Ever thought about getting some Six Nations tickets? Here’s why you should add a trip to the rugby to your next Edinburgh itinerary…
Have you ever considered getting Six Nations tickets and going to a Scottish rugby match?
A rugby match can be a really fun thing to do as a tourist. Why? Well, there’s something about rugby in Scotland that will just suck you in. Maybe it’s because a game can do a complete one eighty in a matter of minutes, so you’re always on your toes with your heart in your mouth. Maybe it’s because the atmosphere at a rugby match is like nothing else I’ve experienced. Or maybe it’s because it always gets you feeling a little bit patriotic.
Either way, a rugby match in Scotland is always going to be a memorable experience. That’s why some Six Nations tickets might be a perfect addition to a trip to Scotland! Don’t believe me? Then keep reading…
What is the Six Nations?
We should probably answer this before I start diving into the detail. The Six Nations is an international men’s rugby union tournament, comprising of – you’ve guessed it – six nations. The six countries that take part in the competition are Scotland, England, France, Ireland, Italy and Wales. It takes place annually, in February and March each year.
Going to the Six Nations as a tourist
Do you need to be a rugby fan to go to the Six Nations? In a word, no.
I see it a bit like going to see a New York Knicks basketball game when you’re on holiday in the Big Apple. It’s about soaking up the local culture. Golf, schmolf, nothing does that more than a rugby match in Scotland.
With all that said, I don’t think of myself as a die hard rugby fan. Some people go to the rugby every year and they may even travel to Italy or France to go and see Six Nations matches over there. That’s definitely not me, and if you’re looking for a post from a real rugby super fan then I’m afraid that this isn’t it.
So what’s brought me to the Six Nations then? Well, my parents are super into it and my sister and I have clubbed together to get Six Nations tickets for them to go and see it at Murrayfield, Scotland’s home ground, a few times. And then we decided to get tickets for ourselves as well because it seemed like fun. And it was!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be a superfan to enjoy a rugby match.
I’ve had a great time watching rugby matches in Murrayfield and I hope this post can enable you to do the same – whether you’re a tourist visiting Scotland for the first time or you simply want to see what all the fuss is about.
If you want to read more about my adventures in Scotland then check these out…
- Fonab Castle review: my stay at a fairytale Scottish castle
- Your complete Edinburgh Fringe guide
- The Jacobite steam train: everything you need to know
So without further ado, let’s get cracking…
5 things you should know about a Six Nations rugby match
So what do you need to know about going to a Six Nations rugby match?
1) The atmosphere is electric. The air is charged with excitement at Murrayfield and it’s amazing to soak that up. Whether you’re a big rugby fan or not, I have no doubt you’ll get sucked into the buzz. Before you know it you’ll be screaming your lungs out too!
2) Rugby matches have a completely different feel to football matches. While football can feel pretty tribal at times, in rugby it’s all really good-natured. Rugby is all about respect, and you see and feel that on and off the pitch. One of the most surprising things for me is that the fans from different teams all sit in the stands together, rather than being sat in different stands. They even politely applaud when the opposition scores. I know right!
3) Rugby fans get really into it. Whether it’s yelling through every point, singing, or getting dressed up, the passion for rugby is real and palpable. Last time I went to the Six Nations there were people doing facepaint in Haymarket station so myself and my sister got ourselves kitted out with some blue and white stripes.
4) The national anthem is always a big moment at Murrayfield fixtures. One thing that I really enjoy is the lone piper on the roof of the stadium. Yes, when the Scotland team sing the national anthem a solo bagpipe player stands on the roof of Murrayfield to play them out. I always find it spectacular. You wouldn’t catch me all the way up there for sure!
5) The final thing you need to know about seeing a rugby match in Scotland is that you can have a drink!! Alcohol has been banned at football matches for decades but you can still enjoy a tipple at the rugby – albeit not in the stands themselves. With the Scottish weather usually being its charming self during the Six Nations (more on that later) being able to have a little bit of alcohol to warm yourself is always much welcomed.
OK, so now I’ve suitably hyped it up, let’s look into logistics…
Six Nations tickets: everything you need to know
How to get tickets for the Six Nations
Scotland rugby tickets. How do you get them?
Well, getting Six Nations tickets is not always easy. These are really popular events and they sell out quickly. If you want to get tickets to the Six Nations you need to be organised. And when I mean organised I mean researching the time and date that tickets go on sale – and thinking about which match you want to see. Let me explain…
When do Six Nations tickets go on sale?
This is an important thing to bear in mind. The tickets go on sale months in advance – around autumn time for matches that are held in February and March.
You will need to buy the tickets from the home nation for the match you want to see. So if you want to see Scotland at Murrayfield you’d buy tickets from the Scottish Rugby Union mailing list. This handy webpage has all the information you need to know about tickets.
My advice would be to sign up to the mailing list so that you’re notified when tickets go on sale. That way, you can be poised with your debit card at the ready!
How much are Six Nations tickets?
Just saying this first: tickets to the Six Nations are not cheap. According to the number crunching on this website, the cheapest ticket you can get for a match costs £55. When I went, a ticket was £87 per adult.
However, not every match at the Six Nations costs the same…
What are the cheapest Six Nations tickets?
OK, so some matches are more expensive than others. In the Six Nations tournament, Scotland matches against England, Ireland, and Wales will always be the most expensive out of all the matches. The two cheapest matches are against Italy and against France. I’m a bit of a bargain hunter and those matches are the ones I’ve been to.
I’m not sure why some matches are more expensive, but I’m guessing it’s supply versus demand. Scotland and England is always going to be a headliner, let’s face it!
Least expensive Six Nations matches
Scotland vs Italy
Scotland vs France
Most expensive Six Nations matches
Scotland vs England
Scotland vs Ireland
Scotland vs Wales
Buying Six Nations tickets: what’s the best stand?
OK, so which stand is the best stand at Murrayfield? There are a few things to consider…
I’ve always had tickets in the West stand, which is the furthest away of all the stands. This means more walking! So if you have mobility issues or simply want to be more efficient then I would book the East stand. The second thing to note is that the East stand is the one that gets the sunshine… when the weather wants to play ball, that is! If the weather’s good and you’re in the East stand then definitely bring along some sunglasses with you.
There’s also the North and South stands but I always prefer to be horizontal to the pitch. However, if you want a close up of any tries scored then these are the stands to opt for.
- Furthest away from entrance
- Won’t get the sun in your eyes
- No sun = slightly colder
- Closest to the entrance
- Gets the late afternoon sun
- Sunshine = slightly warmer
So now you’ve got your tickets it’s time to plan your trip…
Travelling to the Six Nations
If you’re travelling to see a Six Nations match then the first thing you need to do is to get to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, where the rugby stadium is located.
Edinburgh is super accessible by train. important thing to remember is to get off at Haymarket station rather than Waverley station. The latter is located in the centre of town whereas Haymarket is in the west end, much closer to Murrayfield.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the trains are likely to be incredibly busy. Your best shout is reserving seats in advance rather than just rocking up on the day.
If you’re travelling from the UK then jumping on a Citylink or Megabus is a great option. Travelling by bus is also budget-friendly, especially if you’ve blown the budget on tickets!
Getting to Murrayfield
OK, you’re in Edinburgh. How do you get to Murrayfield stadium?
If you’ve arrived in Edinburgh by train then there will more than likely be crowds of Scottish people all wearing rugby shirts and kilts spilling out of the station – which is a good start, right? All you need to do is do what they do.
You can catch a tram from multiple locations, including outside Haymarket station.
Buy your tickets at the machine before you board and take the tram with Edinburgh Airport on the front. The journey takes eight minutes and you’ll get off at Murrayfield stadium.
You can also get a bus from directly outside Haymarket. The bus stop will be on the station side of the road with services departing every five minutes. The stop to get off at is Roseburn, Ormidale Terrace and the journey takes a super-fast three minutes.
What’s the most cost-effective way to get to Murrayfield from Haymarket station? Well, that would be walking. And that good news is that it’s really not far.
How long is the journey from Haymarket station to Murrayfield? It’s around a 20-minute walk to Murrayfield and, unlike most of Edinburgh, it’s not up a steep hill.
You’ll also get to walk past the Edinburgh school that is rumoured to have been the inspiration for Hogwarts, which is also known as George Heriot’s School.
How to prepare for a rugby match in Scotland
Check what you can bring
As with other sporting events, it’s pretty stringent in regards to what you can and can’t bring with you to a match. My advice is to check on the website well in advance so that you’re prepared. I’ve seen people struck at the gates trying to bring in carrier bags of stuff because they clearly haven’t gone onto the website and checked. Don’t be that person!
According to the current rules, bags have to be A5 size or smaller. They say:
Ticket holders will be permitted to bring in bags no larger than A5 size (equivalent to a small clutch bag – measuring 21cmx15cmx8cm)
Don’t get caught out – bring your keys, phone, and wallet and leave the rest at home.
Wear warm clothes
The Six Nations is held in February and March in Scotland. I’ll say that again: the Six Nations is in February and March in Scotland. That means there’s one thing that you can count on, and that’s the fact that’s it’s going to be cold. I can’t overstate this enough.
The last time I was at the rugby it literally took hours for my body to warm up again, and that was even with going out for dinner afterwards. All the travelling to the city and then walking to the stadium takes a while so trust me, layers will definitely needed!
What to wear for a Six Nations match in Scotland:
- Padded/quilted coat
- Beanie hat
- A thick warm jumper
- Thick wool socks
Buy a programme
My mum always buys a programme when we go to see the rugby and it always seems like a good shout. Not only is it a nice souvenir of a nice day out but it’s also packed with information – profiles of the players and so on. If you want to take a deeper dive in Scottish rugby before kick-off then pick one up at one of the stands and enjoy!
Learn the national anthem
Of course, this is totally optional. Unlike Meghan Markle, the rest of us don’t have the eyes of the world on us when we sing the national anthem. However, I reckon it can enhance your enjoyment of this moment at a rugby match if you know at least some of the words…
Truth be told, I don’t know all of the words of Flower of Scotland. It’s not something I’d ever spent too much time thinking about. That was until I went to a rugby match in Scotland. Belting out the national anthem at the top of your voice, well, it felt like a moment. If you learn the words and you can be part of that moment, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Read up on the rules of rugby
I mentioned the rules above for a reason, right?
I only say this because there are many times when I’ve been left scratching my held unsure of what’s going on. Rugby matches can be confusing and unless you have an intricate knowledge of the rules it can sometimes be unclear as to what’s going on. I definitely miss the commentary on TV that pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
A little bit of research before your trip probably wouldn’t hurt. And hopefully, my quick run through of the rules of rugby below will also help…
Rules of rugby
A quick round-up of the need-to-know rules about rugby…
Never seen a rugby match before? It can be a little confusing at times!
Below are the need-to-know rugby basic rules. I will say that this is by no means an extensive list but it’s a start!
- A rugby games lasts 80 minutes in total. 40 for each half, with a half-time break. There are 15 players on each side.
- Players can run with the ball, kick the ball, and pass the ball. However, you can’t pass the ball forward, only backwards. If the ball is knocked forward it’s known as a knock-on.
- A try is when a player touches the ball down in the opponent’s goal area. Unlike American football, where the ball can be dropped from a height, the ball has to be placed on the ground. You’re awarded five points for a try.
- With every try also comes the opportunity to score a conversion afterwards. That’s where you kick the ball through the H-shaped goalposts. If it goes through, you’ll be awarded two points
- You can also add to the score sheet by scoring a penalty kick through the goal posts, which is awarded when the opposing team causes an infringement. You’ll be awarded three points for this.
- Finally, a drop goal is when the ball is kicked through the goal posts in the middle of play. The only rule is that the ball has to bounce before it’s kicked. It’s a good tactic if the scoresheet is pretty tight and you’ll get three points for this.
- The other important thing to look out for is a scrum. So what is a scrum? Well, it’s where players huddle together and basically slam their bodies against each other, and is a way of restarting play after a minor infringement.
Those are the rugby basic rules – which I hope all make sense!
What else should you do in Edinburgh?
If you’re in Edinburgh for the weekend then you definitely want to see what else the city has to offer. Here are a few suggestions for what else you can do…
Explore the Grassmarket
The charming cobbled streets of the Grassmarket are a must on any trip to the capital. Explore the boutique shops of Victoria street, and make sure you take a photo of the colourful shopfronts. Afterwards, cosy up for a drink in one of the old-fashioned pubs.
Walk the Royal Mile
It’s probably the most famous street in Edinburgh – and you definitely don’t want to miss it. Set in the heart of the historical Old Town there are restaurants, cosy pubs, and shops to explore. And it’s bookended by Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle.
Dive into Edinburgh’s dark past
Edinburgh is a city rich with history… some of it which is on the dark side. There are ghost walks, underground vaults, and the Edinburgh Dungeon. If that sounds a bit too energetic, you could just simply hang out at some of the spooky pubs in the city, like Deacon Brodies.
Read more in my blog post here
Have a tasty brunch the next day
There are loads of amazing brunch spots in Edinburgh. If you’d like to mop up the night before then Urban Angel or Smokestack are great options. Otherwise, go for the full boutique experience – with hangover cocktails – at the Ivy on the Square.
Read more about Ivy on the Square in my post here.
Climb Arthur’s Seat
If you’re looking to brush off some cobwebs or simply enjoy some breath-taking views of the city then why not go for a wander up Arthur’s Seat. I say wander… it is a bit of a hike but the views are definitely worth it. Calton Hill is also a great spot for great cityscape views.