Football, or soccer for our friends over in the USA and Canada, has developed over the centuries from many influences over the world. However, the sport as we know it today evolved in Britain, which is why we're proudly known as 'the home of football'. From stadium tours that let you walk in the footsteps of some of the sporting greats, to exciting championships and enjoying the electric atmosphere of a live game, there really is no better place to be if you're a footie fanatic or soccer supporter. We've rounded up just some of the football experiences you can have here in Britain.
Pay a visit to Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London
If you want to relive 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.
Walk in the footsteps of the greats on a stadium tour, Britain-wide
Manchester United, Liverpool, Celtic, Chelsea, Newcastle United: take your pick from their fascinating stadium tours and museums. Feel the atmosphere as you walk down the player's tunnel at Arsenal Stadium, tour the players’ dressing room at Chelsea FC or discover Manchester United's fascinating history.
Soak up the atmosphere of a live game, Britain-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.
You can also now buy football match tickets for clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea on the VisitBritain Shop.
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.
Brush up on your footballing knowledge at the National Football Museum, Manchester
Manchester’s National Football Museum is a must-see attraction for fans of the ‘beautiful game’. Housed in the striking Urbis building in the city centre it houses an interactive football/soccer experience, along with fascinating memorabilia including the 1966 World Cup Final ball and Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ shirt.
Battle it out on the pitch of a Premier League Club, Britain-wide
Live out your fantasy and play a match on the hallowed turf of your favourite team’s ground. Play on the Pitch organises packages, which include a proper 11-a-side match on the very ground where your favourite footballing heroes have played. Get ready in the home and away changing rooms, have a pre-game pep talk and line up in the player's tunnel before taking on your opponents on the pitch, all of which is hosted at clubs around the UK including Everton, Millwall, and Chelsea. 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.
Throw in the towel and play football in the river, Cotswolds, England
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. The usually quiet banks of the river become awash with spectators keen to watch the action involved as players brave the chilly water. If you're keen to come along and watch, don't stand at the front if you want to stay dry!
Stay at a dedicated football hotel, Manchester
What's better than watching a live football game? Watching a live game then heading to a dedicated football hotel afterwards of course. Hotel Football, in Manchester, is located opposite Old Trafford Stadium and has bedrooms that come with a 40-inch smart TV (including all Sky Sports and BT Sports channels) and a complimentary snack bar filled with retro treats as standard. Guests can dine at Cafe Football enjoy views of Old Trafford from the hotel and purchase tickets to the National Football Museum.