It doesn’t matter if you call it football or soccer, there is no disputing the fact that England is the home of the beloved round ball sport. And whether you’re a football fan, or you’re visiting the country for a different reason, it would frankly be rude to travel the whole way to Britain without at least dipping your toe in the country’s football culture.
In addition to the games themselves, there are a whole heap of different football experiences to immerse yourself in, regardless of where in the country you choose to visit. I mean it when I say there is truly something for everyone.
Go To An English Premier League Game
We’re going to kick it off with the obvious one. If you’re flying the whole way to England, you need to attend at least one EPL game.
Granted, it’s a fair bit harder to secure tickets to an EPL game than it is to go down to your local A-League game here in Australia, but it is an experience that is unparalleled.
There is a reason the EPL is considered one of the greatest sporting leagues in the world, and the atmosphere at a live game is something you can’t replicate anywhere else.
Even if you’re not a diehard fan, it’s worth experiencing it at least once in your life.
Do A Stadium Tour
Perhaps the easiest way to immerse yourself in the culture of a club is to tour their home stadium. I mean, who doesn’t want to walk in the footsteps of their favourite players, right?
From taking your photo in the change rooms to standing pitch side and basking in the glory of your team’s home ground, a stadium tour is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the club culture. You’ll be guided by an expert and walked and talked through the history of the club, often seeing memorabilia that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Each stadium tour is a little different and some even have VIP options available for the most diehard fans, but even if you’re catching your team at an away game, the tour itself is a pretty cool experience.
Alternatively, if you’ve got no horse in the EPL race, you can book a tour of Wembley Stadium to immerse yourself in the national team’s history at one of the most iconic venues on the planet.
Try Your Hand (Or Foot) At Toca Social At O2 Arena
Whether you’re looking for some family fun, or a unique night out with friends, look no further than Toca Social.
The TL;DR is that it’s the football equivalent of a Holey Moley. Think: fun cocktails, good food and an interactive soccer game that caters to everyone from the most amateur to a full-blown professional. I mean it when I say you don’t need to have any prior skill or knowledge to be able to enjoy this experience. It’s basically the football version of that basketball game you see at every arcade.
It’s all a bit of fun, especially after a few drinks, and makes for the perfect date night or mid-trip activity when you just want to relax and have some fun.
Check Out The National Football Museum
If you’re heading up north for a game, it’s worth stopping off at the National Football Museum in Manchester to take a walk down memory lane alongside some of the most priceless bits of football memorabilia on the planet.
It’s a relatively small museum, so it’s something you can add to your itinerary on an otherwise busy day — I went after doing the Old Trafford stadium tour and had plenty of time left to kill in the afternoon.
Open seven days and located in the heart of Manchester city centre, it’s a no-brainer to add this one to the list.
Visit The Art Of The Terraces Exhibition In Liverpool
Another great experience to add to your itinerary in the northern part of the country is the Art of the Terraces exhibition at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
The exhibition combines fashion, football and art to tell the story of the football “casuals” that defined the sports culture of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
The gallery itself is located directly across the road from Liverpool Lime St Station, so it’s very accessible, even if you’re only in town for the day.
The Art of the Terraces exhibition runs from now until March 12, 2023. For more information, visit Liverpool Museums.
Go To The Pub Where Football Was Born
I mean, what is football culture without pub culture, right? Depending on your team, there are countless pubs and bars with historic significance that you can visit.
However, the one pub you must visit is the birthplace of the game itself: the Freemason’s Arms in Covent Garden.
Previously known as the Freemason’s Tavern, the pub still stands at the same place it did when the game was first created.
This isn’t a tourist hotspot in the sense of it being a museum or anything, but it is the birthplace of the game and is filled with memorabilia to enjoy. Not to mention, they still play all of the top matches, so it’s a great place to grab a beer and watch the game that was birthed in that very venue.
For more information on how to amplify your football experience in the birthplace of the game, check out Visit Britain.