Insight Update

The sports capitals of the UK

A SPORTS map of the UK, revealing where the true homes of different popular sports are in the UK has been released.

A survey of more than 7,600 UK adults, published by Decathlon in the Decathlon Activity Index 2019, reveals where the nation’s favourite sports are played the most in the UK.

London was found to be the UK’s running capital, with 39 per cent of residents claiming to regularly participate in the sport. This may be due to the many free paths and parks on their doorsteps.

Gym fitness was found to be most popular (34 per cent) in the North West of England – home to the second largest gym in Europe, Wilmslow’s Total Fitness health club.

The UK’s favourite sport, swimming, was found to be most popular in Scotland, home to Duncan Scott, who recently won at the 2018 European swimming championships and most famously at the 2016 Olympic games. More than one in every four (27 per cent) Scots regularly take part in the sport.

Surprisingly, Wales was found to be the football capital of the UK, with an incredible 18 per cent of local residents taking part in the sport on a regular basis.

Yorkshire, the home of four of Britain’s finest national trails, was revealed as the hiking capital of the UK, with almost one in five (17 per cent) residents regularly making the most of their beautiful surroundings.
The North East was found to be the most popular region for cycling, with 16 per cent of residents regularly participating in the sport – perhaps spurred on by the facilities on offer at the Middlesbrough Velodrome.
Northern Ireland took the crown as the rugby capital, with 16 per cent of residents regularly playing; while the South East of England was most popular region for yoga and Pilates. More than one in ten (12 per cent) of residents regularly practice – and are perhaps inspired by the fantastic coastal retreats that the region offers.

With the West Midlands being home to tennis favourite, The Birmingham Classic tournament, it’s perhaps unsurprising that more than one in ten (11 per cent) residents take part in racket sports, including tennis, squash and badminton.

The South West was found to be the horse riding capital of the UK, with one in ten (ten per cent) residents regularly saddling up.

Chris Allen, sports manager at Decathlon, said: “It’s interesting to see how geographical and cultural relevancies are seemingly influencing the sports that people in certain areas of the UK are the most interested in.
“It’s only natural that if better facilities are on offer, people are more likely to take up a sport, or practise more regularly. But ultimately, many sports can be played without an official facility or centre – at Decathlon, we encourage people to make the most of the space they have to take up exercise and play sport. Pilates and yoga are easily practised in a quiet corner of the home. Gym fitness, too, can be improvised in the home, while rugby and football can be played in the garden or yard.”

The sports capitals of the UK:
1. Running – London, 39%
2. Gym – North West, 34%
3. Swimming – Scotland, 27%
4. Football – Wales, 18%
5. Hiking – Yorkshire, 17%
6. Cycling – North East, 16%
7. Rugby – Northern Ireland, 16%
8. Yoga/Pilates – South East, 12%
9. Racket Sports (Tennis, Squash, Badminton) – West Midlands, 11%
10. Horse Riding – South West, 10%

The Decathlon Activity Index tracks rates of participation in sport and other physical activities across the year through a national survey repeated every month throughout the year.
Decathlon has 45 stores in the UK and sells a variety of sports equipment, clothing and accessories perfect for those want to get active or excel their performance.
For more information, visit

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button