London's Top Football Stadiums
Attending a football match during your stay in London is a fantastic experience - it puts you in touch with local life and allows you to experience some of the finest sporting action on the planet. Many visitors to London enjoy a trip to one of the famous stadiums throughout the capital to take in a match or take a tour of one of its magnificent arenas.
Why not enhance your London short stay with some edge-of-the-seat football action? Alongside Wembley Stadium, there are a further 6 football grounds that play host to world class sporting drama in the English Premier League:
1. Wembley Stadium
One of the world's top sporting venues, the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium plays host to Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union and American Football, as well as a host of rock concerts throughout the year.
Stadium Tours: £16 Adults, £9 Children (7 days per week except matchdays)
How to get there: Metropolitan or Jubilee Lines to Wembley Park, which is a 10-minute walk to the stadium down the iconic Wembley Way
Accommodation Nearby: Stay at a Marylebone Serviced Apartment and you can get a direct train to Wembley Park from Baker Street tube station in just ten minutes.
2. Chelsea: Stamford Bridge
Completely re-built during the 1990s and early 2000s, Stamford Bridge is now one of London's most well-known venues, home to the 4-time English champions Chelsea FC. 41,837 blue and white seats rise from the pitchside offering a splendid view of what will doubtless be a winning brand of football under new coach (at the time of writing!) José Mourinho, who returned to West London after spells in charge of Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
A day out at Chelsea is a great experience for visitors to London - tickets are likely to be difficult to come by, so if you are lucky enough to get one, make sure you arrive early and make the most of the occasion. The South Stand (known locally as the "Shed End") is where most of the Chelsea noise comes from, with the looming East Stand providing the best views along the side, and are priced accordingly.
Stadium Tours: £20 Adults, £13 Children for the Stamford Bridge Stadium Tour and Museum Experience (7 days per week except matchdays)
How to get there: District Line to Fulham Broadway, which is a 5-minute walk to the ground
Accommodation Nearby: Stay at a Serviced Apartment in Chelsea or Fulham, where you can reach the stadium on foot. However, any apartment in West London will just be a short tube ride away.
3. Arsenal: Emirates Stadium
With construction completed in 2006, Arsenal made the short half-mile move from their historic ground at Highbury, across to this sleek bowl of a stadium that dominates the skyline in this part of North London. London's most successful club, Arsenal are a truly worldwide brand who have benefitted from the services of a number of stellar names down the years such as Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas. Today, they boast international stars such as Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski alongside homegrown talent in Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The stadium itself holds just over 60,000 and the padded seats and spacious legroom make this one of the most comfortable Premier League venues to visit. Treat yourself to a ticket in the Club Level if the budget is there for it - facilities in here are superb, and the view is second-to-none.
Stadium Tours: Adults £17.50, Children £9; Legends Tour (conducted by a former Arsenal legend) £35 (1pm daily)
How to get there: Piccadilly Line to Arsenal, 5 minute walk or Victoria Line to Finsbury Park, 20 minute walk.
Accommodation Nearby: Caledonian Road Apartments G and Caledonian Superior Apartments 17 in Islington are both within a 15 minute walk from the stadium, whilst Serviced Apartments in Camden or Kings Cross are just a five or ten minute tube ride away.
4. Tottenham Hotspur: White Hart Lane
Arguably the most atmospheric stadium in London, the compact White Hart Lane ground towers above the north London suburb of Tottenham. Plans are in the pipeline for a new stadium, so it won't be long before "Spurs" are able to compete on the very highest stage in terms of ground capacity and Champions League Qualification. 36,240 is simply not big enough at the top level, although on the flipside, fans are close to the pitch and the compactness of the ground creates a raucous atmosphere, especially when the Park Lane stand finds its voice!
Andre Villas-Boas's men will have a tough task on their hands once again as they attempt to break into the promised land of the top 4, and therefore securing qualification for Europe's elite tournament. The recent signing from Valencia of Roberto Soldado and the acquisition of midfield playmaker Paulinho from the Brazilian top flight, bring hope to Spurs fans that this season might just be the one to compete with Chelsea, and the two Manchester clubs of United and City. Tottenham have a far-reaching fan-base within the UK and abroad, although their global brand is not as strong as teams such as Arsenal and Chelsea, mainly due to the lack of high-profile European football to grace "the Lane".
For the best atmosphere, choose the Park Lane end (South Stand) in the lower tier, although be prepared for some choice Anglo-Saxon and occasional taunting of the opposition supporters! The Shelf Side (East Stand) has some good views along the side, as long as you are not unfortunate enough to be sat behind one of the two enormous pillars that support the roof. A good option is the Paxton Road (North Stand) which has a more low-key, family vibe.
Stadium Tours: Adults £20, Children £9
How to get there: Victoria Line to Seven Sisters (Zone 3), 30 minute walk or overground from Liverpool Street to White Hart Lane (Zone 4)
Accommodation Nearby: Serviced Apartments in Liverpool Street offer a central London location with direct trains from the station to White Hart Lane in 20 minutes.
5. West Ham United: Upton Park
A trip to the depths of London's East End is an experience in itself, but a trip to see a match involving the Pride of the East End, West Ham United, is something never to be forgotten. As you are trundling out to Upton Park station on the District Line, watch the claret and blue shirts, scarves and hats fill the carriage and the atmosphere build. On arrival at the tube station, the streets will be cleared of traffic to allow for the large crowds, and you may have enough time to sample the local speciality of jellied eels! Officially called the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park has a capacity of 35,000, with stands named after former "Hammers" legends Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking, the former having sadly passed away in 1993 and the latter now at a senior position at the Football Association.
West Ham are set for another decent season under the stewardship of "Big Sam" Allardyce, who was appointed back in June 2011. A top-half finish would be the aim for a club that is now hoping to consign the recent 15 or so years of "yo-yo" between the top and second flights of English football. The side will put plenty of onus on the giant centre-forward Andy Carroll, whose physical presence from set-pieces will be carefully marshalled by the opposition. Solid, reliable professionals such as Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble form the spine of the team, who also possess some less consistent performers such as Alou Diarra and Ricardo Vaz Te.
Tickets tend to be more readily available at West Ham than at their more illustrious neighbours in North or West London, and the atmosphere is often more vibrant, especially when judged against Arsenal's often placid Emirates Stadium. Enjoy it while it lasts, however, as West Ham are due to move across to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford from the 2016/2017 season, turning their back on the place they have called home since 1904.
Stadium Tours: Adults £15, Children £7.50
How to get there: District Line to Upton Park (Zone 4) then a 5-minute walk to the ground (Warning: there is a station called "West Ham" but don't get off there - the ground is actually a few stops further east!)
Accommodation Nearby: Apartments in City & Tower Bridge offer direct tube access via the district line in under 30 minutes, whilst Apartments in Canary Wharf and Stratford are closer but involve changing tube lines during your journey.
6. Crystal Palace: Selhurst Park
This season's Premier League new boys, Crystal Palace's main objective will be to achieve the "promised land" of 40 points, generally considered the safety point in the battle against relegation. Selhurst Park is an old-fashioned ground where each stand has its own special character. Best views are from the upper tier of the Holmesdale Road end, behind the goal, where the facilities are the most modern and no posts or poles obstruct your view.
Crystal Palace gained entry to English football's elite with a playoff final win at Wembley Stadium against Watford in May. Their squad is a mix of experienced campaigners such as club captain Paddy McCarthy, veteran forward Kevin Phillips, and Welshman Danny Gabbidon alongside enthusiastic younger players in the vein of Dwight Gayle and Joel Ward. Manager Ian Holloway will use his inimitable style to galvanise and motivate his squad, many of whom are inexperienced at the top level. Favourites for relegation, the "Eagles" will be looking to make their south London home into a fortress.
Stadium Tours: Not available
How to get there: Overground trains (no tubes) to either Selhurst or Norwood Junction, both 10-minute walk to the ground. Trains leave from Victoria and London Bridge. Check www.nationalrail.co.uk
Accommodation Nearby: Victoria Serviced Apartments are an ideal base for any stay to London, and the train station (where direct rail journeys leave from) is within just a five to ten minute walk away. London Bridge Apartments are also a fantastic base and from this station its a shorter journey to the stadium than from Victoria.
7. Fulham: Craven Cottage
Arguably the friendliest ground in all of London and set picturesquely alongside the Thames in west London, Craven Cottage is a terrific day out. Take the tube to Putney Bridge and enjoy a walk through a leafy park, stop at the Temperance pub for a pre-match tipple or get to the ground early and have your photo taken next to the rather tacky Michael Jackson statue behind the Putney End.
Fulham are now an established top-flight side, who are now embarking on their 13th successive Premier League season under Dutchman Martin Jol. Another side who will be looking over their shoulder at the drop zone before they eye a European place, Fulham will look to their senior, experienced players such as Dimitar Berbatov, Brede Hangeland and Damien Duff to inspire the squad and believe they can finish in the top half.
The ground is characterful and steeped in history, having been operational since the 1890s. The main stand, named after legendary forward Johnny Haynes, is a listed building and dates back to 1905. Behind one goal is the Hammersmith End, where Fulham's most vocal supporters are to be found. Behind the opposite goal is the Putney End, which is highly unusual in that it is neutral unsegregated seating, where both home and away fans intermingle, the only stand in the UK with this special dispensation from the Football Association.
Stadium Tours: Not available
How to get there: District Line to Putney Bridge - 10-minute walk to ground through Bishops Park
Accommodation Nearby: Fulham Road Apartments and Hammersmith Studios are within walking distance, but any apartments in West London or South West London are close by.
1. First port of call is to check the club website and see if there are any tickets available through this channel.
2. Keep an eye on the fixture list for additional games in Cup competitions, where it may be easier to get a ticket.
PLEASE NOTE: the fixtures given below are subject to change - always check the club official website to confirm exact date and time.
3. Search legitimate resale ticket websites such as www.seatwave.com or www.viagogo.co.uk if you cannot get a ticket through the club.
4. Make sure you sit with the fans of the team you are supporting! Grounds usually give around 10% of seats to away fans, so you will need to be in these areas if you are supporting the visitors.
5. Get to the ground early, to beat the crowds and spend some time browsing the club megastore or taking in a pre-match drink or pie.
6. Buy a programme from the sellers in the streets around the ground as the atmosphere builds.
7. Learn the chants! Visit http://www.fanchants.co.uk/ (contains strong language!)
8. After the match, don't rush to leave as you will doubtless be in a crowd of fans heading to the station. Take your time and maybe stop again at the Megastore for one last purchase before heading back to your apartment after the post-match rush.
* A Word of Warning: Although 99% of fans support their club in a positive way and are pleasant and honest folk, there is an idiotic minority who do occasionally cause trouble at football matches. Take care to stay out of the way of any troublemakers and ensure that you are supporting the correct team! Grounds are strictly segregated and people shouting for the opposition will cause unwanted attention and may result in ejection from the ground (primarily for your own safety!). If you are having a pre-match drink, some pubs close to grounds have a ban on either home or away fans from entering on matchday, so make sure to check this before you go in. Take extra special care if you are attending a "Derby" match such as Tottenham v Arsenal, West Ham v Tottenham or Chelsea v Arsenal - don't be surprised to see a high police presence at these games and keep a low profile outside the ground if you are supporting the away team. *
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