Wembley stadium, the home of the English football.
While the most recent reincarnation is only 10 years old, there has been a stadium on that particular patch of ground since 1923.
The original stadium was built as the centre piece of the British Empire Exhibition before becoming eventually becoming the English national football stadium.
The famous twin towers which stood at the entrance and looked out over wembley way have iconic status around the world. It was therefore only only fitting that the new stadium have some kind of iconic symbol attached to its architecture.
And so the Wembley arch was born.
Only recently I found out that the arch has an actual structural job in that it helps hold the roof in place without the need for pillars. Kind of cool right?
The stadium doesn’t just host football games though. The stadium (both old and new) have played host to rugby league, speedway, hockey, music concerts and more recently even the NFL. You can find out more about the history of the stadium here.
It’s the call of the glamorous sporting circus that is the NFL that has us making that 200 mile (320Km) journey from Manchester to Wembley a few times a year.
There are several options to making this trip and by far my favourite involves staying the night in a nice cosy hotel bed.
Alas, that isn’t always a viable option.
You know, because work and/or money.
Fear not a day trip is still possible – at least if you don’t mind being a little tired the following day.
I have 2 preferred options for a day trip to Wembley Stadium (you could also use it for the arena which is next door) and no the bus is not one of them. Here’s how they match up against each other and hopefully you will be able to make your next trip even better!
Getting to Wembley Stadium
Ok so this is kind of a draw.
Yes the train is only approximately 2 hours 15 mins (unless you get a super slow one that takes 3 hours!). However, when you factor in getting to the train station and then getting the tube across London from Euston there isn’t much difference in when you need to leave.
In both cases you’re going to be using the tube. Only an idiot (or a really rich person) drives through london.
Taking the car?
Park at Stanmore tube stop.
It’s at the end of the Jubilee line and will take you straight to Wembley without the need to change. You will need to change tubes if you get on at Euston station (after getting off the train). Unless you walk across to Euston square then you’re good for a direct ride to an awesome time!
The car wins this round hands down.
You have so much more flexibility by taking the car.
Yes the start time won’t be changing anytime soon but the finish time?
Well you know how sports events go don’t you?
You never quite know what time they are going to end and how long it’s going to take you to get out. I mean you might get lucky and it might not be a close game.
Then the trickle of fans leaving starts early and it’s a quicker getaway for everyone. You could be unlucky and it could go to extra time (maybe even penalties in “soccer”) and everyone stays till the end. You ain’t going anywhere quickly in this scenario.
If you punt for the train option then you have to take this into consideration when booking that return journey.
Yes, if you have the cash you could go for an open return ticket and jump on whichever train you like. That cash, however, could be better spent elsewhere – on beverage or 2 perhaps?
Plus you’re probably not guaranteed a seat on that option so you might be forced to stand. Alternatively you could just sit on the floor – I mean if it’s good enough for the leader of the labour party right?
So you’re going to book a specific timed train and hopefully you will be able to grab some food (there is a lovely little pub just down the road called the Crown and Anchor which does some proper tasty pub grub) beforehand
And hopefully it will be on time,
And hopefully it won’t be cancelled.
When you choose the car option it doesn’t matter when the game ends.
Your car will be waiting for you and off you go. You can even choose when you want to stop for a comfort break (because well, tiredness can kill guys) choosing your favourite of the many motorway service stations with your preferred fast food and coffee chains.
Leaving Wembley Stadium
The car is the sneaky winner here.
For both journeys you have to play the tube game.
By this I mean you have to use your very best tactical abilities to time your exit of the stadium so that you don’t miss any last minute awesome play but don’t leave it too late that you get stuck on wembley way. The ultimate goal is to make it onto at least the tube platform without being stopped.
If you don’t make it no worries!
The lovely guys from transport for london do an awesome crowd control job and help keep you all in good spirits. Plus we are British and love a good queue right? Hmmm.
Not sure where you’re going?
Down to the end!
There are plenty of staff around to help you through the barriers and to the right platform just listen out for their instructions and be prepared to join in.
On our last trip where we took the train one of the TFL staff was making sure everyone heading back toward Euston, Kings Cross, St. Pancras and that general direction got to the right platform.
It was platform 6 at the end. Cue him using a megaphone to shout a destination and the crowd shouting back down to the end. Needless to say everyone soon knew where to go.
To get yourself back to Stanmore where you parked you car (you were listening right?) you can take a left much earlier. Then, jump on a near empty tube and 4 stops later you’re back to your car.
I can almost guarantee you will get a seat and it will most definitely be a quicker journey.
The Alcohol Factor
As I don’t partake in the driving (or really drink) this doesn’t really affect me but I’m going to say that the train probably wins this.
If you don’t mind paying £5 a pint at the stadium then pick the train.
If you’re going to drive then you can only have one and for some this may be an issue, so pick the train.
That way you can have a drink on the train down, some at the game and even one on the way back if you really want.
Obviously if you’re driving you can’t do this as you would be breaking the law and could cause some serious harm.
So the train wins this round.
I’m going to have to go for the car again guys.
Full disclosure we we in a Toyota avensis and I am fully aware that a different car may have different results but this is not Top Gear so I shall leave that there.
We also had a table seat (which arguably is more comfortable) on the train. Personally I find the car more comfortable.
I had more personally space, it was easier to nap without getting a sore neck, and there were more ‘positions’ to sit in meaning I didn’t get uncomfortable as quick.
Delayed Onset Tiredness
OK so maybe I made that up a little bit but all that travelling in 1 day is going to leave you a tad bit tired the day after (or even the day after that).
Don’t have the luxury of taking the following day off? Then knowing how tired you’re going to be could be a huge factor in your transport decisions.
At least it would be for me because, well, I’m not the nicest person to be around when I over-tired – just let me sleep dammit!
I’m going to give you fair warning that this is probably very personal and you may find the opposite to be true.
However, the whole of my family (all 4 of us) felt that the train made us much more tired than the car. That’s with factoring in the driving tiredness factor (my dad na brother shared the driving btw)
It may be a combination of the being able to stop when you want and getting back slightly earlier but the car won this round unanimously.
So there you have it.
Personally, I’d choose the car every time (and get someone else to drive if possible).
Well, actually no.
Personally, I’d choose to stay in a hotel every time. I’m not made of money though and no one is willing to give me a free stay so the car is my next best option.
What do you think?
Have you done this or a similar day trip to wembley?
Is there an even better option that I don’t know about?
Let me know I would love to hear about it!
Until next time