Alternative venues to cheer on England in the World Cup

By Katie Dawson
BBC News

image captionHexham Trinity Methodist Church is showing England games

It is not just pubs that will be opening their doors to football fans during the World Cup. Cinemas, theatres and even churches will be showing live screenings of matches.

For England fans wanting to avoid crowded pubs, there are plenty of alternative venues showing the World Cup.

In Northumberland, Hexham Trinity Methodist Church is showing England games on a large screen in its hall.

Bacon butties and Fairtrade tea and coffee are on offer, as well as a series of football-themed sermons.

There will also be a toy area for children to keep them occupied during the games.

Rev David Flavell said the aim was to create a fun, alcohol-free, family-friendly environment.

"We did it four years ago and it was great," he said. "We had a good crowd of people and we got a new family join the church because of it.

"It's an exciting, fun thing - it's an alternative to going to the pub."

In Bristol, Christ Church in Clifton and Ebenezer Church in Horfield will also be showing matches.

Fans in South Tyneside unable to get to World Cup will be able to watch the games by the beach in South Shields.

It may not be as exotic as South Africa's coastline, but managers at The Rattler Bar and Restaurant hope Sandhaven Beach will provide the perfect backdrop for fans to cheer their team on.

A van with a large television screen attached to it will be parked in the restaurant's terrace, which backs on to the beach.

Fan park

"The idea is to relax by the beach," said Paul Taylor, a spokesman for Actual Leisure, which runs The Rattler.

"If you cannot get to the beaches in Cape Town you can get to a beach on the English coast to watch the game.

"We thought it would be a nice alternative."

The HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London and some cinemas around the country will be screening England matches.

image captionBig screens will be put up in Manchester and Bristol city centres

Up to 3,000 people are expected to watch games on the Apollo's massive 20m by 10m (65.6ft by 32.8ft) high-definition cinema screen.

Tickets are free but fans will need to pay a transaction fee when ordering.

Scarborough's newly refurbished Open Air Theatre will also be screening World Cup games.

Big screens will be put up in some cities around England.

In Bristol, a 30m sq screen will be entertaining fans in Queen Square.

The opening game, South Africa versus Mexico at 1500 BST, will kick off a series of 39 matches due to be shown.

Manchester's Castlefield Arena will be turned into a fan park with a capacity of 17,500 during England games - 8,000 for all other games.

Manchester City Council said it had worked closely with police to create plans for the Castlefield screen.

Five people were arrested when violence erupted in Exchange Square during the 2006 World Cup and more than 40 Rangers fans were detained in 2008 after a screen failed in Piccadilly Gardens.

The council said that lessons had been learnt and that crowds at Castlefield would be closely managed.

In Ipswich, plans to show matches on a big screen in the city's Chantry Park have been cancelled after fears that violence might erupt.

In a statement, Suffolk Constabulary said: "There was a fear that the combination of alcohol and intensified emotion within such a large crowd could result in anti-social behaviour and a raised level of violent disorder."

A screen half the length of a football pitch wrapped around the top of the BT Tower in central London will display live updates from World Cup matches.

The 360 degree screen, measuring 60m (197ft) in circumference, will be visible for miles around the tower in Fitzrovia.

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