Scotland / Edinburgh - Murrayfield
Murrayfield is the national stadium of the Scottish national rugby team and also the home of Edinburgh Rugby, one of two professional club rugby sides in Scotland (the other being Glasgow Warriors). The ground was opened in 1925 and has hosted many memorable games over the years, particularly against fierce rivals England who were the first side to visit.
Scotland compete in the annual Six Nations Championship, and in 112 appearances have 14 titles and 3 Grand Slams to their name, the most recent victory coming in 1999 prior to the introduction of Italy to the tournament. The Scots have participated in every Rugby World Cup so far, their best performance coming in the 1991 tournament where they finished fourth following a semi-final defeat to England at Murrayfield.
Ground Information Back to Top ^
Murrayfield is the largest stadium in Scotland with a capacity
of 67,130. It is situated in the West end of Edinburgh around 2 miles
from the City Centre.
There are two tiers of seating on all four sides of the stadium, with the West and East stands running the length of the pitch, and the South and North stands behind the posts. There is a 100m running track in front of the West stand meaning those seated there are a little further from the action, but there really are no bad seats in the house.The ticket office is located to the rear of the East Stand, and corporate facilities are available in all stands apart from the East. At national games, the Scottish Rugby Union make a huge effort to create a special atmosphere, with plenty of pre and post-match entertainment - think fireworks, pipers on the roof and rounding renditions of Flower of Scotland.
At Edinburgh games only the lower tier of the East Stand tends to be open, due to the low percentage of seats that are filled (a typical league crowd is around 4,000). To try and improve on the resultant subdued atmosphere in such a giant stadium, the club have introduced a pitchside standing area so the fans can get up close to the action. Despite such efforts, there have been constant calls to move to a more suitably sized venue and in 2016, it was announced that from early 2017 at Myreside. The home of Scottish Premiership side Watsonians will be brought up to a capacity of around 6,000 for Edinburgh games.
Getting There Back to Top ^
Driving to the Murrayfield area is possible, but parking is a bit trickier to come by. Official parking is available behind the West Stand for disabled supporters but needs to be pre-booked. Park-and-ride schemes exist for international games - just check on the SRU website for specific details for your match.
Edinburgh's principal station is Edinburgh Waverley, just over 2 miles from the ground if you're up for the walk. Alternatively, Haymarket station is around a mile from the ground, although for international games it can get very busy and queuing systems may be put in place. There are plenty of bars at the ground and on the walk back if you are happy to kill some time and let the crowds clear.
Regular rail services operate to destinations in England including Newcastle (90mins), Leeds (180mins), Birmingham (245mins) and London (260mins). Direct services in Scotland include those to Glasgow Central (50mins), Dundee (70mins), Aberdeen (140mins) and Inverness (200mins).
Edinburgh's controversial tram line opened in 2014, running from the Airport to the City Centre. Murrayfield is served by a stop at Roseburn, a short walk from the stadium. Every tram stop has a vending machine for purchasing tickets either by cash or card. The trams weren't overly designed for the large crowds following an international fixture however, so tend to be overwhelmed for a while.
Edinburgh has an
extensive bus network, and a multitude of buses go past the stadium;
Lothian Buses - Numbers 12, 22, 26, 30, 31
First Bus - Numbers 12, 16 and 38
Airlink - Number 100
All of the above services stop on Princes Street in the city centre (check the numbers on the bus stops to make sure you are at the rigt one), whilst the majority also call at Haymarket.By Air
Edinburgh Airport is about 6 miles from Murrayfield and 8 miles from the City Centre. Although a relatively small airport, it does offer scheduled flights to most destinations in the UK and Ireland and a few further afield, including Belfast (City and International), Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Cork, Dublin, East Midlands, Exeter, Jersey, Knock, London (City, Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton), Manchester, Milan (Malpensa), Norwich, Paris (CDG), Rome (Ciampino), Southampton and Shannon. Budget airlines Easyjet and Ryanair are the main players here.
The Airlink 100 bus departs every 10 minutes or so during the day, and passes Murrayfield on its way into town - a quick and easy alternative for those who want to avoid the expense of taxis. The shiny new trams offer an alternative route into town.
Glasgow Airport is an alternative option but a little trickier to negotiate once you arrive - first take a bus from the airport to Glasgow city centre then an onward bus or train to Edinburgh. A wide range of airlines operate into the airport, including Easyjet (to Belfast, Bristol, London and Paris amongst others), Flybe (to Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Manchester, East Midlands, Paris, Southampton), Aer Lingus (to Cork and Dublin) and British Airways (to London).
Drinking Back to Top ^
At national games, alcohol is served up in two large marquee tents set up in the grounds of the stadium (behind the North and East Stands) where a fairly efficient queuing system is in place - drinks can be taken into the ground so pick yours up on the way in. You can nip out during the game or at half-time to get another round in if you have a thirst on.
At Edinburgh games, there are bar facilities laid on in the East Stand concourse and at pitchside.
Before/After the Game
- The Murrayfield Hotel on Corstorphine Road is right across the road from the stadium and is perfect for a quiet pint or two before a league game, or to join the masses piling in for refreshments before and after a national game. They will show live sport too. The Hampton Hotel is next door is an alternative, whilst the Murrayfield Bar on Roseburn Terrace is also well situated for those needing a refreshment break on the walk from Haymarket station.
- Back in town, the Grassmarket area is a good bet with bars such as Biddy Mulligan's and the Last Drop Tavern popular for sports and live music. The massive Three Sisters just around the corner on Cowgate is popular with stag and hen dos but also is a good spot for catching live sport. The Grassmarket is home to some nice restaurants and cafés too.
- The Ghillie Dhu on Rutland Place is another popular place for live music (including traditional sessions), good bar food, beer and a wide selection of whiskies.
- Running adjacent to Princes Street, George Street is a bit less chaotic and has bars and restaurants galore. Ale lovers will enjoy the Queens Arms in particular.
Eating Back to Top ^
Sleeping Back to Top ^Edinburgh is a major tourist destination, so the wide range of accommodation on offer is no surprise. Most visitors opt to stay within walking distance of the major sights in the Princes Street, Grassmarket and Haymarket areas.
If you want to stay within stumbling distance of the stadium, the aforementioned Murrayfield Hotel and the Hampton Hotel are your best bets, though you will then most likely need a bus/taxi to get in and out of the city centre.
Make a Trip of It Back to Top ^In Town
- The medieval Old Town is usually the first stop for visitors, and it's easy to see why. Listed as a world heritage site, the Old Town is home to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and both the Museum of Scotland and the Royal Museum of Scotland. A good idea is to take one of the many guiding walking tours on offer to get under the skin of Edinburgh's interesting (and often ghastly) history.
- The New Town (comparatively speaking, as it dates back to the 18th Century) is the first sight those arriving by bus or train will see. Dominated by the shops of Princes Street, the New Town is also home to the Gothic spire of the Scott Monument, the National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. You can also climb Carlton Hill to get a great view of the city and beyond.
- For arguably even better panoramas, climb the extinct volcano Arthur's Seat to the East of the city centre.
- The spectacular Forth road and rail bridges are within easy access of Edinburgh. Simply catch a train or bus from town to South Queensferry.
- Glasgow is under an hour by train from Edinburgh, and offers more culture, shopping and nightlife if you manage to exhaust the possibilities in Edinburgh.
- St Andrews on Fife's East Coast is famous as the home of golf and the ancient University. The closest train station is in Leuchars, served from Edinburgh and with a connecting bus to St Andrews - you can buy a combined rail/bus ticket before you depart.
- Website (Club)
- Fan's Forum
- There are 124 seats for disabled supporters at Murrayfield, and disabled parking is available if booked in advance (you need to get a pass to gain access).
What's in a Name?
- Now known as Edinburgh Rugby, the club was originally named
to Edinburgh Reivers then the Edinburgh Gunners.
- There were four Scottish representatives in the Celtic
League originally, before the Borders and Caledonian Reds sides were
disbanded. Today only Edinburgh and Glasgow represent the nation at the top level of club rugby.
- The finest hour in the club's short history undoubtedly came in the 2011-12 season when they reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup, beating Toulouse in the quarter-final in front of a then record British crowd of 37,881 at Murrayfield before being defeated by Ulster in the semi-final. The club's highest-placed finish in the league was second in the 2008-09 season.
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