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Rugby destinations guide

Why go to Rugby?

A pretty market town in Warwickshire, close to the River Avon, Rugby has become synonymous with the sport that originated here. Museums, local landmarks and even lively pubs honour the game, and you don’t have to be a rugger fan to be wowed by its unlikely origins - schoolboy William Webb Ellis sparked a new sporting craze in 1823 when he caught a football and ran with it during a match at Rugby School. Discover how his act of rebellion inspired one of the world’s greatest games, then round off the day by relaxing in one of rugby’s many history-steeped pubs.    

  • visit the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, housed in a former workshop where the first rugby balls were made
  • bronze plaques celebrating rugby greats form a Pathway of Fame through the town centre.
  • in 1567, a local grocer - who’d found fortune in London - left money in his will to build Rugby School, now one of Britain’s oldest independent schools
  • Thomas Hughes’s semi-autobiographical book Tom Brown’s Schooldays was based on Rugby School
  • the school pitch where rugby was invented, now called The Close, is available for private hire. admire art for free at the Rugby Art Gallery & Museum
  • Dance sessions for toddlers take place every Friday at 10am (£3.50 for one hour.)

Places to eat, drink and go

Churchside La Casa Loco

Where to eat

La Casa Loco, Churchside Arcade, 7 Little Church Street

Tuck into Cajun and Mexican dishes at this colourful, family-friendly venue, whose name translates as Mad House. Diners are encouraged to don sombreros and pose for pictures on Facebook.

Hot tip: Call in advance if you have any dietary requirements and the kitchen may be able to adapt dishes.  

Cost of drinks: Cocktails from £6

Cost of food: Mains from £11.95

The Merchants Inn

Where to drink

The Merchant’s Inn, 5-7 Little Church Street

Packed to the wooden rafters with beer signs and tankards, this temple to real ale serves four house beers, a choice of four to six guest ales and more than 100 Belgian, German and American craft beers. Giant TV screens make this a great place to watch rugby matches.  

Hot tip: The pub has one of the largest independent collections of brewery memorabilia in the UK.  

Cost of drinks: Real ales £3.30

Cost of food: Mains from £6.95

World Rugby of Hall Fame

Where to go

World Rugby Hall of Fame, Little Elborow Street

This new exhibit is part of the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, and tells the story of the great game through HD touch-screens. It’s open daily and entry is free. 

Hot tip: The museum staff can recommend a walking tour of the town, including a visit (when possible) to Rugby School.