Stadium Guide

January 31, 2017

Stadium Guide

Ricoh Arena

With a heritage going back a century and a half, Wasps are one of rugby union’s most historic clubs. Having long been among club rugby’s elite, Wasps have enjoyed more than their share of on-field success over the years – winning six English Premiership titles (the most recent of which came in 2008), three Anglo-Welsh Cups and one Heineken Cup.

For years, the club were based in the Sudbury district of north-west London but moved to Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road stadium in the late ’90s, before relocating to Reading’s Madejski Stadium and then again – this time permanently – to Coventry in 2014. Having dropped ‘London’ from their name, Wasps now ply their trade at the Ricoh Arena, also home to Coventry City FC. Heading to the Ricoh for the rugby? Then here’s a quick guide.

The stadium

The Ricoh Arena is a purpose-built venue developed to replace Highfield Road, Coventry City’s former home, and which opened in 2005. Its maximum capacity for rugby and football matches is 32,609. A long-running wrangle between Coventry City and the ground’s original owners saw the football club forced to relocate to Northampton temporarily. Wasps now own the stadium outright, and share the facility with Coventry City.

The stadium features a bowl-like layout, with three single-tier stands and the two-tiered Lloydspharmacy Stand. The Ricoh is entirely all-seater and all seating areas are covered by the roof, so wherever you’re sat, you won’t be too exposed to the elements.

Getting to the Ricoh Arena

As a relatively newly-built stadium, the Ricoh Arena was designed with ease of transport in mind. It therefore enjoys good transport links, and here’s how you can get to it.

By car

The stadium is less than a mile from the M6. Leave the M6 at junction 3 and take the A444 towards Coventry city centre. Keep going until you get to the stadium, which will be on your left. Permit holders get priority when it comes to parking spaces, but some spaces at the ground are available for £10 on the day. Spaces can be booked in advance online, which is advisable. There are also other car parks operated by Wasps in the vicinity of the Ricoh. Further details can be found here.

There’s also a retail park next to the stadium, but free parking is restricted to two hours at the most unless you spend £25 or more in the shops. This car park is closely monitored on match days. There’s a Leisure Ireland car park close to junction 3 of the M6, just off the B4113 towards Bedworth. There are 200 spaces here, which can be booked in advance online.

By bus

There are no direct buses to the Ricoh Arena. However, you can catch the number 8 bus from Coventry railway station to the Coventry Transport Museum. From there, take the number 4 or 5 to the Arena Park Tesco next to the stadium. Follow the underpass to Car Park B of the Ricoh and then follow the signs to find the main entrance.

By rail

Coventry railway station is located in the city centre and directly links the city to major towns and cities across the country, including London, Manchester and Birmingham. In January 2016, Coventry Arena station – directly next to the stadium – was opened. On match days, there’s one double-carriage train per hour in either direction.

By air

Birmingham Airport is the nearest airport to Coventry. Trains run directly between the airport and Coventry, taking about 10-15 minutes each way. National Express coaches also run directly between Coventry and London Luton Airport, which involves a journey of about 90 minutes.

Around the ground

Eating and Drinking

When it comes to getting refreshments on match day, there are plenty of options around the ground and further down the road in Coventry city centre. Here are some we’d suggest checking out.

Pubs and restaurants near the Ricoh Arena

The Pilot Pub – From karaoke, to live sports and a vast array of food, the Pilot has it all. This pub is the perfect base for game day.

The Squirrel – Located in Coventry’s city centre, The Squirrel offers rugby fans a selection of cask marque ales & fine wines as well as an exciting new menu to explore.

The Castle Grounds – This Victorian built pub is a local favourite in Coventry, offering guests delicious food and local ales as well as a friendly welcome on entry.

Eating and drinking inside the Ricoh Arena

 

  • There are numerous bars dotted around the stadium. The Grosvenor Casino, next to the club shop, is open to fans on match days and features two regular bars as well as pop-up bars depending on the attendance expected at the game. The casino has a strict over-18s entry policy in place, however.

Places to stay

The Ricoh Arena has its own hotel with 121 rooms, but demand for these will obviously be at a premium whenever the rugby or football is on. Alternatively, there are plenty of hotels in Coventry city centre, including major chains such as Ramada, Days Inn, Holiday Inn and Britannia.

Other local attractions

Because the stadium is only a mile out of central Coventry, it’s easy to drop in on the city centre to find out what’s on offer. In particular, no visit to Coventry would be complete without a trip to the cathedral. The original 14th-century cathedral was ruined during World War II, but its ruins – primarily comprised of its tower, spire and outer walls – still stand. Basil Spence’s 1960s modernist replacement cathedral, next to the ruins of the old, is also very impressive in its own right.


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