The Cambridge Varsity rugby matches 2023: How to spend a day in Twickenham
Despite O*ford students being there
Nothing is better than a rugby day in Twickers. The pubs are packed, atmospheric, and filled with an exciting buzz. On the 25th of March, the Cambridge women’s and men’s blues teams will battle Oxford’s sides in Twickenham stadium.
Whilst the two matches will be the best parts of the day, here are a few recommendations on how to spend your time in Twickenham before and after the games.
Do I need to say anymore?
Twickenham is renowned for its great pubs, and going for a drink before a game is a must. As someone who spent the majority of July, August, and September in The William Webb Ellis (Twickenham spoons), I would recommend a cheeky Bell’s Whiskey and cherry Pepsi Max at this fine establishment. Or, if you’re normal, you can get a pint.
For slightly more sophistication, a trip to the famous Cabbage Patch could be on the cards (where the likes of Ugo Monye and Chris Ashton like to enjoy a bev before a game at Twickenham).
When we’re feeling a bit more classy, my friends and I like a good trip to The Fox on Church Street, The White Swan, where you can paddle whilst you drink (my sister, aged seven, once carried a drunk man from his boat to this pub through the river) or The Crown, which is super bougie and has a lovely outdoor space.
A day of drinking and supporting requires a lot of energy and sustenance, and whilst Twickenham is not central London, there are many places to pick up some good scran.
People’s go-to is often the food stalls set up by local residents on the way to the stadium, but if you’re looking for a sit-down meal, I would recommend heading to Church Street, arguably the nicest street in Twickers. It’s quaint and lined with a number of independent (predominantly Indian and Italian) restaurants. The Twickenham Tandoori is my absolute favourite (it’s an addiction), but if you’re looking for something else another fave is Osteria Pulcinella. Not to sound like a twerp, but the clam pasta is to die for.
However, after a rugby match, I have been partial to Chinese food. If this sounds like you, head straight to Ewok in St.Margaret’s (the town next to Twickenham). I don’t think you’ve lived until you’ve had Ewok’s chicken Chow Mein on the side of the street after the rugby.
You may as well use any spare time you have in the day to have an exploration of Twickenham. It’s actually really nice.
Firstly, you could visit one of our lovely parks. A couple of tinnies in Marble Hill from the local Lidl is the way to go. When this lovely park is sunny, it is the best place. It has luscious grass, rugby pitches (if you fancy a kickaround), and some really scenic woods which lead to Orleans Gallery and a walk along the river.
On the other hand, York House Gardens, which has loads of cool sculptures and the tamest squirrels ever, is an option. It also backs onto the river and is close to some of the best pubs in the area.
Or, you could keep it more simple and go to Twickenham/Richmond Green, two lovely grassy areas not far from the stadium.
Another major landmark is Eel Pie island, which used to host big music events, the Rolling Stones even performed a career-building concert there in 1963. This island inspired Eel Pie studios, where the likes of The Who and others recorded some of their major albums. Unexpected, right?
One of the best walks in South West London is along the river from Richmond bridge, down the river all the way to central Twickenham. On a sunny day (fingers crossed for the 25th March), this walk is a must. If you get in at Richmond station, rather than Twickenham, head to one of Richmond’s delightful pubs, grab a takeaway bev, and walk to the stadium this way (I promise you won’t regret it).
But, let’s be honest, whilst Twickenham is absolutely lovely, the highlight of your day will be the rugby. The women’s game kicks off at 12pm, followed by the men’s at 3pm. With the competition alive and thriving at the thirds’ and seconds’ Varsity games, there’s no doubt that these matches will be highly competitive and full of excitement.
So, get your tickets ready, your CURUFC and Cambridge merch on, head to Twickenham and support the light blues at Varsity.
Good luck to all, and GDBO!
Feature Image Credits: Freya John