Rugby Park: Kilmarnock

Rugby Road, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, KA1 2DP, Scotland
By Martin "Le" Roy (Own work (Original text: self-made)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Somewhat incredibly, Rugby Park has been used to host Kilmarnock’s home games since 1899 but it is actually technically the club’s fifth ground. Having been formed in 1869, Kilmarnock is the oldest professional football club in all of Scotland and for the first sixty years of its existence games were played at The Grange, Holm Quarry, Ward’s Park and another ground with the name Rugby Park.

As you might have guessed from the name, the original Rugby Park hosted cricket and rugby games before Kilmarnock Football Club rocked up and began kicking a different shaped ball about. They started playing games at the old Rugby Park in 1877 and when a new stadium was built down the road in 1899 it made sense to pay homage to the club’s previous ground by giving the new one the same name.

Stats

Rugby Park Stats
Year Opened1899
Capacity17,889
Average Attendance5,342
Record Attendance35,995 (Kilmarnock v Rangers (1962))
Pitch Size102 x 68 (6936)
OwnerKilmarnock F.C.
Clubs HostedKilmarnock F.C.
First FixtureKilmarnock v Celtic (01/08/1899)
Kilmarnock Stats
Year Founded1869
NicknameKillie
Club MascotNutz the Squirrel
RivalsAyr United
Previous StadiumsThe Grange, Holm Quarry, Ward's Park, Rugby Park
KitBlue & White Stripes (Home) / Red & Black Stripes (Away)
Training GroundKilmarnock Football Club Training Ground
Shirt SponsorQTS Group
Team OwnerBilly Bowie
Record GoalscorerWillie Culley (148)
Record AppearancesAlan Robertson (460)

Rugby Park Photos

Rugby Park Seating Plan & Where to Sit

The Chadwick Stand lies to the North of the stadium and is behind one of the goals. It has two tiers and is where the away supporters are usually housed. The East Stand runs along the side of the pitch and has two tiers, one of which is sloped and uneven. The Frank Beattie Stand is opposite it and is considered to be the main stand as it houses the dugouts and the changing rooms. Finally, The Moffat Stand is virtually identical in design to its Northern counterpart and tends to house the most vocal Killie supporters.

Kilmarnock Ticket Prices

In one sense, ticket prices for Kilmarnock matches are easy enough to understand. There is one set price for the stadium, so you don’t pay more to sit in any specific location within the ground. There also isn’t really any match categorisation, except for the fact that you’ll pay slightly more than the prices listed below to see Killie play against Celtic and Rangers. The only other thing that determines the price of your match ticket is your age.

  • Adults: £20.00
  • Concessions: £15.00

Family tickets are also available at £45.00

How To Get Kilmarnock Tickets

Tickets are available to buy through the club’s official website and in person from the Kille Shop from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and from 10am on match days or 12.30pm on Saturday match-days. You can also buy tickets over the phone and, apart from Old Firm games, via cash turnstiles on the day. If you want tickets posted out to you that'll be an extra £1.50

Where to Buy

Getting To Rugby Park

Kilmarnock is near to the lower East coast of Scotland, not too far from Glasgow. It’s easy enough to get to the ground, with these being the most common methods you’d look to use:

Train - A train journey from London Euston would take about five and a half hours to get to Kilmarnock with a change in Carlisle. The train station is about twenty minutes away from the ground on foot.

Bus - Buses 6, 7, 10, 337 and X50 will take you from the train station to slightly closer to the ground.

Car - From England you’ll want to enter Scotland on the A74 (M), staying on it until it becomes the M74. Leave at Junction 12 onto the A70 then get on the B743 to the A76 and follow the signs.

By Air - Prestwick Airport is just nine miles from the ground, with Glasgow Airport a little further afield at 22 miles.

Taxi - A taxi from the train station to the ground will cost you roughly £5 and take about five minutes.

Parking Near Rugby Park

The only parking at Rugby Park is for hospitality customers. Access to the area is also limited on match days, meaning on-street parking is hard to come by. You might be better off parking in the centre and walking in.

Useful Resources

Rugby Park Hotels

The Kilmarnock area might lack the pizzazz of Glasgow but it’s still worth a visit. Here are some good hotels to look at:

Hallmark Hotel Irvine - £50+

46 Annick Road, Irvine, KA11 4LD
Located in nearby Irvine about six miles from Rugby Park is this pleasant 4-star hotel with a restaurant and bar. It’s also got seven meeting rooms, a conference space, a garden free parking and free Wi-Fi. More details.

The Fenwick Hotel - £75+

Junction 8 M77, Kilmarnock, KA3 6AU
The Fenwick Hotel in Fenwick is around eight miles from the ground. It’s got a restaurant, a bar, a garden, meeting rooms, free Wi-Fi and, as you’d expect from a hotel located just off the motorway, free parking. More details.

The Gailes Hotel and Restaurant - £80+

Marine Drive, Gailes, Irvine, KA11 5AE
This picturesque 4-star hotel is just over seven miles from the stadium and is close to the beach in Irvine. It’s got a restaurant, two bars, a full-service spa and health club complete with a jacuzzi, a terrace, a garden, free parking and free Wi-Fi. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Rugby Park

Kilmarnock doesn’t get the same press that the likes of Edinburgh receives, but it’s a Scottish town with a lot to offer, including these cracking drinking holes:

The Jefferson

34-36 Grange Street, Kilmarnock, KA1 2DD (+44 1563 526265)
The Jefferson is not the sort of place your typical football crowd might end up. It is a high-end restaurant with a funky cocktail bar and café inside its walls. Very much chic and cool, this is the place to head if you’re wanting a nice quiet pre-match drink and bite to eat.

The Clansman

56 John Finnie Street, Kilmarnock, KA1 1BS (+44 1563 546772)
More of what you might refer to as a ‘typical boozer’ than The Jefferson, The Clansman has a number of great ales on offer, a decent ‘pub grub’ type menu, a pool table and a couple of TVs for live sport. It’s also not far from the train station.

Brass & Granite

53 Grange Street, Kilmarnock, KA1 2DD (+44 1563 523431)
Not far from The Jefferson and the closest pub on this list to the stadium is Brass & Granite. Very much a sports pub with TVs dotted around, a pool table and old Kilmarnock shirts in frames on the wall, this pub has a pretty standard drinks and food menu.

Facilities

Given that the stadium was pretty much rebuilt in the 1990s, it’s fair to say that the facilities are better than at some older grounds but not as good as those at the top-end of the game. There are places to buy food and drink, toilets and decent concourses. What more do you want?

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 1.70
  • Cup of tea: 1.70

Hospitality

By [http://www.flickr.com/photos/hodgers/ Tom Hodgkinson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are two main options at Rugby Park as far as your match day hospitality experience is concerned. The Park Suite option will see you enjoy a sparkling wine reception, a pre-match drink and three-course meal, half-time refreshments and a post-match presentation of the Man Of The Match award plus plenty of entertainment in-between. The Executive Club, meanwhile, is a more intimate affair and has a pay bar available before and after the game, light snacks pre-match, seating in the Director’s Box and half-time buffet finger food.

Private Hire

In 2002 Kilmarnock constructed The Park Hotel next to the ground. As well as having fifty rooms the hotel also incorporates the Ayrshire Banqueting and Conference Centre, so if you’re hoping to put on an event in the Kilmarnock area then this is the place for you. With facilities for up to 400 guests for a banquet or 600 for a conference, there’s unlikely to be an event you’re hoping to put on that The Park Hotel won’t be able to handle.

Stadium Tours & Museum

As we write this guide stadium tours are not available for Rugby Park and there’s no museum onsite either. If one or both of those things changes then we’ll let you know. While tours aren't readily available, you do get a sneaky tour included if you book onto one of the hospitality packages.

About Kilmarnock

Tom Brogan /Flickr.com

For a team that boasts the title of being the oldest professional football club in Scotland, Kilmarnock have achieved the sort of success you’d imagine accompanies a reasonably-sized club that’s been around for ages. The club was formed when a group of local cricketers were looking for something to do in the off-season and decided to create a football club. Originally they played the rules of the game that were similar to rugby, but the rising popularity of association rules soon saw them change the way they played.

It is believed that Kilmarnock’s 2-0 loss to Renton in the Scottish Cup on the 18th of October 1873 was the first game ever played in that competition. The club joined the Scottish League in 1895 and joined the top-flight in 1899, the same year they moved into Rugby Park. They won the top-flight in 1965, have won the Scottish Cup three times, the Scottish League Cup once and made it to the semi-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1967.

Rugby Park History

By Stephenh-9287 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The first game played at Rugby Park was also the first game that Kilmarnock played in Scotland’s top-flight. They were losing 2-0 to Celtic on the 1st of August 1899 but fought back to earn a respectable 2-2 draw. Back then the pitch was surrounded by a running track, with a pavilion at one end of the ground and a stand running along the west side of the playing surface. League matches were suspended during the Second World War and so the army used the ground as an munitions dump instead. It meant the pitch had to be reconstructed in the aftermath of the war, with Italian POWs helping to rebuild the North terrace.

The ground has been reconstructed several times over the years, including in the 1960s when The West Stand was renovated and floodlights were added. The most extensive overhaul took place in the 1990s, however, when The Taylor Report into the Hillsborough Disaster declared that all top-flight stadiums must be all-seater. Reconstruction was favoured over moving to a new ground and the new-look Rugby Park was opened on the 6th of August 1995 with a friendly game against then Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers. It didn’t go well for the home side as Alan Shearer scored a hat-trick and Blackburn won 5-0.

Future Developments

Artists Impression of Rugby Park for Scotland's Euro 2016 bid - Martin Le Roy at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are no immediate plans to develop Rugby Park, but if that changes we’ll update this section and let you know.

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.