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Got a question of sport? Check out your local museum

26th July 2013 Print
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Tours

Since Murray took the Wimbledon title last month, tennis fever has taken over the country. Those suffering withdrawal can learn the evolution of the game from a garden party pastime to a multimillion-dollar professional sport at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. Treasures from the first Championship in 1877 are on display here, alongside outfits and racquets from the champions of recent years, from Pete Sampras and Martina Navratilova to Roger Federer and of course, Andy Murray.

Highlights of the museum include a 'ghost' of John McEnroe seemingly speaking live from the locker room; Centre Court360 giving visitors a real viewing experience of Centre Court, and exciting interactive games from reaction tests to racquet design. From October, the brand new 3D art film Viewpoint will capture the sights, sounds and narrative of Wimbledon, opening on Centre Court during the final game of the 2012 tournament.

Museum costs £12 per adult, or £22 as part of a guided tour of Wimbledon.

Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, Rugby

It's little wonder that the Rugby Museum is located in Rugby, the sport's birthtown. It was here in 1823 that William Webb Ellis snatched up the football, "with a fine disregard for the rules of the game", and ran with it during a match at Rugby School. Just down the road, The Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum houses a large collection of rugby memorabilia and artefacts gathered over the 160 years in which the building has been directly involved with the game. Since 1842, the building has been at the centre of rugby ball manufacturing - originally the workshop of William and then James Gilbert, who began a tradition of rugby football manufacture on this site that is carried on by Webb Ellis Ltd. to this day.

The collection is displayed in four themed areas - the origins, the players, the game and the ball.

Admission is free. 

National Football Museum, Manchester

The National Football Museum opened in its new Manchester location in July 2012. Setting out to introduce non-fans to the world of football, and to lay out the sport's culture and history for existing fans, the museum received over 100,000 visitors in its first week. Exhibits explain how football became 'the people's game' and is a key part of England's heritage and way of life.

The museum is home to the country's most extensive football collection, housing more than 140,000 items, including the FIFA Collection.

Admission is free.

River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames

This award-winning building is set directly on the banks of the Thames, just a few minutes' walk from the centre of Henley-on-Thames. The River & Rowing Museum has three galleries, dedicated to the international sport of rowing, rivers and the history of Henley, and contains the largest and most comprehensive collection of oar-powered racing boats in the world, stretching from the Napoleonic Wars to the Olympics of 2004. This summer, the museum's major exhibition is Freedom of the River - The Story of Paralympic Rowing.

Adult tickets cost £8.50; children £6.50.

Marylebone Cricket Club Museum, Lord's, London

Opened in 1953 by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, the MCC Museum is one of the world's oldest sporting museums. The museum's collection was begun in 1864 and spans the full history of cricket, from its emergence as a major sport in the early 18th century to the modern age of Twenty20 and the IPL. A wide range of cricketing memorabilia is on display, including its most famous artefact the original Ashes urn, a personal gift to England captain Ivo Bligh in 1883 and later donated to MCC by his widow in 1928. The urn now rarely leaves Lord's. The last time it did so, for the 2006/7 Ashes Exhibition in Australia, more than 100,000 people came to see it.

The MCC Museum is open year-round, and is a part of the famous Lord's Tour, a 100-minute guided tour of Lord's Cricket Ground with behind-the-scenes access.

Adult tickets cost £7.50.

National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket, Suffolk

The National Horseracing Museum was officially opened 30 years ago, on 30 April 1983, by HRH Queen Elizabeth II. A 30th Anniversary exhibition that runs until the end of the year looks at the past, present and future plans of the museum at the Palace House site in Newmarket.

On display are the starting post of Newmarket's gruelling Beacon Course, jockeys' kit and trophies through decades and even the skeleton of Hyperion, bred and owned by the 17th Earl of Derby.

Adult tickets cost £6.50; children £3.50.

The Donington Grand Prix Collection, Derby

Donington is home to the largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars in the world. Offering four halls and more than 130 exhibits, the Donington Grand Prix Collection illustrates the history of motor sport from the turn of 20th century. Get close to cars driven by the likes of Nuvolari, Mansell, Prost, Fangio and Stewart, plus the largest collection of McLaren and Williams racing cars in the world (outside of their factories) and the only complete collection of Vanwalls. A must for racing enthusiasts. The onsite Grand Prix Café is perfect for pit-stops.

Adult tickets £10; children over 6, £4; children under 6, free.

For those that prefer superbikes to supercars, the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham is the largest and most comprehensive motorcycle museum in the world. The museum has a comprehensive collection of bikes from days gone by and a selection of machines showing the development of the motorcycle from its early days to the golden years of the 1930s - 60s, when British motorcycles 'ruled the world'.

Adult tickets £8.95.

For more inspiration for days out, attractions and museums in England, go to

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Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Tours