Many of us have been to the British capital at least once. Most of us have fallen in love with this exciting metropolis by the Thames and thanks to myAustrian fan Daniel, we have one more thing to get excited about. Here is his story.
How it all began
Actually, the idea to go visit the World Darts Championship in London was born many years ago, during the Christmas season. And every Christmas since, Daniel was reminded of it. Whenever he was sprawled on the sofa, eating Christmas cookies, and zapping through the channels, he kept being drawn in by this special programme, repeated every year on one of the sports channels. It showed a bunch of unathletic, elderly men throwing darts at their designated dartboards. They did so in such a serious and professional manner, that Daniel couldn’t stop watching. And he was even more enthralled by the intense emotions and storms of enthusiasm these dart-throwing men unleashed in their live audience. Daniel’s fascination for this sport which is – unjustly, in his opinion – discounted by many as a sort of pub activity, increased steadily. And finally, four years later, he decided that it was time to experience the World Darts Championship live. He wanted to be there, right in the centre of this crazy crowd. So he headed off to a very extraordinary trip to London.
Austrian Airlines takes you from Vienna to London in just about two hours, twice a day. The World Darts Championship takes place in Alexandra Palace in North London. If you don’t fancy the suburbian charm of Haringey, it is better to find accommodation in the city centre. From there, you can get to the venue quite easily by cab or tube, just take the Piccadilly Line to Wood Green. Once you are there, make sure to take time to marvel at the amazing location. The so-called “People’s Palace” was built in 1873 and was named after Alexandra of Denmark. Thanks to its location on a hill, you have a wonderful view over London. The palace was originally built as a recreational park and it seems to have specialised in niche sports; not only the World Darts Championship is held here, but the Snooker Masters, as well. But that is a different story :-).
The World Darts Championship
The significance of the World Darts Championship in England can be compared with the Austrian ski jumping event of the year, the Four Hills Tournament. And it is the perfect fill-in for Christmas and the New Year. Except that there are no super athletes competing against each other. It is seasoned men between 25 and 50 who keep throwing their darts with constant precision again and again at the dartboard. By the way, in large parts of England, the players are worshipped like deities, and many of them are multimillionaires. And don’t be surprised if you spot Prince Harry in the VIP box, engrossed in the game and celebrating with the crowd.
High Spirits & Great Thirst
A good mood and high spirits are the ideal prerequisites to have a really good time here. When a player manages to get a 180 (the highest score), the crowd goes wild and thousands hold up their self-made 180 signs. But of course, the audience doesn’t only celebrate the game and the players, but to a large part itself. Outrageous costumes and signs with funny quotes, shown off and held up strategically for the TV cameras, are more than welcome. Furthermore, you need to bring a fair share of thirst in order to manage the units of quantity in which the drinks are on offer here. The smallest amount of beer you can order is a one-litre jug. If you rather fancy a cocktail, you get it in a one-litre jug, as well. So just relax and let yourself in for the experience, and you’ll spend a fun evening full of excitement, suspense, and emotion. Even if it happens to get a bit slow on stage, the audience won’t hit the wall. Instead, the spectators on the stand and those on the ground floor will try to outdo one another with whoops and battle calls. In short: the World Darts Championship is like the Oktoberfest in Munich with darts instead of a brass band.
And since you are in London already, why not take time for a bit of sightseeing? If you opt for a tour on the HopOnHopOff bus, a stroll through Hyde Park or parties in Soho, if you rather shop at Harrod’s or at Portobello Market, or if you prefer an excursion to China Town or a show at The Strand – London has so much to offer that you’ll be spoilt for choice.