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Here’s all that you can pack in if you are visiting Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Leeds this summer.

There are two kinds of people: those who love sports and others who don’t exist. If you ask me, there’s nothing that can quite compare to living through the adrenaline rush and frenzy of watching a game of cricket live at some of the legendary stadiums across the world. I have had a 100 per cent record of watching India beat Pakistan in international tournaments so far. From the 1996 Cricket World Cup in Bangalore to the 2015 World Cup at Adelaide and the last one in 2016 at Birmingham for the ICC Champions Trophy. If you are a crazy cricket lover like me and fortunate to be in the UK catching the historic wins and defeats of the blockbuster ICC World Cup 2019, here’s a ready reckoner of the unmissable hot spots across the four big states in the UK while you enjoy all the action-packed matches.

Birmingham
Edgbaston Cricket Ground will host the second Semi Final of ICC World Cup 2019
This industrial-town-turning-gourmet-capital of the United Kingdom is best known for the world-famous Edgbaston Cricket Ground and its top-class hospitality boxes. An easy train ride of just over two hours from London Euston and you are in Birmingham. Planned around a network of canals and lined with a plethora of cafes and bars, the food scene is rather eclectic with as many as four Michelin star restaurants within the city limits.

There are more than 80 trains daily, making it easy for the last-minute planners to get to this city. Boasting of its 18th century manufacturing credentials, Birmingham is a treat for art lovers with a host of museums, art galleries, theatres and concert halls. Known for the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, among many others also hosted a rare exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci drawings to mark the 500th anniversary of his death, earlier this year. For a peek into its jeweled treasures, a visit to the two and half century old British Jewellery Quarter, which is the largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade in the UK, is a must. Home to retailers, diamond dealers, and workshops, as well as the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and the Pen Museum, there is an array of restaurants, cafes or pubs for everyone.

If history is not your calling, head straight to Pitcher & Piano pub at the Brindleyplace by the canal. With an enviable canal side location, this is just the perfect place to unwind after a great game of cricket at the Edgbaston. And Indian music lovers, don’t be stunned if you happen to lunch alongside the melody queen Asha Bhosle at her eponymous restaurant Asha's Birmingham, while you satiate your biryani or baingan ka bharta cravings.
Recommended
Restaurants: Adam’s, Purnell’s, Carters of Moseley
Bars: Bacchus Bar, Pitcher & Piano, The Church Inn

Manchester
Old Trafford will host the first Semi Final of ICC World Cup 2019
If you are still reeling from the nail-biting India-Pakistan game, touted to be the most watched match so far at the ICC World Cup 2019, at Old Trafford and want to explore more of this city, here’s what you can do.

Old Trafford, known more for being the home ground of the famed Manchester United football team, has been hosting some of the most high-profile matches during the 45-days cricketing tournament. Youthful and bursting with character, Manchester has an eclectic clubbing scene along with shops, museums, galleries and hotels to make your stay eventful. Don’t forget to check out the Warehouse Project—one of the most celebrated night-out destinations in the world. Music is the central theme of this energetic city having produced bands such as Bee Gees in the 1970s and The Smiths in the 1980s. Two years ago, after the horrific attacks at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, she came back with other artists to perform in a houseful concert named One Love Manchester. Take a trip to the famed Northern Quarter that houses art galleries such as the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery to savour the city’s iconic architecture. The mind-blowing street art throughout this area makes this one of Manchester’s most happening areas.

When in Manchester, no visit will be complete without a visit to the National Football Museum. You never know which football legend you might run into! With a packed calendar of world class events throughout the year, watch out some exiting events to make this a memorable trip.
Recommended
Restaurants: Bundobust, Hawksmoor, Dishoom Manchester
Bars: The Marble Arch, Star Inn on the Cliff, Sinclair’s Oyster Bar

Cardiff
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is jointly hosted by England and Wales. And the capital of Wales, the picturesque Cardiff, is one of the venues for this year’s tournament. Unlike the first two locations, Cardiff has lesser people from the Indian subcontinent living here but has a lot to offer a tourist. Castles, museums, parks, music arenas, restaurants and pubs—it’s prefect for a quick weekend getaway. The imposing Cardiff Bay area—teeming with restaurants and pubs–is perfect for a stroll with your gang of friends post a match of cricket. To let you in on a fact, there’s no better place than England for music lovers. If you want to catch on some of the best local and international artists, head to the Wales Millennium Centre. The best gigs in town are normally held in this massive 2500-capacity venue. Something touristy in mind? Then don’t miss the 11th century Cardiff Castle. Among many war exhibits, check out the bomb shelters used during World War II. There are various tickets that take you to different levels, the highest one includes the rooftop garden and a spectacular view.

Leeds
Headingley Cricket Ground will host India vs Sri Lanka on July 6, 2019
Do you remember the famous accent of batsman Geoff Boycott? He was the one to put Yorkshire and Headingley on the world map. The unofficial capital of Yorkshire, Leeds is a beautiful landscape of natural beauty and walking trails. Drawing from Yorkshire’s illustrious brewing heritage, Leeds’s repertoire of microbreweries and craft-beer bars is sure to leave you in great spirits. Whether you’re looking for culture, history, shopping or just splendid architecture, make sure you visit the Royal Armouries, which houses the national collection of arms and artillery of Britain, including Henry VIII’s tournament armour. To escape the busy touristy itineraries, sit around at one of the bars and live music venues in Call Lane. Over the weekends, the entire road is reserved for pedestrians-only or bar-hopping revellers. However, if you are visiting Leeds with your family spend a whole day at the Roundhay Park, a 700-acre patch of greenery that attracts day-picnickers, joggers and sun-bathers.
Recommended
Restaurants: Hana Matsuri, Souvlaki, Ox Club, Stubbing Wharf
Bars: Kirkstall Bridge, Whitelocks, Roland’s.

While you soak in England’s best attractions, make sure you head back to London for the finals at the Lords, the mecca of cricket. Book your hotels early and enjoy the glorious summer of London.


Images: Shutterstock.com

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