In the aftermath of the 6 Nations excitement, and perhaps in anticipation of the Autumn Internationals, we’re turning our attention to the home of rugby in Edinburgh: the BT Murrayfield Stadium. Quieter times of year give visitors the opportunity to explore this famous stadium and get a sneak-peak behind the scenes, as Senior Visitor Assistant Dani Baker discovers below…
“BT Murrayfield Stadium is the spiritual home of Scottish rugby. The Scotland national team has a long history at the 67,000-capacity stadium, having first played there in 1871; while Edinburgh Rugby have also played there intermittently since 1996. Murrayfield is easily accessible from Edinburgh city centre via tram or bus (including 12, 22, 26, 31 to name a few options) as well as by the 900 City Link bus which travels between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
There are two main opportunities to watch the Scotland national side play during the year: the 6 Nations in February and March and the Autumn Internationals.
During the 6 Nations Scotland face other top European sides and will always play at least two of England, Ireland, Wales, Italy and France at home at Murrayfield. Find out more about rugby fixtures below.
If you time your visit right, you can witness the highlight of the Scottish rugby calendar: the Calcutta Cup. Scotland and England have competed for this legendary trophy since 1879 and each year, during the 6 Nations, the cup is presented to the winners of the fiercest and most hotly-contested battle of the competition.
The Autumn Internationals are another fantastic time to see Scotland against some of the best teams in the world. Each November the top sides from the Southern Hemisphere travel north for this series of matches, and in 2018 Scotland will be facing Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.
It is always best to plan a trip to see Scotland play in advance as match tickets do sell out quickly, especially for matches against the world’s best teams; 2019 has been particularly crucial ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan in the autumn.
Edinburgh Rugby games
Edinburgh Rugby also play at Murrayfield and, as they play at home nearly every other week, you are guaranteed to find rugby matches to watch during the season. Edinburgh play in the Pro14 championship against the very best clubs from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and South Africa, in addition to (for this season) the European Champions Cup which involves sides from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France.
Sometimes Murrayfield also hosts big matches such as championship finals, another great opportunity to watch rugby being played; most recently the stadium hosted the European Champions Cup final in May 2017.
Take a Murrayfield Stadium tour
Even when there are no matches on at Murrayfield you can still experience this magnificent stadium. Tours run every morning Monday to Saturday, in addition to Thursday and Friday afternoons, and tickets to the Murrayfield stadium tour are £10.
The tour gives you the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the stadium and visit the TV studio, the press gallery and even see some trophies, including the famous Calcutta Cup. You are of course able to visit the Scotland dressing room too, from where you head pitch-side to the sound of the crowd cheering you on. Try your hand at being the next John Barclay and lead the Scotland side out!
The Murrayfield stadium tour often involves a visit to the top tier of the West stand, from which there are fantastic views of the Edinburgh skyline, including Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat.
For a more unique experience of Murrayfield, you can also go to one of the concerts held there, and in the past has seen the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi and Oasis take to the stage at this amazing venue. You can see who will be playing at Murrayfield Stadium in the future, and get your tickets, via the Scottish Rugby website.
There really is something for all sports lovers here in Edinburgh. And of course, don’t forget to combine your trip to Murrayfield with a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience on Castlehill! A Gold Whisky Tour lasts around 90 minutes and can be enjoyed with friends. Murrayfield is a 10-minute taxi ride away (longer on match days), and around 20-30 minutes by public transport.”
More information on visiting BT Murrayfield, including details of their accessibility, can be found here.
Images: Dani Baker, Gillian Beaton