Address: Kennington, London SE11 5SS

Website

Time: Tours from 10.00am

Phone: 0844 375 1845

Entry Price: Ground tour £15 for adult

Entry Information:www.kiaoval.com/tickets/ground-tours/

500m from Vauxhall

100m from The Oval

The Oval is one of the most famous cricket grounds in the world and whilst it’s an important cricket venue today, in the late 19th century it was the sporting place to be and this wasn’t just restricted to cricket.

In 1868 20,000 people watched England’s cricket team play the Australian Aboriginals – the first foreign team to play them in England. In 1870 it hosted the first ever international football match, whilst in February 1872 England played Scotland at Rugby Union and also in 1872 the first football FA Cup final was held there when The Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1-0.

In those days it was known as the Kennington Oval and before it was used for sport it was a market garden. The garden had an oval road around it, hence its current name and it was, and still is, owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. At the time the Montpelier Club lost their cricket ground at Walworth and in 1845 they changed their name to Surrey Cricket Club. They then signed a 31 year lease to play at the Oval for a rent of £120 per year. Turf was acquired from Tooting Common for £300.

In 1880 the first cricket test match took place between England and Australia and two years later the famous ‘Ashes’ trophy was born. Australia had beaten England inside two days and a mock obituary was published in the Sporting Times. The bails were then symbolically burnt and placed in a small brown urn and this is what the two teams play for every two years.

Today, following sponsorship, the ground is known as the Kia Oval and has the largest cricket pitch in England. It has hosted almost 100 test matches and over 2,000 first class cricket matches. It’s still the home of Surrey County Cricket Club and traditionally plays host to England’s final test match of the season.

For cricket lovers, Lord’s and The Oval are the two best London sites.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.