held partially on the streets of the town.

The UK FA Cup final, London

Last but not least, if you love your football, you have to try to get to Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final at least once in your life.

This is the oldest tournament in professional football anywhere in the world and is always a magical day no matter which two teams contest the famous old trophy. This year’s final will be held on Saturday May 30th.

Any and all of these sporting events are wonderful spectacles depending on your sporting preferences. You may not be able to get tickets for them all – but most have ways in which ordinary spectators can get close to the action – and they’re all held at a wonderful time of year in the northern hemisphere.