During a 100-minute tour, the spiritual home of this most English of games and the headquarters of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), opens its "behind the scenes" areas to visitors. Highlights include the Long Room, a VIP viewing area where portraits of cricketing greats are on display; the players' dressing rooms; and the world's oldest sporting museum, where cricket's 400-year progress from gentlemanly village-green game to worldwide sport is charted via memorabilia, equipment, trophies, and footage of memorable performances. Don't miss the prize exhibit: the urn known as the Ashes—allegedly the remains of a cricket bail (part of the wicket assembly) presented to the English captain in 1883 by a group of Australian women, a jokey allusion to a newspaper's satirical obituary for the death of English cricket published after a resounding defeat. It's been a symbol of the two nations' long-running rivalry ever since. They still play for possession of the Ashes every two years though
it's only been an official (as opposed to joke) trophy since 1998. A Waterford crystal version changes hands these days, though the winners still hold a replica of the original urn aloft. Tours are not available during major matches (they're offered during smaller "county" matches), but the museum remains open to match ticket holders.