By Mark Danylczuk
The Stadium itself
For those who have not been to Wembley, it really is a remarkable and overawing structure, particularly ‘The Arch’, towering some 133 metres above it. It can be seen for many miles across London and looks particularly spectacular at night when it is lit up. The old Wembley closed its doors in 2000 and, after numerous delays, the new Wembley was completed in 2007, over-budget at a cost of almost £800 million. The stadium’s 90,000 capacity makes it the second largest stadium in Europe (after Barcelona’s Nou Camp).
The stadium is completely enclosed and comprises three tiers, with both semi-circular sides of the stadium being slightly larger than the ends and on a larger scale, are reminiscent of similar designs at the Emirates and Etihad stadiums.
You can’t say the money has not been spent when you see amongst other things, escalators transporting fans to the upper tier. There is literally not a bad seat in the house, with even the seats on the upper tier (Level 5) providing fantastic views (you must have a head for heights, mind). The back of the lower tier and front of the upper tier are the best spots to sit.
Prices have always been historically expensive at Wembley and the new stadium certainly follows in the tradition here. If you are short on time you will not be short of options, as in and around the ground, particularly on Wembley Way, there are stalls selling pies, pizza, hot dogs, nachos and fish and chips amongst other snacks.
It is, however, worth venturing around the ground; near Wembley Park Station, there is a McDonalds as well as numerous chicken and pizza places on Wembley Park Drive, and near Wembley Central station, there are more fast food outlets situated on High Road on the walk up to the ground. Both areas are within a mile of the ground and for the difference in price compared to what you’ll find inside, it is worth the effort.
There’s also a selection of pubs fairly near to the stadium, with the Greyhound and a selection of others on Harrow Road, south of Wembley Stadium Station and Wetherspoon’s JJ Moon’s on High Road, between Wembley Central Station, being the most popular. The closest option however, would be the bar at the Premier Inn to the east of Wembley Park station as you exit, although come early as this, as with all the other pubs, are expected to be very busy.
Many fans also choose to grab in drink in the centre of town before heading up to the ground. Leicester Square is often a good central meeting hub, with The Moon under the Water Wetherspoons proving a cost friendly option, with the usual excellent Wetherspoons range of real ales. For fans coming in on the train from Kings Cross, there are a number of pubs up Euston Road on exiting the station, notably the Euston Flyer, O’Neills, The Rocket and the excellent Euston Tap.
How to get there
The stadium is well signposted from the end of the M1 and M40 and is just off the A406 North Circular Road.
From the M1:
At the roundabout at the end of the M1, turn right onto the A406 (North Circular/West Wembley). Continue along the A406 for a couple of miles and then after crossing a metal suspended bridge, you will pass a McDonalds on your left. At the traffic lights with an Ikea Store on one corner bear left onto Drury Way. Keeping the Ikea store on your right, go straight across the next two roundabouts. You will pass a Tesco petrol station on your right and then at the traffic lights turn left into Grand Central Avenue (B4557). The stadium is at the end of this road.
Due to the horrendous match-day traffic in the area, it is definitely worth considering an option many fans take which is to park at one of the underground stations on the outskirts of North London and get the tube down to the ground. There are a few private car parks in the neighbouring streets but you will need to be prepared to pay around £10 or so per vehicle.
The nearest station is Wembley Park which is around a 10-minute walk from the stadium. The station is served by both the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines, with most opting to take the latter as it has fewer stops. Wembley Central station (Bakerloo line/rail connections) is another option but is slightly further away from the stadium.
If coming from Kings Cross, the expected journey time is around 20 minutes or so and from central London, around 30 minutes. Services will be extremely busy from popular stations (Kings Cross, Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, Baker Street), so allow yourself plenty of time in getting to the ground.
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