Warwick Sport provides loads of activities on campus for students. Whether you want to be part of the scrum, conquer the climbing wall or hit a 147 break on the snooker table, opportunities are available for everybody. However, if you’re brave enough to set your sights off campus, then you’re sure to find even more exciting opportunities.
Starting in Coventry, the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre can be found in the centre of the city- an easy trip on the number 11 bus! The leisure centre has a 50 metre Olympic pool alongside a Leisure Splash Pool for those of you looking for a more relaxed swim. As well as badminton and squash courts (and even table tennis), the Leisure Centre is also home to the Inspire Health and Fitness suite, which offers TechnoGym facilities at very reasonable student rates.
Near Canley, the Tile Hill Wood Leisure Centre offers a 17 metre swimming pool and a beautiful golf course which is only a ten minute walk from campus. However, if golf is a bit too genteel for you, around Canley, the Triumph Amateur Boxing Club and the Coventry Judo Club can be found: excellent if you fancy kicking out and getting your Rambo voice on! At the other end of the scale, Coventry is also home to ‘Planet Ice’, a huge ice rink which holds the Varsity Ice Hockey clash, but also stages ice shows and lessons throughout the year. And of course, if you fancy a run, the War Memorial Park is not far and offers 10 tennis courts for a recreational game.
If you take the number 11 bus the opposite way towards Leamington Spa, you go through Kenilworth and there are a few sporting facilities available here. The Meadows Community Sports Centre is in the east side of the town but is worth a visit for its four-court sports hall, gym and all-weather, floodlit pitch. However, in my opinion, the best sporting facility about Kenilworth is the roads! If you run from campus, a hilly 3-mile course lies before you and offers a hard challenge. However, the views are great, so give it a go!
But it’s past Kenilworth, and in Leamington Spa, where the majority of Warwick University students live after their first year. Not far from here, the Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre offers a modern gym and large swimming pool, as well as a challenging golf course. Moving into town, behind Benjamin Satchwells pub (this is the easiest way to describe the location- oh, the irony!) the Pure Health Club provides members with modern gym facilities, a lux- urious swimming pool and expert trainers. They have a 10-week student membership rate, which is worth every penny.
Alternatively, Bizz Gym is based above Neon Nightclub (more irony!), and offers a huge variety of cardio and condition- ing equipment. There are tennis courts available in Victoria Park alongside a Lawn Bowls Club- they charge just over £4 where you can turn up and play. As well as Victoria Park, Jephson Gardens and Newbold Comyn are pleasant places to go for a run.
If getting involved isn’t really your style, though, there are plenty of opportunities to watch some fantastic live sport off campus. It’s well worth venturing out to catch some of it throughout the year! When you next find yourself in Coventry, it’s relatively easy to make your way to the Ricoh Arena, where Coventry City FC have recently re-established their home. A far-cry from Six Fields last season, the Sky Blues are aiming for a top-10 finish in League One having started brightly.
On the bus back from Coventry, it is likely you will stumble across the Leamington Rugby Football Club. Their 1st XV compete in the Midlands 2 West (South) Division. The season has just begun, making it unfair to judge their form, but it will be worth braving the cold to watch some intense rugby! In south Leam, Leamington FC is based near the County & Golf Club. After a rather inconsistent start in the Conference North, Leamington FC sit 11th in the table and, although the stands only hold just over 2000 people, it’s worth a visit to cheer on the local team.
To get further afield, it’s best to depart from Leamington Train Station. And this is where your opportunities to take in some top-class live sport really expand. In half an hour you arrive in Bir- mingham New Street and a wealth of football options are at your feet! In the centre of Birmingham, St. Andrews Stadium houses the current stragglers of the Championship. Having just evaded relegation in dramatic circumstances last season, the Blues have only won one game since the league started in August.
To the north-west of Birmingham, West Bromwich Albion will be trying to progress in the Premier League. It’s only an hour on the train, making it incredibly accessible to view some of the most exciting Premier League talents! Both St. Andrews and the Hawthorns hold approximately 30,000 people and they both promise an engaging atmosphere that you would do well to sample.
Emotions are a little more settled to the north of the city, as Aston Villa FC have made a fantastic start to the season, winning three out of five games, perhaps to do with their frightening new assistant manager Roy Keane! With a 48,000-seat capacity, the atmosphere at Villa Park is incredible. Plus the Warwick University Matchday Society takes several people to matches throughout the year, making trips even more accessible.
Moving away from football, Birmingham will be hosting the BUPA Great Birmingham Run on 19th October 2014. Take the train, and watch runners take on the 13.1- mile course. Birmingham is also home to the Alexander Stadium, an athletics ground in the middle of the city which hosts huge athletics events such as the Sainsburys Grand Prix. On 21st February 2015, the city will host the IAAF Indoor Meet, attracting some of the fastest athletes in the world!
So, whether you prefer getting stuck in, or maybe just watching from the sidelines, you will definitely find some great sport off campus. Don’t miss out!