Every four years, people around the world dedicate their time to watching teams from around the world play football against each other to get their nation’s name engraved on a big, silver trophy. The World Cup is one of the biggest and most prestigious sporting events on the planet and football fans from around the globe impatiently countdown to kick off. For some, it’s an exciting time full of chanting, face paint, flags and beer. But for others it’s not being able to peel family and friends away from the TV and battling with them to get out and make the most of summer.
So, if you’re not interested in World Cup 2018, why not take advantage of everyone watching England matches and go explore somewhere new? We’ve picked out some alternative activities which we think are way better than watching footie:
Explore Cornwall’s Eden Project
A dramatic global garden the size of thirty football pitches, visiting the Eden Project is an unforgettable experience in an epic location. Instead of learning the offside rule, learn about the connection between plants and people as you explore the five giant bubble greenhouses. One of its giant conservatories is a majestic rainforest cathedral, the other is host to the fruits of the Mediterranean and the flowers of South Africa and California, and between them they contain thousands of plant species. Outside in the landscaped grounds you will find tea, lavender, sunflowers and hemp.
And it’s not just plants; the Eden Project has a brilliant range of adventure activities, perfect for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. It's home to England's longest and fastest zip wire covering 660 metres and speeds of up to 60mph. You can even plummet 65ft over a cliff edge in a giant swing, or leap from a 12-metre platform in a free-fall jump.
If you like live music, Eden Sessions hosts world-class bands and artists who perform in front of the Eden Project’s beautiful Biomes with amazing acoustics created by a natural amphitheatre. This year’s entertainers include Gary Barlow and Ben Howard.
Getting there: From St Austell Train Station, you can jump on First Bus 101 or Western Greyhound 527, which will take you to the Eden Project in around 15 minutes.
Discover Transylvania’s culture in the heart of Manchester
England plays Panama on the weekend of the 24th June. Make the most of emptier trains and less busy city centres by planning a fun, ‘not-football’ related day out.
Góbófest is the UK’s only Transylvanian festival of arts and culture - a unique celebration, offering a dazzling extravaganza of music, dance, cuisine and cultural activities. The whole family will enjoy the authentic and diverse sounds, sights and flavours of Transylvania and beyond.
Try out traditional folk dancing, soak up the unique sounds of a zither orchestra and sample Transylvanian craft beer and delicacies. Look out for gulyás (Hungarian stew), lángos (garlicky fried dough with plenty of grated cheese and crème frèche) and kürtőskalács (a sweet doughy treat cooked over a spit)…YUM!
Góbófest will showcase an array of awesome acts from Transylvania, Europe and the Carpathian Basin. It’s a diverse day full of exciting entertainment.
This year’s event runs from 22-24th June in Albert Square and is completely free to attend.
Getting there: From Manchester Piccadilly, you can walk to Albert Square in approximately 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can jump on a bus or tram.
Enjoy the sunshine at Cardiff Bay
With the World Cup taking place over summer, we can hopefully expect some good weather across the UK (fingers crossed anyway!). You’ll feel like you’re on holiday without travelling too far if you visit Cardiff Bay. A great place for families, Cardiff Bay will keep everyone entertained and there’s definitely no need for football.
An easy stroll from the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, Cardiff Bay barrage provides stunning views across the city, bay and Bristol Channel. And there’s a great kids’ playground featuring pretend shipwrecks buried in the sand to keep the little ones entertained.
For a real holiday experience, take a taxi boat from the barrage back to Mermaid Quay from just across the locks next to Penarth Marina. The boardwalk at Mermaid Quay is lined with cool bars, fish-filled restaurants and fun amusements. During the summer weekends, when the sun’s out and the terraces are full, it feels like you could be on the Mediterranean. Enjoy a cocktail on a deckchair whilst the kids ride the traditional carousel nearby. You shouldn’t struggle getting a seat – most people will be watching the football!
Getting there: From Cardiff Central Station, the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre is a 5-minute walk.
Skip the queues at Flamingo Land
While most of the British population will be caught up in the football, you’ll find attractions like Flamingo Land a lot emptier than usual. A theme park, zoo and resort, Flamingo Land is fun for all the family.
Flamingo Land theme park is a great day out with eight unique themed areas to keep all ages entertained. Whether you want white-knuckle thrills on one of the eight extreme rides or you’d be happier admiring the animatronic dinosaurs in Dino-Stone Park, Flamingo Land is way more fun than footie. Live performances take place throughout the day, including Pirates of Zanzibar with its breath-taking acrobatics, swordplay and magic. There are lots of food and drink options to keep you refreshed all day long.
And it’s not just the theme park where you can catch your thrills, who needs to go on a safari when you can experience an animal kingdom in the heart of North Yorkshire. With tigers from the tropical forests of South East Asia, giraffes from sub-Saharan Africa, and even a penguin pool, you’ll feel like you’re somewhere much more exotic.
If you want to make a holiday out of your trip to Flamingo Land, you can stay at Flamingo Land Resort, located a short distance from the Theme Park and Zoo, the holiday village is ideal for a UK stay-cation.
Getting there: From Malton Station, Flamingo Land is a 20-minute bus ride and you can jump on a bus right outside the station.
However you decide to not watch the football, take advantage of great savings with CrossCountry Advance train tickets.