The five rugby destinations which will take centre stage for touring teams in 2023.
It's been great to see so many memorable tours depart our shores in 2022.
Looking ahead, we are delighted to be able to release the top 5 rugby destinations that will take centre stage for touring teams in 2023.
This list has been formulated from an extensive range of 'touring' factors. From ease & affordability of travel to standards of City-Centre accommodation to an abundance of hospitable local opposition to the depth of unique rugby experiences on offer.
Please read on to find out why these destinations have topped the charts.
Our Home Patch.
One of the few ever-presents on our list, our home city of Newcastle remains one of the most under-estimated tourist destinations in the UK. At the time of writing, the Newcastle Falcons are dead-set on an immediate return to the Premiership, bringing some top-level Rugby back to the region. As with Cardiff Blues & Saracens, the clubs 3G pitch is available to you for tour games & behind the scenes experiences at Kingston Park are a great addition to the tour.
You’ll stay in the heart of the city, a short walk from the Tyne Bridge, Quayside, Grey Street & St James’ Park. From here, we’ll get you to some of the greatest clubs in Northumberland and Durham for your tour games before showing off the best fun you can have in our home city. Our #1 activity in Newcastle is a Surf Lesson on the North Sea at Tynemouth Beach & we’ll keep you well fed at Coop, a restaurant best described as a quality, Geordie Nandos.
The Heartbeat of Italian Rugby Tours
We’re so proud of our Italian Tours that we had to get a second option into our Top 10. Veneto, in north-eastern Italy, is the province of Venice, Treviso & the iconic Italian rugby towns of Padova & Rovigo. Famous for Prosecco, the beach resorts of Jesolo & Chioggia, Venice itself & fair Verona, the region combines tourism heavyweights with the original hotbed of the game in Italy.
We’re thrilled to have Italian Rugby Legend Marco Bortolami continuing as our Italian Rugby Ambassador into 2021. Marco, who amassed 111 caps for The Azzurri is no assistant coach at Benetton Treviso, a team making great progress in the Guinness Pro14. Reaching the play-offs in 2019 was a great achievement, but not unexpected to those who look beneath the surface of the game in Italy.
For your tour, choose between a stay in Treviso itself or the exciting resort of Jesolo on the coast. Generally, that decision is made by the timing of your tour. Jesolo bounces with life in the summer months, but all but closes in the off-season, which makes Treviso a great option for early Spring or Autumn Tours. A third option is to head west to Verona. An incredible city oft overlooked in favour of Venice and Milan, a stay here would be for a training camp at the state of the art Payanini Centre at Rugby Verona.
In either event, kick off your tour with a guest session at the La Ghirada complex, the HQ of Benetton Treviso and the venue of choice for Eddie Jones’ England squad before their 2019 Rugby World Cup Campaign. The session will be lead by Marco himself, who will be assisted by colleagues from Benetton. Your first dinner will be on-campus too, in a Pizzeria lined with rugby regalia and full of rugby tradition.
There are some great clubs in Veneto. The past winners of the ‘Scudetto,’ the trophy won by the national champions each year, is dominated by clubs from Veneto. If you’re looking for a stellar test, Petrarca, Mogliano, Tarvisium amongst others will be up to it. The depth of the game is huge though, so there is something for all comers. Rugby is the sport here & each town has a rugby club. This is Italy’s answer to the West Country, South Wales & SW France.
Off the pitch, a day-trip to Venice itself will start with a Vaporetto ride up the Grand Canal & can include a guided tour, lunch and plenty time for sightseeing. In Jesolo, Aqualandia is a brilliant waterpark open in the summer months.
A New Entry
Hidden away between Manchester and Liverpool, our northwestern tour base is one of our best kept secret destinations. The feedback from Chester in 2022 was outstanding and we can't wait to share this touring destination with more teams going into next season. Superb Nightlife, a range of sporting opposition, and the playground of North Wales on your doorstep.
Situated on the border with Wales, the ancient Roman City of Chester is one of England's most beautiful cities. Steeped in mystery and tradition, the Tudor clad houses, the narrow streets and the River Dee all make Chester an excellent youth tour destination for your team.
Sat on the banks of the River Dee, this charming city is ideal for youth and adult groups alike. Safe and friendly enough to let the kids wander, whilst a nightlife that packs a punch way above its small-town feel.
The Ideal Warm-Weather Rugby Tour.
Each of our tours to the Catalan capital start off with a training session at the BUC Club, whose HQ is in the heart of the 1992 Olympic Park. A superb all-weather playing surface is flanked on one side by the clubhouse and the other, the steep cliffs in which the Olympic Stadium is built. It is a short drive from the Accommodation via Placa Espana and Montjiuc to the ground & one of the more scenic trips you’ll take to a training session.
Rugby in Spain is on the fast track right now, and nowhere is it seen more than in Barcelona. The level of club Rugby at youth level especially is as competitive as anywhere in Europe, so don’t write this one off if you’re looking for an international challenge. Get a taste of top level club rugby too with tickets to a Division de Honor match at either UE Santboiana Rugby or the FC Barcelona club.
Another must-do on tour here is the Bicycle Tour of the city. There are more bike lanes here than in any other city in Europe. With so much to see, this is a great way to tick off all the boxes if you just have a snapshot of a trip to Barcelona. The tour starts and ends in the Gothic Quarter of the town, so there is plenty chance to end the day with time on the stunning Barceloneta beach.
Flights into the city are readily available & given the volume of options, the prices are often competitive. We’ve a range of accommodation options for you too – all of which are central & give you the chance to see the city in downtime. Whether it be a lively hostel for senior groups, or something more chill for kids, both are excellent. Don’t believe what you read in travel guides, Barcelona is not an expensive city, we’ll make sure you’re away from the tourist traps and get you sampling the best of the food and drink here for a fraction of what you’ll find on Las Ramblas.
An Old Favourite.
A mainstay on our top 10 since day one. Edinburgh was where we ran our first tour & will always enter the conversation if it is within striking distance for our clients. In 2020, we were delighted to welcome Scotland star Hamish Watson to our team as Ambassador. During our tours to ‘Auld Reekie,’ Hamish can meet you at Oriam, the state of the art Scottish Rugby Union high-performance centre, and put you through your paces. What an opportunity for your team to work through their defence & breakdown skills with one of the games greatest exponents.
Edinburgh is small and safe enough for groups of all ages to wander and explore. For the mini and youth teams, an after-dark underground walking tour of the old town is a great addition – as is the optional ‘jumper ooter’ who can appear from the shadows midway through to waken those with short attention spans. If you’re after some real Caledonian fun, head out to the grandiose Hopetoun House, split the squad into Clans & partake in your own Highland Games Championship.
Tickets to catch Hamish and his Edinburgh team mates in action in the Pro14 at Murrayfield are a great addition, as is admission to a tour of the home of Scottish Rugby.
As with all our tours, you’ll stay within walking distance of the city highlights & enjoy restaurants ideal for groups and budget travellers.