Granted unprecedented access to England’s home from home on the NSW coast, Telegraph Sport finds a set-up geared to every player’s need

Virtual reality headsets, Harry Potter books and retro arcade games are amongst the entertainment opportunities on offer to England’s players at the Lionesses’ base for the remainder of their Women’s World Cup campaign.

Sarina Wiegman’s team are staying at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific hotel in a seaside town just over an hour’s drive north of Sydney, where England face Denmark in Group D on Friday.

The team areas at the hotel were redecorated over a 72-hour period prior to their arrival on Sunday and the decor is now personalised for the Lionesses. On the walls are team mottos and a mural depicting the squad in their first grass-roots teams’ kits produced by Bolton-based artist Harry Ward.

In a move the Football Association is understood never to have undertaken previously, with either the men’s or women’s national sides, journalists were given a tour of the team’s facilities at the hotel. Upon climbing the escalator that has been decorated in Lionesses branding, it is clear that the FA women’s technical director Kay Cossington is not exaggerating when she says an “incredible investment” has been put into providing the team with a “home from home” Down Under.

Following feedback from the players on what sorts of activities they would like to do in their time off away from training and meetings, the team’s private area includes an arts-and-crafts station where colouring pens and stencils are on offer. The Scott room – named after Queen of the Jungle and European Championship winner Jill Scott – is for relaxation and features table tennis, a darts board, virtual reality headsets, bean bags and arcade games, including a Simpsons one.

Georgia Stanway of England arrives at the England team basecamp

Georgia Stanway hits the in-house arcade Credit: Naomi Baker/The FA via Getty Images

In one corner, shelves contain books about sporting stars including Wales rugby legend Alun Wyn Jones and tennis players Serena Williams, Andre Agassi and Ash Barty. Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and a full set of Harry Potter books are also among the reading options.

Next door is the dining room, which has been named the Parr room in honour of legendary former Dick, Kerr Ladies winger Lily Parr, a pioneering female player who starred from the 1920s through to the 1950s. Evidence of the broad range of breakfast options remain on the tables during this visit, including cereals, an array of fresh fruit, energy gels and an abundance of blackcurrant squash.

England training camp at Terrigal

England are encouraged to ‘dare to be different’ at their base vamp in Terrigal Credit: Naomi Baker/The FA via Getty Images

The team’s meeting room is named after the Lionesses’ record goal-scorer, Ellen White, and boasts a big screen and a tactical board. Some peppermints have been placed out next to pens and paper – who would want bad breath during a tactical talk?! – and a large map of the host venues is on the wall.

The hotel itself is just across the road from the main beach in Terrigal, with spectacular views of the coastline. It is understood that the location was chosen after extensive site visits and research, stretching back to an initial conversation with Fifa in the middle of the 2021-22 season. By May 2022, Cossington and the team’s general manager Anja van Ginhoven were on a road trip along the entire east coast of Australia, checking out the different options for base camps.

When England were drawn in Group D with matches in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide, and the possibility of knockout matches in Brisbane and Sydney only, they knew their first choice was Terrigal. In all, they had checked out 23 hotels, 18 training venues and – Cossington joked – about 37 coffee shops.

Arts and crafts box at Terrigal

England players are encouraged to get creative Credit: Naomi Baker/The FA via Getty Images

The hotel is a 20-minute drive from the Central Coast Stadium – home of A-League side the Central Coast Mariners – where the Lionesses are training. Outside the ground, which is just yards away from the coast, a purpose-built gym has been erected.

The 23-player squad have around 30 support staff staying with them on site and their open training session on Tuesday was attended by around 2,500 local fans, and included a traditional welcome from the local Aboriginal community.

Prior to their opening game against Haiti in Brisbane, the group stayed further north in Queensland along the Sunshine Coast, where kangaroos, whale-watching excursions and a visit to the zoo helped the squad relax while recovering from jet-lag, but Terrigal is their base camp for the rest of this World Cup.