Did you know 750,000 people come to the UK every year to watch a football match!?
To celebrate the start of the UK football season, we’ve taken a tour round Britain’s best football experiences and attractions. Here’s our match-winning top 10.
Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London
If you want to re-live the triumphs and tragedies of English international soccer, visit Wembley Stadium, one of the world’s most celebrated sports stadiums. Book a tour to see the England changing room, raise a replica FA Cup, feel the tension in the players’ tunnel and experience the dressing rooms where legends prepare to do battle on football’s most famous field.
Stadium tours, UK-wide
Manchester United, Liverpool, Celtic, Chelsea, Newcastle United: take your pick from their fascinating stadium tours and museums. Sit in the dug-out at Old Trafford, tour the players’ dressing room at Liverpool FC or discover Celtic’s fascinating history.
Watch a live game, UK-wide
Of course, the most thrilling way to experience football in the UK is to actually see a game. Premier League and Scottish Premier League tickets are always in high demand; they sell out quickly so it’s best to book early to guarantee a seat. To avoid disappointment, check availability and buy tickets online now.
National Football Museum, Manchester
Opening in 2012, Manchester’s brand new National Football Museumis set to be a must-see attraction for fans of the ‘beautiful game’. Housed in the striking Urbis building in the city centre it will house an interactive soccer experience along with fascinating memorabilia including the 1966 World Cup Final ball and Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ shirt.
Scottish Football Museum, Glasgow
Set in the spectacular surrounds of Scotland’s national stadium, Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland’s soccer shrine is packed full of rare items relating to football north of the border. See the world’s oldest match ticket from the first official international match, played in Glasgow in 1872, and hundreds of other items from the permanent collection plus regularly changing special exhibits.
Café Sports, Liverpool
Café Sports is owned by veteran Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher, who’s often seen here alongside his teammates to celebrate match wins. European footballers also like to eat here after European Cup games, so you could end up sat next to a whole host of European talent and their glamorous wives and girlfriends who tag along.
Olympic Football, UK-wide
The London 2012 Olympic Football competition is spread across six major grounds across the UK and tickets are yet to sell out. To watch the world’s best football players fight it out at international level next year in London, Coventry, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow or Newcastle, check the London 2012 website for the second round of ticket sales this winter.
Play a match at a Premier League Club, UK-wide
Live out your fantasy and play a match on the hallowed turf at your favourite team’s ground. Stadium Dream organise packages, which include a proper 11-aside match, at clubs around the UK including Arsenal, West Ham and Newcastle United. These special events happen each summer during the off season. There are only a few dates per year so book early to get a spot. If you’re a true obsessive, try the premium package that includes a personalised kit and a meet and greet with a football legend.
Alternative football events, UK-wide
If you’re looking for something a little less serious, try the Football in the River event, held each August bank holiday in Bourton-on-the-Water, in which locals play football knee-deep in the River Windrush. And if you like your football slightly less damp but very muddy, there’s always the Swamp Soccer World Championship which is held in a different UK location every summer.