When it comes to a football holiday, we normally think of a trip away with the lads, basking in the bars and soaking up the sun. But, with Euro 2016 being held in France this summer, why not combine your football trip with a family break? Just think, you can stay in style and comfort, take in the England games, then relax and enjoy the sights with your loved ones.
In June, for their group games, The Three Lions will be coming to Marseille, Lens and St Etienne, so why not be there to cheer them on with your family, and then have some days out with the kids.
Saturday, 11 June: England v Russia (20:00, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
Roy Hodgson’s men will be aiming to build on their perfect qualification campaign when they kick off their Championship on 11 June at Marseille’s famous Stade Vélodrome against Russia. This meeting on the French Riviera is just the third time the two countries have faced one another, with the two previous contests during the failed run to Euro 2008. England cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Wembley in September 2007, but were humbled 2-1 in Moscow four weeks later, making them eager to exorcise this painful memory on their reunion.
Your trip can be based around an evening at one of the Côte d’Azur’s finest stadiums, but make sure to make the most of your time in the South of France by taking in some of its glorious coastline. You can book a base in the port town of Cassis, only 30km south of the stadium, and enjoy the best of both worlds, with countless pretty coves and secluded beaches to explore.
Thursday, 16 June: England v Wales (14:00, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
England’s second stop is almost 1,000km to the north, as the team head to Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens for a game against Wales on 16 June. The match-up in the once Norman strong-hold is the countries’ 102nd contest, with a ferociously fought game on the cards, as Wales aim to emerge victorious for the 15th time.
When you’ve finished agonising over whether Gareth Bale will tear the England backline apart, you can relax with the culture of one of Northern France’s hidden gems. Set up shop in the centre, and make sure to visit both the Louvre-Lens, a glass-walled wonderland complete with both classic and contemporary art, and the Lens 14-18 History Museum, home to some of the world’s most iconic artefacts.
Monday, 20 June: Slovakia v England (20:00, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, St Étienne)
Group B for England concludes in the luscious Loire region on 20 June against Slovakia at St Étienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Hodgson will be hoping history will repeat itself, with the two previous meetings both ending 2-1 in favour of the English as they went on to qualify for Euro 2004 thanks to three goals from Michael Owen.
Away from this crucial match, you’ll be able to unwind in the glorious countryside, while also taking in the sights of the city. When you’re exploring the tree-lined streets, don’t miss out on one of France’s finest collections of contemporary art at the city’s MoMa, or an afternoon at St Étienne Planetarium.