Battle commences on February 1st 2014
The Six Nations Championship is one of the most fought over in rugby union. Every year England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales battle it out to be the best. This year competitors will be looking to outdo last year's win from Wales and ensure that the best team doesn't leave empty handed.
Preparations for the Six Nations crown can never be started too early, especially if you're a true rugby fan. This guide is a comprehensive overview of how to get the best out of the championship and to live through your team's success.
There is a wide range of choice when it comes to picking where to stay and it is wholly a personal one. Pick the matches you want to see by choosing a game being hosted there. For instance if you always wanted to visit France, simply choose the game that is being hosted there and book around those dates.
If you're the ultimate rugby fan you can always tailor your holiday to follow all the matches around Europe. While this would be a lengthy holiday, you would have a once in a lifetime trip and there is a great Eurotunnel Le Shuttle connection to the continent from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes to help you get across the Channel quickly and conveniently.
Saturday 22nd February - England v Ireland
Sunday 9th March - England v Wales
Vibrant and multicultural, London is a destination that many plan on visiting. It's a giant city, full of ideas, people and energy in masses and is definitely somewhere to spend the weekend. Take a break after the match and visit one of the several museums, or just gaze at the beautiful architecture that is scattered across the city. If something more modern is your thing, then there are heaps of cinemas around and a large amount of shops to peruse at your leisure.
Seating an impressive 82,000 spectators, Twickenham stadium is a cultural icon for London. Not only does it host the rugby and other sporting events, but it is also a music festival venue and even has its own on-site museum. Situated in central London, the stadium is an ideal location to get to as you have plenty of transport choices. Nearby you'll find lots of food and alcohol serving establishments as well as food vendors at the venue itself, so you'll never be left wanting for food.
Accommodation around the stadium is plentiful – everything from holiday inns to hostels can be found in the immediate area with a range of prices to suit you. Don't be afraid to venture further out into other London boroughs to get a better deal on a hotel room for the night, travelling to the stadium is relatively simple thanks to the oyster card system in place that allows you to travel by train, tube or bus.
London's position means that there are excellent transport links to it. Pick from several international airports, numerous stations or drive there if you're feeling brave. It's advisable to use public transport on match days as there may be diversions in place on the roads on match days and parking can be difficult and expensive.
Saturday 1st February - France v England
Sunday 9th February - France v Italy
Saturday 15th March - France v Ireland
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in France and the French people have great passion for it. Thousands of sporting tourists come here to experience the Six Nations Championships, with a large number of deals and entertainment available to the inquiring tourist.
Location –Stade de France
The Stade De France is a football, athletics and rugby union stadium within Paris. Its central location means that it is ideal for visitors, and offers many options for accommodation and entertainment during your stay.
The closest hotel you'll get to the stadium itself is a short 4 minute walk away, the Holiday Inn Paris Auteuil, a 3 star hotel with reasonable room prices. However, Paris's much loved public transport system means that there is a greater array of choice further away from the stadium itself. Venture further out and experience Parisian culture from the vast array of hotels within the centre of the city. Prices will vary, so whether you're looking for the lap of luxury or a great budget deal, there will be something for you.
The fastest option across the Channel is to hop onto Eurotunnel Le Shuttle with your car, then it's a direct three-hour drive to Paris. Once in the city why not check out our Park and Ride guide for the best places to leave your car?
Sunday 2nd February - Ireland v Scotland
Saturday 8th February - Ireland v Wales
Saturday 8th March - Ireland v Italy
The first thoughts of Ireland conjure up images of leprechauns and Guinness, but there is definitely more to this stunning country. The championship will take you to Dublin, a city that embraces its mixed heritage and brings its own unique offering to the Rugby world cup.
Location –Aviva Stadium
Follow in the footsteps of thousands of rugby fans before you and watch the world cup at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Dubbed the "heart of Dublin", the stadium is just one mile from St Stephens Green and in a central location.
As with other large stadiums, the Aviva Stadium's central location means that it is ideally suited for finding accommodation before and after the big matches. Several small B&B's will be the best bet to be located directly outside the stadium, but if you want to avoid the noise and rush after the matches it's best to head a little further out where bigger hotels will offer competitive pricing.
Dublin has a large variety of travel links making it easily accessible by road, rail and air.
Saturday 22nd February - Italy v Scotland
Saturday 15th March - Italy v England
Visiting Italy will give you a sample of dolce vita – quite simply put the "sweet life". Italian life is perceived as one of physical pleasure and self indulgence, what better things to accompany a rugby match with? Italy can be enjoyed for the rugby alone but there are also architectural wonders, cultural icons and much food and wine to enjoy.
Location –Stadio Olimpico
Being based in Rome means that this stadium gives the tourist an excellent opportunity to combine rugby with other tourist activities. The stadium itself has many international links and a capacity of over 70,000 seats with all the amenities you'd expect from Italian hosts.
Located 4 kilometres north of Vatican City, the stadium is surrounded by nature parks on one side and the river Tiber on the other. The cheapest accommodation you'll find nearby are a number of hostels that cater to those who come for the match alone. For a little bit more luxury, head out into the sprawling city and find hotels such as
Hotel Astrid a stone's throw from the stadium and
Hotel Farnesina, a little bit further out, but popular with sport tourists.
A quick hop across the Channel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and you'll be set to head off on your road trip to Rome. A day's worth of driving takes you through the beautiful scenery of France, Switzerland and Spain. Take some pit stops along the way to fully appreciate the beautiful locations you're passing and keep refreshed.
The stadium is around 6km from the centre of Rome and would take around an hour and a half to walk to from the city centre. It's best to have the use of your car or to rely on public transport.
Saturday 8th February - Scotland v England
Saturday 8th March - Scotland v France
Scotland is a country with an enviable heritage and Edinburgh is certainly one of the best places to experience it. This typical Scottish city is a must see and many establishments will go out of their way to give rugby fans an extra special experience – even if you're supporting the other team.
Location – Murrayfield
Murrayfield stadium is likely to stir the spirit of any rugby fan, and its name is synonymous with the Scottish team and their prestigious rugby achievements. Dunstane is the best place to enjoy a pre-match day lunch and then amble up towards the stadium itself.
With the stadium only being half a mile away from Dunstane, the town is the best place to look for a hotel. There are many hotels available with some offering Six Nations Break deals, a popular choice being
Dunstane Hotel which lies close to local amenities.
Dunstane is near Central Edinburgh and as such has a large variety of travel links, including road, rail and air.
Saturday 1st February - Wales v Italy
Friday 21st February - Wales v France
Saturday 15th March - Wales v Scotland
Cardiff is one of Wales' gems and has received large amounts of funding in recent years to bring it fully into the new millennium. This new breath of life has attracted a whole new breed of tourist and the city has recently been voted the eighth favourite city in the UK for short breaks – ideal for taking in a rugby match and having a refreshing weekend holiday.
Location –Millennium Stadium
Since the stadium opened in 1999 it has attracted over 1.3 million visitors per year. It was the first stadium in the UK to have a fully retractable roof, meaning that even the Welsh weather can't stop a rugby match from happening. It is also another city centre located stadium – offering visitors all the local city amenities that you'd expect from a city such as Cardiff. It's easy to see why this stadium has such international renown.
The usual city centre hotels are available to a rugby tourist, as well as numerous bed and breakfast opportunities for those wanting some welsh hospitality.
Austin's Guesthouse is one of note, lying directly over the river from the stadium, meaning it's easy to fall out of the stadium for some rest before a night spent celebrating a win. A cheaper alternative would be one of the hostels that are dotted about Cardiff and are only a short bus ride away from the stadium.
Cardiff's location along the M4 corridor means that it only lies a 2 hours drive away from London, giving it an excellent position for travelling to and from. Other alternatives are rail and if you really are a distance away from Wales, Cardiff airport is only a 30 minute journey away from the stadium.
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