FC Barcelona's Nou Camp before a match

If the finale to the football season, the start of the cricket calendar or the build up to the world’s most famous tennis tournament has got you in a sporting fervour, why not add a visit to one of the world’s top sporting venues to your city sightseeing list? We’ve picked our top five must-see sports stadiums.

Melbourne Cricket Ground 200Melbourne Cricket Ground
Creative Commons / Paddy Briggs

Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

While Lord’s Cricket Ground in London may be the home of cricket, Melbourne Cricket Ground is certainly the heartbeat. The famous Boxing Day test matches regularly attract more than two thirds of the 100,000 total capacity, while the city’s most aggressive sport, Aussie Rules Football, also calls the MCG its home. Visitors can walk on the hallowed turf and find out more about the game in the sport-mad city.

Top Tip: Access to the pitch as part of the tour is subject to availability, so call ahead to check (+61 3 9657 8888; www.mcg.org.au).

Watch a match: The AFL (Australian Football League) season runs from March to September at the MCG; while the highlight of the Melbourne cricket calendar is the five-day Boxing Day Test (starting 26 December). Tickets for all events are available through Ticketek.

Barcelona Stadium 200Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium
Creative Commons / Oh-Barcelona

Nou Camp, Barcelona

Barcelona’s successful current squad are hailed by many as the greatest football team ever and the Blaugrana (Blue and Reds) certainly have the stadium to match. The club motto més que un club (more than a club) is in evidence in the fascinating museum charting the club’s 111-year history, while the aerial viewpoint from high up in one of the near-vertical stands should not be missed.

Top Tip: Players occasionally train on the Nou Camp pitch before a home match, so visit the stadium on a match day morning for the best chance to catch a glimpse of (among others) Lionel Messi – the world’s best player. The museum closes three hours prior to matches.

Watch a match: Although most match tickets are reserved for members, some are available to the general public. Visit the FC Barcelona website for more information.

New York Yankees Stadium 200New York Yankees Stadium
Creative Commons / Bryce Edwards

Yankee Stadium, New York

The New York Yankees moved to their new stadium in 2009 after leaving the historic venue of the same name just across the street in New York City's Bronx district. The limestone-clad stadium mimics the historical features of its predecessor and is a stunning modern amphitheatre fit for a legendary team. Take a tour of the stadium, with a visit to the batting cage area and the famous monument park, or catch a game alongside the passionate home support.

Top tip: Walk across the road to the site of the old Yankees Stadium, now named Heritage Field, which is nearing completion as a public-use park and baseball field. It is due to open in the autumn where budding Babe Ruth’s will be able to practice their hitting.

Watch a game: Tickets are available from the Yankees website or ask your hotel concierge. Keep an eye-out for special $5 tickets for certain games.

Beijing Stadium Night 200The 'Bird's Nest' and 'Water Cube'
Creative Commons / Alberto Alerigi

Beijing National Stadium, Beijing

The stunning Beijing National Stadium, commonly known as the ‘Bird’s Nest’ became the centrepiece for one of the most spectacular Olympic Games of all time in 2008. The intertwined steelwork design by controversial artist Ai Weiwei makes for a perfect photo opportunity, while at night it comes alive under stunning illuminations. Inside, marvel at the gargantuan space and sweeping curves with a stadium tour.

Top tip: Visit the Bird’s Nest late-afternoon enabling you to take photos of the stadium and the nearby National Aquatics Centre (The Water Cube) lit up after the tour.

Watch an event: There are currently no regular sporting events at the Bird’s Nest stadium, but the venue has been confirmed as the location for the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

Twickenham 200Twickenham Stadium
Creative Commons / Jazza5

Twickenham Stadium, London

Twickenham Stadium, in a leafy London suburb with riverside pathways and cosy pubs, is arguably the most famous rugby venue on the planet. ‘Twickers’ has recently been redeveloped and now has a capacity of 82,000. The stadium tour and museum covers everything from the global game, including interactive exhibits and historic memorabilia. Keep an eye-out for tickets to upcoming internationals, while the club game often uses the venue for crunch matches.

Top tip: If you’re arriving for a tour and don’t fancy the 15 minute walk from Twickenham Station, you can park for free in the stadium car park. On match days, however, opt for public transport as parking is limited and the traffic queues can be lengthy. A warning though: trains are packed too.

Watch a match: Priority is given to members for tickets to the Six Nations tournament and other major internationals, but tickets to club matches are far more accessible. Visit the RFU website for more information.

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