Whilst in the UK, as well as taking in the well-trodden tourist experiences of Tower Of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, Galleries galore, and shopping until you drop, why not take in some of the UK’s other cultural and architectural marvels…. our football stadiums!
White Hart Lane, Emirates Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Craven Cottage, Anfield, City of Manchester Stadium, Old Trafford, St James’ Park and less we forget, Wembley Stadium all provide a variety of Stadium Tours, which you can incorporate conveniently to your visit.
Although getting a ticket to a game is always the best way to experience our national game, this is not always possible for a variety of reasons. Many of the top clubs in particular require membership before even being able to buy tickets (and even then to a restricted set of games), and getting seats together where there are 2 more of you, even with the membership, is nigh on impossible. Even those tickets that are available without memberships are more often than not sold at a premium through the secondary markets (and are not limitless either!).
However, to offer a slightly different experience of the UK Sporting culture, at a comparatively cheaper price, and at a time that can more flexibly fit in to your schedule (most top teams hold midweek as well as weekend tours), I would warmly recommend a Stadium Tour to one of the top UK Football Stadiums.
From a price point of view consider that, at time of writing, the price of a family of four to visit White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur, is £47.50. This includes 90 minute tour of the Stadium for 2 adults and 2 children, plus experience the famous tunnel, dug outs, and personalised gift pack including voucher and message card…. for £47.50!!! For a family of 4 to visit a typical Premier League game, even with tickets provided on a plate (and sitting next to each other etc etc), will cost upwards of £100!
As well as the relatively low cost of such a trip, Stadium Tours can offer the following maybe less tangible benefits, not all of which exclusively appeal to Football (or indeed Sports fans).
The Benefits of a Stadium Tour
For Sports buffs, a visit to a Stadium provides the opportunity to truly experience the environment and marvels of the modern football stadium, without the modern day price tag and end of game exit queues. It provides the opportunity for the Football fan, old and young alike, to cast wonder into the epicentre of their sporting idols, usually accompanied by a knowledgeable, equally Football mad, host! Many Stadium Tours also include access to players changing rooms, dug outs, tunnels, etc, so as to maximise your experience! Or how about climbing the 107 sacred Trophy Winners steps at Wembley, and visit the Royal Box??
For History buffs, many Stadium Tours now include passes to visit the accompanying football museums. For example at the Arsenal Museum visitors are shown historical exhibitions, including Michael Thomas’ boots from Anfield ’89 and Charlie George’s FA Cup final shirt from 1971, along with a recently-donated array of memorabilia. And speaking of history, and Arsenal, my favourite piece of London Stadium nostalgia comes absolutely free on the walk to the Emirates (from Arsenal or Finsbury Park end Underground stations) which is the view of the remaining stand of Highbury. Although the whole stadium has been renovated into flats, its impossible to walk past without wondering about times gone by, the players, the fans, and the history.
Of course Highbury (or, Arsenal Stadium, to use its correct name) was not all about football, although it was mainly about just that. The Art Deco Architecture of this bygone stadium was (and still is… or at least what’s left of it) a sight to behold, and although Art Deco not the predominant theme of the imposing Emirates Stadium, this nonetheless modern day homage to the 21st Century game, is none the less impressive.
For combining sport, history and architecture, and to really tell your mates about an authentic Football experience I can also warmly recommend a trip to Craven Cottage, home to Fulham FC. Away from the glitz and comforts of a modern football stadium, a trip to the Cottage offers something of an experience of a bygone era (Craven Cottage is the oldest football stadium in London), still very much alive in this part of West London!
The following Stadium Tours in London are available, at very competitive prices (various discounts also available for bulk bookings, students, seniors, etc), and all are within easy reach of Central London. I have mentioned some of the most popular, below, with links;
Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC
Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC
White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur FC
Wembley Stadium, home of the England National Football Team
Craven Cottage, home of Fulham FC. Full review of Craven Cottage coming soon !!
In terms of the above list, and the location of where you are staying in London:
- Those of you who will be based in West London a Stadium Tour of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge may be most convenient. Or, for those Fulham fans among you (!), or those othewise interested in a tour to a more traditional, if less glamorous club, I highly recommend a trip to Craven Cottage. Personally it is one of my favorite Football grounds, and is very convenient to a lot of popular West London hotels.
- For those based in Central London and North London,Tours of Arsenal’s magnificent Emirates Stadium, and a little bit further out Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane, may be better.
- For visiting our national Football Stadium, Wembley Stadium, appeals more, then there are an array of links spanning out from Central and West London to get you to your destination.
- (For those who will go and visit your supported club, irrespective of where you are staying during your trip, I salute you!)
So where are these Stadiums located, relative to where I am staying? Well, I don’t know where you are staying of course, but have anyway mapped out the location of the most popular Football Stadium tours, relative to Central London, below. Hover over each marker to identify each Stadium, click on each marker to get information on public transport links, including Tube and Train;
You can use the following resource to find out where these underground stations are on the London Underground:
Of course going by taxi to any of the Stadiums in London is a viable, if possibly more expensive, option also.
Of course, less I cause too much controversy, historically the most successful UK Football Clubs are not located in London at all! And the history to be gleaned and experience of visiting the regions of the UK also make visits to both Liverpool and Manchester well worth the visit. To say nothing of the renowned hospitality and friendliness of those up North also :-)
Consider the following Stadium Tours available.
City of Manchester Stadium, home of Man City
Old Trafford, home of Manchester United
St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United. For Full review of St Jame’s Park click here
Anfield, home of Liverpool FC
Although I am still awaiting my invitation (!) , and am not a Liverpool supporter, a trip to Anfield is high on my bucket list. They have a whole range of Stadium Tours available including..
- The Mighty Red Family Tour and Steven Gerrard Collection
- Match Day Tours
- The Legends Tour (with former player as guide!)
- and..romance is certainly not dead in the North West of England….the Anfield Experience Day with Lunch for Two!
For more information on the Tours available at Anfield please click here.
For a full list of Stadium Tours, advertised on ukfootballgroup please click here.
I hope you have found this small guide useful and can find the time in your visit to the UK to attend one of these Stadium Tours. Please leave your feedback below. I will, in the coming months add links to yet more Stadium Tours – in particular I am looking to find out more about possible tours to other Stadiums including Celtic Park and Ibrox in Rangers, as I know there is a large International fan base for these clubs! They also have imposing and historical Stadiums, fit for clubs with rich pedigree, so really think these should be in my guide.