Harlequins' Twickenham Stoop
April 05, 2016
Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop
As one of English rugby’s longest-established clubs – with a history stretching back to their foundation in 1866 – Harlequins have been responsible for their its fair share of thrills and spills over the years. Quins’ trophy haul includes one Premiership title (2012) and three Anglo-Welsh Cups (1988, 1991 and 2013), as well as three European Challenge Cups or predecessor competitions (2001, 2004, 2011). Quins will be celebrating their 150th anniversary from July 2016 to summer 2017, with a programme of festivities planned.
Since 1963, the club have been based at Twickenham Stoop. The ground is only a stone’s throw away from its near namesake, the home of English and arguably world rugby. If you’re planning a trip to the Stoop any time soon, we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you make the most of your visit.
The stadium itself
Twickenham Stoop is one of relatively few stadia from its era to be designed specifically for rugby. This provides for a unique matchday experience tailor-made for the dedicated rugby fan. The stadium is enclosed on all sides and this helps to create a more intense atmosphere, particularly when (as it often is) the Stoop is at or near its full capacity of 14,800.
There are four stands at the Stoop: the North Stand, the South Stand, the IG (west) Stand and the DHL (east) Stand. The DHL Stand is the largest of these, with around 4,200 seats as well as corporate hospitality boxes, the main public bar, Players’ Lounge and Debenture Lounge. Also located in the DHL Stand is the Mighty Quins Village, a children’s play area. It’s worth noting that this stand actually slightly exceeds the length of the pitch, so if you’re right at the end you may be sat beyond the try line.
Located opposite the DHL Stand is the IG Stand, with a capacity of about 4,000. Built for the start of the 2005-06 season, the IG Stand also features corporate boxes as well as a members’ bar and the Quins club shop. The Stoop’s North Stand is a temporary structure with around 2,000 seats, while the South Stand – the stadium’s most recent addition, opened in the 2010-11 season – has about 4,000. The South Stand also features a club shop and a bar, the Quins Head, serving real ale.
All the stands are covered, but the first few rows can be exposed when it’s raining depending on the wind direction. If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs, merchandise is on sale by gate 1 in the north-west corner of the ground, gate 3 in the south-east corner and in a trailer located in the south-west corner.
Getting to the ground
The Stoop is located on Langhorn Drive, which is easily reached from the motorway network. Leave the M25 for the M3 at Junction 12, continuing on to the A316. Within about 15 minutes you should notice the Stoop on your right. If you’re looking for somewhere to park, watch out for the Rosebine public car park along the A316 as this is the main matchday car park for the Stoop. Parking there will cost you £5. There’s some parking at the ground itself, but this is only for debenture holders and disabled drivers. If you need a disabled space then it’s best to get in touch with the club to make the necessary arrangements.
The Stoop and Twickenham itself are also well served by buses. The 281, which runs from Tolworth Tower to Hounslow, stops close to the ground. There’s also the 490 which runs between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Richmond, which heads along Staines Road – a short walk from the Stoop – towards Richmond Road.
The nearest railway station to the Stoop is Twickenham, which is a roughly 15-minute walk from the stadium. There are regular services to London Waterloo and Reading from Twickenham. If you’re looking for connecting services to the rest of the south, then you’ll need to change at Clapham Junction. From the station, cross and turn right on to the main road – this is London Road. Keep left on to Whitton Road, then take the first left on to Court Way. Take the first left again on to Craneford Way, then follow it around until you reach Langhorn Drive on the right. The ground should then be right in front of you.
Whitton railway station is also fairly close to the Stoop – the walk to the stadium from the station takes around 20 minutes. The Underground doesn’t run to Twickenham itself, but you can take the Tube to nearby Richmond. From there, you can catch a train towards Twickenham which is two stops westbound along the line.
The closest airport to the Stoop is Heathrow, about six miles from Twickenham. There are no direct train services from Heathrow – they head towards Paddington, where you’d need to change again – but a cab from the airport only takes about 25 minutes and shouldn’t cost you more than £20-25. Alternatively, you can take a Piccadilly Line Underground train to Hounslow and take a taxi from there.
You can also take the 285 bus from Heathrow to Feltham railway station – they run every 10 minutes – then hop on a train to Twickenham which is two stops away. If you’re travelling from Gatwick, take a London-bound train (except the Gatwick Express) to Clapham Junction, where you can catch a connecting train to Twickenham.
Around the ground
As you might expect from such a popular sporting destination, there’s plenty for visiting rugby fans to do in and around Twickenham. The area offers an enviable and diverse array of pubs and restaurants, as well as a number of other attractions. There are also, as we’ve already noted, bars inside the ground itself.
Eating and Drinking
- The Sussex Arms – Famous for its mouth-watering pies, the Sussex Arms is also renowned for its diverse and ever-changing selection of ales and ciders as well as its acoustic nights for the musically-minded. You can even play a quick game of boules out in the back garden, if you’re so inclined.
- The Albany – An independent community pub located on Queen’s Road – a short walk from Twickenham railway station – The Albany offers great home-cooked food as well as cask ales, wines and cocktails, and a relaxing beer garden, the perfect place to wind down after all the drama and tension of the match.
- Twickenham Fine Ales Brewery Bar – Enjoy a unique drinking experience at Twickenham Fine Ales’ Brewery Bar, which is open pre-match and where you can enjoy the brewery’s ales among the brewing vessels themselves. There’s also a big screen on which you can watch rugby matches televised on terrestrial TV (these are mainly internationals, rather than Quins games). Hot food is served most days. For information on opening times and more, check the Twickenham Fine Ales website here.
- The Cabbage Patch – quite possibly ‘the most famous rugby pub in the world’, The Cabbage Patch is hugely popular among visiting rugby fans from all over the globe. Quins fans and visiting supporters alike can be found mingling here and revelling in the welcoming atmosphere whenever there’s a match at the Stoop. Along with a great range of cask ales and lagers, there’s an extensive wine list and seasonal, hot pub food on offer at The Cabbage Patch. It also has areas for private hire, a lush garden and even its own live music bar and nightclub!
- The Shack 68 – Combining a laid-back, relaxing atmosphere with a delicious BBQ-inspired menu including meats, sandwiches and salads, The Shack 68 is a great place to enjoy food and a few drinks before or after the game. In the evening, there’s music and a diverse range of cocktails on offer. For private functions, there’s also an event space on the first floor with a capacity of 130.
- The Duke of Cambridge – A firm favourite among visiting rugby fans, the Duke of Cambridge at Whitton is within easy reach of the Stoop. There are four TV screens at the pub with live sports shown, and there are also four bars located near the covered patio areas. The pub offers a matchday menu including freshly-prepared hot beef and pork rolls as well as sausages, burgers and more.
- Arthur’s on the Green – Located on Twickenham Green, Arthur’s on the Green is a gourmet bistro combining a relaxed and bohemian atmosphere with fine cuisine.
- Blue’s Smokehouse – A popular haunt among visiting rugby fans, Blue’s Smokehouse offers authentic, full-flavoured American BBQ classic dishes – and more – which are perfect either pre-match or post-match. There’s also a generous range of beers and ciders from around the world and delicious, distinctive cocktails.
Eating and drinking inside the Stoop
- The Stoop’s main public bar – the King’s Bar – can be found in the DHL Stand. The bar continues to serve post-match and there’s often a live band which performs after the game. Live matches are also shown on TV in the bar.
- Behind the South Stand, there’s the Quins Head real ale bar. There are usually around four real ales – one of them a guest ale – available here, as well as soft drinks.
- The Members’ Bar is located on the ground floor of the IG Stand. This is, however, for season ticket holders only.
There are several hotels which can provide accommodation that’s within easy reach of the Stoop. The local Premier Inn is within walking distance of the Stoop, while there’s a Travelodge located right next to Twickenham railway station and there’s also a Marriott hotel inside Twickenham (national) Stadium. Several local pubs can also offer overnight accommodation. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in central London and take in some of the sights of the city while you’re there. There are also numerous hotels in nearby Richmond.
Twickenham is just a short journey away from some of London’s most popular and historic tourist hotspots – including the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, Hampton Court Palace and the lush greens of Richmond Park.
No dedicated rugby fan should visit Twickenham without a trip to the World Rugby Museum at the main Twickenham Stadium, which houses a vast array of memorabilia from throughout the game’s history. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Stadium tours are also available, with three daily between Tuesday and Friday, four on Saturday and two on Sunday. However, the museum and the stadium are closed on Mondays except for Bank Holidays.
Special thanks go to Scott Cooke of Quins’ Supporters Association (www.quinssa.org.uk) for his help in putting this guide together.