A Family Day Out at Harlequins Rugby, Twickenham
By Ben Turner
Strange though it may seem, I have made it to my late thirties without going to a major sporting event.
I was never into football as a child (so had no interest in going to a football match) and my dad wasn’t much interested in anything other than cycling.
In terms of my rugby journey, I didn’t get into rugby until 2003 when England won the World Cup - a good year to get into rugby if, like me, you’re from England! I’ve been an avid follower of international rugby ever since but not premiership rugby. Until now.
I recently took my 3.5 year old son to Twickenham Stoop Stadium to see a Harlequins game to find out how family-friendly the experience would be.
Travel was the first thing to think about, and in particular whether to take a buggy. Billy is happy to walk, but not far and like most young children, enjoys taking his time. The Stoop is really close to Twickenham Station so I decided not to take the buggy (though if you are considering taking one, you wouldn’t be alone, I spotted at least three just at the South Stand).
The walk from Twickenham Station didn’t take too long, even at Billy’s pace - probably around 15-20 minutes. The stadium was well signposted although we didn't need the signs, we simply followed the crowd of Quins jerseys. Getting into the stadium and to our seats was also quick and easy as there were no queues, although we did arrive about 10 minutes after kick off. The stands are not overwhelmingly big, great for when you're juggling a bag of supplies, a pint of Guinness and holding a toddler's hand.
The atmosphere in the stadium was exactly as I had expected, naturally, it was mostly Quins fans, I don’t think I saw a single bit of orange anywhere but on the field of play. It was relaxed and thankfully both Billy and I could see the field from our seats. We were close to the touchline and in the second half saw some great tries by the Quins.
When it came time to leave - after what was a fairly comprehensive win for the Quins - it was a relaxed stroll out of the stadium (no queuing, no jostling) and off to the train station to get the train back to Waterloo. Billy wanted pizza and I had promised him ice cream after my earlier ‘no cash’ faux pas and we got home, tired but happy just before bedtime.
A 3pm kick-off is about as late as as is workable with a three year old, any later and we’d be pushing it. All in all, it was a great day out. Billy enjoyed his first experience of ‘real rugby’ (rather than watching it on the TV!), as did I. I would definitely take him again.
Harlequins is the London rugby club. For more information on tickets, or to purchase a family Membership for the 2017/18 season, visit quins.co.uk.