Andrew has been following football and other sports for decades. His articles have appeared on blogs and in print.
Wembley Stadium Basics
Wembley Stadium is a superb modern sporting arena and is the home to the England football team. Pop and rock concerts are also held here, and it is slowly but surely building a reputation for great acoustics and an even better atmosphere. Built on the site of the original 1923 Wembley stadium, whose iconic white twin domed towers graced many international sporting events, this latest incarnation has a magnificent steel arch as its trademark.
Approaching this north London cathedral of sport is bound to get the juices flowing! I can personally vouch for the atmosphere created inside this beautifully shaped stadium when it's full of 90,00 people. I want to convey a little of that to you in this article. If you ever get the chance to visit, go with your arms, eyes and heart wide open. You won't be disappointed.
There are many ways to get to Wembley Stadium. This article will point out the easiest and best means of transport and give you insights into this stadium's unique appeal.
How to Get to Wembley
There are many ways to get to the stadium. You can use a bus, rail or tube (the name of London's underground system). It is possible to go by car but be prepared to pay for parking. Current prices are between £25–30 a day for the stadium car park. If there are four people in the car, that works out as a bargain for a major city but, be warned, leaving the stadium after a big event can take up to 90 minutes!
If you really want to use a car, the most economical way is to park up in either the Rayners Lane, Ickenham, Ruislip, Hillingdon or Uxbridge car parks, or in one of these local streets for free. Then you'll just need to pay for the Tube to Wembley Park. This can work out cheaper but again, be prepared for a journey of roughly one hour back from the stadium to your car. And make sure you know where your car is parked! Make a note of the street name and other landmarks.
Some people like to make a weekend of it and park up in Watford, in the north of London. It has a lively night scene, so it may attract a younger crowd. You'll have to travel by train into Wembley and back again, of course, but it does lessen the stress of driving through north London suburbia.
Wembley Park is served by both the Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines. If you enter London at London Kings Cross station, or Liverpool Street, take the Metropolitan line. See the full map of the Tube for further details.
Reaching Wembley from London Airports
There are many different ways to get to Wembley stadium from the airports close to London. Heathrow and Gatwick are the two main airports for London. Both have good rail and Tube connections.
Train, bus and coach services are available.
Wembley Stadium and the Bus
London has one of the world's most extensive bus route systems, so you shouldn't have to look far or wait long for a bus to get you where you need to be! All of the major railway stations are served by buses.
If you are taking the transit system regularly to Wembley (or throughout London in general), consider getting yourself an Oyster card. These make entering and exiting the transit systems easier and saves you money on transit in the long run.
Buses to Wembley Stadium
|London Bus Number||Starts|
from Golder Green
from Harrow Weald
from Kilburn Park station
from Brent Park Mitchell Way
Wembley Stadium and the London Taxi
London's famous black taxi cabs will get you to Wembley but be prepared to pay a good few pounds—especially if you're travelling any distance. Make sure you find an official cab with a meter on display, so you know exactly how much you need to pay. If you get a decent, friendly driver—and most of them are very friendly—listen out for the London accent!!
If you're really lucky, you may get a genuine Cockney driving you to Wembley Stadium. What is a Cockney? It's someone who is born within the sound of Bow Church Bells in the east end of London. They even have their own language!
Further Advice and Tips
- Give yourself at least 90 minutes pre-event/warm-up time. There's plenty to do once you're at Wembley, and it's always better to arrive early. Check out the local shops, stalls and entertainment.
- Food is expensive close to the stadium. Burger bars and snackeries will charge higher prices the closer you get! There are cheaper places to eat and drink close to the tube station at Wembley Park.
- The crowds. Be aware that, an hour or so before the start of your event, the crowds will be thick and in high spirits. If you have young ones or old ones with you, get to the stadium earlier!
- Check out the Tube and bus routes before you get to London, so you know the prices and the routes. Information can be found here.
Seating and Atmosphere
Seating at Wembley Stadium is generally excellent. You get a decent amount of space in which to sit, and there's ample leg room for the average punter. They pack you in, yes, but this only adds to the atmosphere and, overall, tends to encourage togetherness and also increases the volume of the crows! Designers, for once, have been generous and creative, and although you know the fundamentals are only concrete, steel and plastic, the place oozes quality.
When I attended an F.A. Cup Final and a Carling Cup final, the atmosphere generated at both matches was intense and spine-tingling, despite the size of the stadium. The curvy oval shape and the rising stands help keep the sound echoing around the stadium. I was truly surprised and delighted. Of course, it always helps when your team wins!!
Pop and Rock Concerts
Wembley Stadium has been the host of numerous rock concerts since it opened in 2007. George Michael performed the first concert held at the stadium. Since then, Metallica, Madonna, Oasis, AC/DC, The Foo Fighters and U2 are just a few of the big names to get the red seats rocking.
In July of 2015, British singer Ed Sheeran played three sold-out shows and released the television special Ed Sheeran – Live at Wembley Stadium. In 2019, the Spice Girls reunited for Spice World – 2019 Tour and performed three sold-out shows at the venue. Their performances became the highest-grossing event the stadium held that year. Over 220 thousand fans attended, generating over 27 million dollars in just three nights.
The F.A. Cup Final Traditional Song
History of Wembley Stadium—The White Horse Final
The original stadium was built in 1923 and opened just in time for the 1923 FA Cup final, which has become part of footballing folklore. Over 100,000 people came to the match, but many spilled out onto the pitch and had to be forcibly moved back to the white line markings by police and officials.
One policeman and his horse Billie (in the photograph above) became famous for nearly single-handedly maintaining peace and order amongst very excitable supporters! Back then, all of the fans were male, and 99% of them wore woollen flat caps (see photograph).
© 2013 Andrew Spacey