Lana from our web content team
4 mins read | December 12, 2021
The Commonwealth Games are coming to Birmingham in July and August. Are you ready to see some of the best athletes in the world compete in 280 events across 20 different sports? Of course you are. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Commonwealth Games 2022!
What is the Commonwealth Games?
The Commonwealth Games is a sporting event for countries from the Commonwealth of Nations, which includes countries like Australia, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Samoa. Most of the Commonwealth countries were former British colonies or dependencies of those colonies, and there are 54 sovereign member states in total.
Somewhat confusingly, though, there are 72 Commonwealth Games Associations - this is partly because some countries, like the United Kingdom, don’t compete as one entity but separately as each member state. That means that Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales all enter the Commonwealth Games separately, unlike the Olympic Games where athletes compete together under the “Team GB” banner.
The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930, and they’ve taken place every four years since - with the exception of 1942 and 1946.
When is the Commonwealth Games?
The last Commonwealth Games were held in Australia, on the Gold Coast, in 2018. And this year, in 2022, they’re coming to Birmingham! The Games will run from July 28th to August 8th 2022, in locations across the city.
Originally, the two bidders for the 2022 Games were Durban, South Africa and Edmonton, Canada. Durban secured the bid after Edmonton pulled out, but Durban also later had to withdraw due to financial constraints.
The hunt for a new host city began again in March 2017, and both Liverpool and Birmingham submitted applications. In December 2017, Birmingham was chosen as the new host city.
This edition of the Games marks the third time that England has hosted, after London in 1934 and Manchester in 2002. Scotland has also hosted three times. In both 1970 and 1986, Edinburgh was the host city, whilst Glasgow played host in 2014. Wales and Northern Ireland haven’t had the Games on their shores - yet!
Commonwealth Games Sports
Whether you love the thrill of the 200m sprint, or love getting in on the action of the rugby sevens, there are a huge number of sports to see at the Commonwealth Games.
There is a new Commonwealth Games Charter for this edition of the Games, so the sports on offer will be different to any previous edition of the event. Where there were previously ten core sports, this has been expanded to include five new sports, making fifteen core sports in total. These are:
- Lawn bowls
- Netball (for women)
- Road cycling
- Table tennis
The charter also states that para-sports events must be integrated within athletics, lawn bowls, swimming and weightlifting - this makes the Commonwealth Games different to other events like the Olympic Games, where parasports are held in a separate event.
There are also a number of optional sports such as archery, basketball, mountain bike and track cycling, rhythmic gymnastics and beach volleyball. The organising committee for each Games decides what they wish to include.
This year, there will be 280 finals played across 20 sports. You can find the full list of sports and the schedule of events on the officialCommonwealth Games 2022 website
Getting to the Commonwealth Games
One of the easiest ways to get to Birmingham is by train - and you have a choice of two train stations in the city, making it easy to get there from all over the country. Either travel to Birmingham Internationa, or Birmingham New Street - either way, the cheapest way to get there is by booking tickets directly through Avanti.
Either book online on our website or on our app for the best-value tickets, with no booking fees. Remember that the earlier you book, the cheaper your tickets will be - so take a look at what sporting events you want to attend, then book your train travel in advance rather than leaving it to the day of travel.
Once you’re in Birmingham, all public transport is included within the cost of your ticket - a great deal, as venues are dotted around the city across 15 venues. There are seven within the city itself, whilst the National Exhibition Centre (conveniently beside Birmingham International station) will also host events. Other events are held in the West Midlands, at Coventry, Cannock Chase, Royal Leamington Spa, Sandwell, Warwick and Wolverhampton
Finally, the Lee Valley VeloPark in Stratford (East London), will host the track cycling. If you want to attend that event, you can take the train to London Euston, followed by the overground train from London St Pancras International to Stratford International, a journey of just over 10 minutes. The velodrome is a 15-minute walk from the station.
Things to do in Birmingham
Why not make the most of your time in Birmingham whilst you’re visiting for the Commonwealth Games? Take the time to explore the city in between sporting events, or add on an extra day or two to your trip to see everything the city has to offer - after all, there’s plenty of fun to be had for the whole family in the UK’s second-largest city!
If you need a little culture after all that sporting action, why not check out some of the city’s world-class museums and galleries? Learn all about the history of the area in the unique, open-air Black Country Living Museum, or enjoy a family day out at the interactive Thinktank - Birmingham Science Museum.
Of course, no visit to Birmingham is complete without a trip to the National SEA LIFE Centre, where you’ll be amazed by the variety of marine life. Take part in the VIP penguin feeding experience or take a stroll through the UK’s only 360° ocean tunnel, where you’ll see sharks, rays, tropical fish and a giant turtle swimming all around you. Just magic!
The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is another top day out if you have kids aged between 3 and 12. They’ll love the 10 different LEGO build zones, as well as the rides and 4D cinema experience.
And whatever you choose to do in Birmingham, you won’t go hungry. The city has one of the best food scenes in the whole country, with everything from international street food to Michelin-starred restaurants to whet your appetite.
Explore Birmingham at your own pace when you take the train with Avanti. Book your tickets direct with us online today, then plan your visit with our guide to things to do in Birmingham.