Towns of Two Halves Awards for Traveling Supporters, August 2019

Mismatch of the Day is at Cheltenham on 24 Aug. Visiting Swindon Town fans can choose between a Brian Jones 50th Anniversary Walking Tour or the regular Ghost Tour.

The Coals to Newcastle award goes to Southend United, who make trips to Stevenage and Lincoln where urban beaches will compensate them for leaving their own perfectly good beach behind. Southend’s opening match is at Coventry, just 14 miles from another mock Copacabana at Solihull. And on 10 Aug Southend host… Blackpool.

The Knowledge is shared by Morecambe and Peterborough. Thanks to a quirk of the league fixture list and the Carabao Cup draw, Morecambe visit Mansfield twice in four days; Peterborough play at Oxford on the same pair of days. Click on the links to make the most of your visits.

Wigan Athletic Leeds United Wigan Food Festival
Wigan: Food Festival for hungry Leeds fans, or Wigan tapas for discerning diners

The Happy Eater award belongs by a nose to Leeds United. Their visit to Wigan coincides with a Food Festival; to Ipswich with an event called The Feast; and back home there’s Leeds Beer Week at the end of the month.

Weird Ride (previously the Ride the Wild Lightning award until the judges discovered what that expression meant) also goes to Leeds. Their trip to Bristol City on 4 Aug could include a detour to Bristol’s M Shed, where the chance to ride in an electric dockyard crane cabin is on offer.

Zen Men of the Month are Tranmere Rovers’ fans. They could attend a performance of Moby Dick on SS Great Britain in Bristol, an Aardman exhibition in the same city, an International Kite Festival at Portsmouth or their own One Wirral 2019 at home. Runner-up: Wycombe’s trip to Bristol Rovers coincides with the International Balloon Fiesta.

Drinking it all in

Traditionally, the match-day experience is incomplete without a visit to licensed premises. That can be before and after the match: there are some games you wouldn’t want to watch sober. But the licensed premises don’t have to be some low dive that doesn’t mind who it serves. There are highlights in all four divisions in August:

Leicester Gin Festival Bournemouth Gin Beer Prosecco
Leicester Gin Festival: more than 80 gins on offer, plus a beer and prosecco bar

Leeds Beer Week (where the visiting team is Swansea 31 Aug)
Leicester Gin Festival (Bournemouth 31 Aug)
Southend Beer Festival (Blackpool 10 Aug)
Stevenage Gin & Funk Festival (Exeter 10 Aug)

Film & TV

In the towns you’ll visit following your team, some of the goings-on will be particular to the town. In other words you might not get the chance anywhere else. That means, unfortunately, that you might not get tickets either – local people will tend to hear about the events first. But if you keep an eye on Towns of Two Halves, the website will be updated on a regular basis.
Here’s a sample of some of the film and TV-related events around the country in August. They may not exactly be once-in-a-lifetime things, but they’re not daily occurrences either.

Bradford City, Film Festival, Unesco, Preston North End, Oldham Athletic, Forest Green Rovers
Bradford Film Festival: 10th anniversary in the world’s first Unesco City of Film
Bradford Film Festival (where the visiting teams are PNE 13 Aug, Oldham 17 Aug, Forest Green 24 Aug)
Bristol Aardman: Early Man (Leeds 4 Aug, Wycombe 10 Aug, Cheltenham 13 Aug, QPR 17 Aug, Tranmere 20 Aug, Oxford 24 Aug, Middlesbrough 31 Aug)
Bristol FriendsFest (Oxford 24 Aug, Middlesbrough 31 Aug)
Chelsea Stanley Kubrick (Leicester 18 Aug, Sheff Utd 31 Aug)
Gillingham Call the Midwife location tours (Burton 10 Aug, Newport 13 Aug, Blackpool 20 Aug, Bolton 31 Aug)
Manchester FriendsFest (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug)
Sheffield Film & Comic Con (Barnsley 10 Aug)

Pride

Pride, Leicester, Bournemouth, King Power
Leicester Pride: on 31 Aug the parade through the city centre begins at noon, leading to a festival in Victoria Park. Bournemouth’s game at the King Power kicks off at 3pm

If you’re following your club to these towns and cities in August you might want to carry a rainbow flag as well as the team colours:

Doncaster (where Fleetwood are the visitors on 17 Aug)
Leicester (Bournemouth 31 Aug)
Manchester (Palace 24 Aug)
Milton Keynes (Shrewsbury 10 Aug)
Plymouth (Colchester 10 Aug)

Environment

When you’ve made a long journey only to see your team beaten, it can be hard to regard the day as time well spent. But if the fixture list takes you to the following places this month, there’s a chance to make the trip more worthwhile:

ReWild Our Planet, We the Curious, Bristol, Leeds United, Wycombe Wanderers, Cheltenham Town, QPR, Tranmere Rovers, Oxford United, Middlesbrough
ReWild our Planet, at Bristol’s We the Curious, until 31 August

Bradford Our Plastic Ocean (may be of interest to travelling Cambridge United fans on 3 Aug, PNE 13 Aug, Oldham 17 Aug, Forest Green 24 Aug)
Brentford Festival for the Environment (Hull City 17 Aug)
Bristol Insect Festival (QPR 17 Aug)
Bristol ReWild our Planet (Leeds 4 Aug, Wycombe 10 Aug, Cheltenham 13 Aug, QPR 17 Aug, Tranmere 20 Aug, Oxford 24 Aug, Middlesbrough 31 Aug)
Bristol Summer Holidays: Climate Action (Leeds 4 Aug, QPR 17 Aug, Middlesbrough 31 Aug)
Leeds War on Waste (Forest 10 Aug, Brentford 21 Aug, Swansea 31 Aug)
Middlesbrough Fragile Earth (Brentford 10 Aug, Wigan 20 Aug, Millwall 24 Aug)

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.

Kids’ Treats (2)

How better to bond with your kids than to treat them to an away game with all the trimmings?
The question then becomes… what trimmings? Wagamama for lunch? Something from Wilko in case the action doesn’t hold their attention? You can do that, of course, but you can do better.
How much better? That will depend on their ages, interests and on where you’re going. Here are some possibilities for before and after the match. Try not to let that become ‘instead of the match’:

The Circus is in town at
Grimsby (where the away teams are Bradford 10 Aug, Doncaster 13 Aug)
Lincoln (Southend 17 Aug)

Dinosaurs will be roaming
Lincoln (Accrington 3 Aug, Southend 17 Aug, Fleetwood 31 Aug)
Newcastle (Arsenal 11 Aug, Watford 31 Aug)

Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Lego, dinosaurs, Swansea City, Bristol City, WBA
Two for the price of one in Derby – dinosaurs and Lego in the Brick History show at the Museum & Art Gallery

You can’t fail with Lego
Cheltenham (Scunthorpe 10 Aug)
Crystal Palace (Everton 10 Aug, Villa 31 Aug)
Derby (Swansea 10 Aug, Bristol City 20 Aug, WBA 24 Aug)
Newcastle (Arsenal 11 Aug, Watford 31 Aug)

Sealife Blackpool, pirates, Bristol Rovers, Macclesfield Town, Oxford United, Portsmouth
Shiver me timbers… pirate gold at Sealife Blackpool

Pirates (and pieces of eight)
Blackpool (Bristol Rovers 3 Aug, Macclesfield 13 Aug, Oxford 17 Aug, Portsmouth 31 Aug)
Gillingham (Burton 10 Aug, Newport 13 Aug, Blackpool 20 Aug, Bolton 31 Aug)
Portsmouth (Birmingham 6 Aug, Tranmere 10 Aug, Coventry 20 Aug, Rotherham 24 Aug)
Swansea (Hull 3 Aug)

Newcastle, Discovery, Bubbles, Arsenal
Be baffled by a Bubbleologist at Newcastle Discovery Museum

Also Board Games at Oxford (Peterborough 13 Aug)
Bubbles at Newcastle (Arsenal 11 Aug)
Mermaid Dives at Brighton (Southampton 24 Aug)

Open-Air Cinema

When your team loses its 100% record on the first afternoon of the season, you’ll have a distinct sense of being Back to the Future. Some of the players, you realise, belong in Jurassic Park – even the one (usually strolling around the midfield) who thinks he is The Greatest Showman. Out in the fresh air all afternoon, why not spend some more time out of doors and take in a showing of the real thing?

Back to the Future Crawley Town Salford City
Back to the Future: a new season dawns, and hope springs eternal

Back to the Future at Crawley (where the away team is Salford 10 Aug)

Jurassic Park at Milton Keynes (Peterborough 24 Aug)

The Greatest Showman at Northampton (Macclesfield 17 Aug) and at Swindon on 11 Aug (Carlisle 10 Aug)

Jurassic Park Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough United
Jurassic Park: could it be your stadium’s new name under a sponsorship deal?

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.

Gaming

There must be a crossover between gaming enthusiasts and football fans. Apart from anything else, footballers clearly love gaming. So if you like to swap the screen for the stadium occasionally, here are the towns and cities with something extra for you this August:

Barnsley Cooper Gallery Kapow! Fulham Charlton Luton
Kapow! Comic Book Art at the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley

Liverpool SunnyCon Anime Expo on 10/11 Aug (where away fans from Norwich 9 Aug might still be in town)

Barnsley Comic Book Art (Fulham 3 Aug, Charlton 17 Aug, Luton 24 Aug); and at Shrewsbury (Portsmouth 3 Aug, Rotherham 13 Aug, Rochdale 17 Aug, Burton 24 Aug)

Manchester Power Up (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug, Palace 24 Aug, Brighton 31 Aug) and Salford (Stevenage 3 Aug, Leeds 13 Aug, Port Vale 17 Aug, Orient 31 Aug)

Carlisle MegaCon (Mansfield 17 Aug)

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.

Nostalgia

Nostalgia may not be what it was, but don’t let that stop you wallowing at an away venue this August. There’s a chance to step back into various bygone Golden Ages near the grounds of:

Stephenson's Rocket Manchester Science & Industry Museum Chelsea Spurs Palace Brighton
Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ on display at Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum until 8 Sep

Chelsea Wartime (where the visiting teams are Leicester on 18 Aug, Sheffield Utd on 31 Aug); and at Milton Keynes (Shrewsbury 10 Aug, Lincoln 20 Aug, Peterborough 24 Aug); and at Oldham (Crewe 10 Aug)

Derby Magazines & Dressmaking Patterns of the 30s (Swansea 10 Aug, Bristol City 20 Aug, WBA 24 Aug)

Leicester Ladybird Books (Wolves 11 Aug, Bournemouth 31 Aug); and at Reading (Sheffield Wed 3 Aug)

Manchester Stephenson’s Rocket (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug, Palace 24 Aug, Brighton 31 Aug)

Morecambe 1940s Revival (Grimsby 3 Aug)

Norwich The 1950s (Newcastle 17 Aug, Chelsea 24 Aug)

QPR Toy Brands in the 50s (Huddersfield 10 Aug, Swansea 21 Aug, Wigan 24 Aug)

Stevenage Design Icons of the 60s-80s (Exeter 10 Aug, Southend 13 Aug, Bradford 20 Aug, Macclesfield 31 Aug)

50s Toy Brands Museum of Brands QPR Huddersfield Swansea Wigan
Toy Brands in the 50s at the Museum of Brands near QPR’s ground

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.

Open-Air Theatre

This is something of a long shot. Tickets often go quickly for open-air theatre – to watch a play in the gently cooling evening of a summer’s night is such a treat. But if you were planning to follow your team to one of the following destinations, it might be worth checking availability and adjusting the time of your return accordingly:

Kew Gardens Brentford Hull City Alice in Wonderland Open-air Theatre
Alice in Wonderland at Kew: ‘it’s always tea-time’

Alice in Wonderland at Brentford (where the away team is Hull 17 Aug)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Exeter (Macclesfield 3 Aug)
Comedy of Errors at Brighton (West Ham 17 Aug)
Frankenstein at Mansfield (Morecambe 10 Aug)
Gangsta Granny at Shrewsbury (Portsmouth 3 Aug)
Love’s Labours Lost at Northampton (Walsall 3 Aug)
Moby Dick on SS Great Britain at Bristol (Tranmere 20 Aug, Oxford 24 Aug)
Sense & Sensibility at Sheffield on 23 Aug (Leicester 24 Aug)
Theatre on the Square at Accrington (Bury 10 Aug)
The Secret Garden at Gillingham (Blackpool 20 Aug)
Treasure Island at Peterborough (Ipswich 17 Aug)
Twelfth Night at Oxford (Peterborough 10 Aug)