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Think of it this way: rugby’s kind of like NFL football with no pads. Now that we have your attention, the 2017 Six Nations rugby championships kicked off in February, and we’ve found three places to combine head–to–head competition with post–scrum sightseeing.

 

BT Murrayfield Stadium | Edinburgh, Scotland

We’re guessing Queen Victoria wasn’t there, but the BT Murrayfield Stadium hosted its inaugural match during her reign, back in 1871. Since then it’s become an institution in its own right. Located just outside of Edinburgh city center, the stadium is only 15 minutes’ drive from some of the city's best attractions.

If you go, spend an hour or two discovering Edinburgh Castle's turbulent past, or explore the Old Town. The Scotch Whisky Experience is home to the world’s largest collection of Scotch, and the tour includes a tasting. Ponder rugby rules over in a cozy pub at Bon Vivant on Thistle Street, where you’re more likely to find local oysters than haggis.

Principality Stadium | Cardiff, Wales

Only a stone's throw from Cardiff Central Railway, the Principality Stadium is in an ideal location for exploring. Fire up your sporting spirit at the Old Arcade, a historic pub lined with Welsh Rugby Union memorabilia. Post–match, fill up at Depot, an indoor street food venue situated in a 24,000 sq. ft. former warehouse; it hosts foodie events, beer festivals and the weekly Street Food Social. If you fancy a bit of posh, head to the Victorian and Edwardian Arcades; once built to shelter the genteel from the rain, it is now an upscale shopping destination.

Twickenham Stadium | London, England

The largest dedicated rugby venue in the world seats 82,000 fans, and they like to get loud. After the game, take a trip to the nearby Royal Botanical Kew Gardens, a huge estate dedicated to the research and preservation of the world's plants. It’s quiet there, with tearooms, pergolas, and greenhouses for spirits in need of soothing. The local favorite Tap on the Line pub is close by, too. Also close to Twickenham is Strawberry Hill House, a flamboyant castle built by Horace Walpole in the 18th century, replete with battlements, gothic rooms and a garden known as a riot of informality in its day. Should hunger or an urge to shop strike, Petersham Nurseries offers a café and restaurant in the area, along with beautiful home wares for unique souvenirs. 

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