What Other London Stadiums Should I Visit?

Almost every time I visit London during football season, I go to other matches outside of just Arsenal. This almost always means visiting clubs from lower tier leagues, and I could not recommend this more. Some of the best atmospheres, bar scenes, and grounds are in the Championship, League One, and League Two, and frankly outside of Arsenal I prefer EFL football to the Premier League.

First, a quick primer on the English football pyramid: At the top of the pyramid is the Premier League. Below that, you have the English Football League (EFL), which consists of the Championship, then League One, then League Two. Below that you have non-League, which consists of the National League, then the National League North and National League South in parallel, and then the pyramid widens after that.

This post concerns EFL grounds in London in detail, of which there are many. I don’t cover other Premier League grounds (although I’d by all means recommend going as an away supporter when Arsenal plays them) or non-League, since there are simply too many non-League teams and grounds to cover. If you do want to go to a non-League match, I’d recommend Boreham Wood, which is a National League club that has a close relationship with Arsenal, and also share a ground with the Arsenal Women.

London has a wealth of EFL clubs, which change due to promotion and relegation but currently (as of spring 2020) consist of: Fulham, Millwall, QPR, Charlton, Brentford, Wimbledon, and Leyton Orient. There are numerous other clubs that are just a short train ride from London as well in those three leagues, but they make a good starting point for exploring other grounds directly in London.

Although they are moving soon, AFC Wimbledon currently plays at the Kingsmeadow Stadium, which is a tiny ground of around 4,000 supporters. This is a truly awesome experience to visit, you’ll be packed into stands (which, true to the name, are standing room only). Now that Charlton was promoted from League One, Wimbledon is the only League One side in London. Make sure to get to the ground early and visit the clubhouse, which has a bar that will be filled with old timers who helped this phoenix club rise from the ashes through non-league after their previous club was ripped away by ownership to become the MK Dons.

Queens Park Rangers, who have frequently been a Premier League side and a frequent annoyance to Arsenal, are currently mired in the mid-table of the Championship. While I’m hesitant to recommend visiting a ground of a club who was at one point a direct rival to Arsenal, I have to recommend Loftus Road Stadium. It’s an old school English stadium in the best possible way, and its corrugated metal walls reflect noise into the ground. The best match to attend here is a West London Derby versus Brentford. I’ve been to two of them, one of which was in a driving rain, and the atmosphere was absolutely electric at both of them.

Leyton Orient
The most recently promoted out of non-league club in London, Leyton Orient is the closest to Arsenal’s part of north London of the East London clubs. Similar to Wimbledon in League One, Orient are currently the only League Two side in London, so they represent an opportunity to see clubs you might not otherwise be able to see at the many Championship grounds in London. As with many smaller stadiums, I’d recommend getting their early and having a pie and a pint in the concourse with the other supporters.

Another club that has sometimes been in the top flight and a rival of Arsenal, I’d still recommend visiting Charlton for several reasons. The Valley is a beautiful ground, especially if you’re lucky enough to visit on a sunny day like I was. Second, Charlton is fairly close to the original home of Arsenal in Woolwich, and it makes a great day to go to a match at Charlton and either before or after the match to visit all of the historic Arsenal sites in the area.

The supporters of Millwall are legendary for being some of the most violent, obnoxious hooligans in English football. While the new version of their ground, The Den, is not as imposing as the old one, it is still a cool experience to visit and hear the entire stadium belt out their anthem “No One Likes Us, and We Don’t Care” at the opposition. Millwall is extremely easy to get to in central London, and is actually in close proximity to popular places like Borough Market (which is probably what has somewhat tamed the Den from what it used to be).

Craven Cottage is another really cool, old school London stadium. It’s situated on the bank of the Thames, which makes for a beautiful setting (and also a cold wind that can whip in off the river in the winter). The Cottage is a fun ground to visit when Fulham is in the Championship, and a bucket list away ticket to try and get your hands on when they are in the Premier League and play Arsenal.

As the above article makes clear, I’d highly recommend immersing yourself in all levels of English football if you have the chance. Start with some of the above grounds, and then branch out from there! England is remarkable easy to traverse via train, and every time I visit now I make sure to visit at lease one new ground. On my last trip, I took a train to Nottingham and went to Forest v Millwall at the City Ground, which was an awesome experience. I look forward to gradually seeing more and more of the stadiums and supporters throughout England that make English football the best sport on Earth.

What Should I Expect On Match Day?

When the day of the match you’re attending arrives, there are a number of things to look forward to before, during, and after the match. Many of these have been covered in other articles on this site, but this article is designed to take you through the experience chronologically. On match day, North London truly comes alive and there will be huge crowds on the streets and at the pubs, along with a vibrance and energy that is totally different from a typical day in North London.

When getting to the match, especially if you are riding the tube, you may encounter away supporters or supporters of other clubs in London. The EPL takes measures to make sure that the big London Clubs never play home matches on the same day at the same time, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter away supporters, especially if you’re lucky enough to be going to a London Derby. As covered in another article, these supporters will generally not give you any trouble, but you should refrain from wearing any Arsenal colors (scarves, kits, etc) on the tube regardless.

Once you get to your pub of choice to have some pre-match pints, you’ll need to be prepared to show that you are a home fan by showing your Red Membership card or your ticket. If your ticket was purchased through your membership card, you won’t have a physical ticket to show so you’ll need to show your membership card. In the pubs on match day, they prefer that you pay in cash, especially if you have a non-touchless American card. Most of the bars have ATM’s inside or nearby (the nearest one to Twelve Pins is inside a Tesco Express), and the Tollington will allow you to purchase one drink with a card and will give you cash back, but it’s generally easier to come with cash.

If you want to have a good opportunity for pictures at the stadium well before you go in, along with seeing all of the street vendors and other sites around the stadium, I’d recommend that you start at the Tollington and then walk to Twelve Pins (or the reverse), since there is a walking route between the two that will take you by Emirates and along many of the streets near the stadium that will be filled with street vendors. When you’re at the stadium, make sure to get pictures with the Thierry Henry and Tony Adams statues, among the other monuments.

The various street vendors sell scarves, programs, kits, signed photos (some more legitimate than others), and of course food. Make sure you have cash when you walk through them, since the team and player scarves make great match day souvenirs.

Eventually, it will be time to head to the stadium. Arsenal advises you to head to the stadium an hour before kickoff. Depending on the opponent, this may be necessary, but the wait times will vary a lot. Plan on an hour if you’re going to an NLD, plan for less if you’re going to a mid-week Europa League match. There will be separate lines for supporters with bags (as well as separate search lines for women in general), but the quickest way to get into the stadium is to not have a bag. Going through the turnstiles, you simply scan your membership card, which is RFID chipped and will contain your ticket.

The stadium concourse has vendors selling standard stadium food and drinks. A pre-match beer before you go to your seat is always a good time if you get into the stadium early, but keep in mind two things: you cannot take alcoholic beverages to your seat (they must be drunk in the concourse) and it is not easy to get to the bathroom during matchplay. This means that if you get a beer right before kickoff, plan on chugging it in the concourse and plan on sitting for 45+ minutes in your seat before you can use the bathroom. The same rules apply for the second half if you get a halftime beer.

On your way out of the stadium (hopefully after an Arsenal win), you will likely see the AFTV crew filming, which appeals to some and not to others. If you like AFTV, they tend to be pretty welcoming if you want to watch the filming.

You also may see the players leaving the stadium, since they have a private exit and tend to drive fairly inconspicuous cards (especially Aubamayang).

After the match, various pubs stay open so the party can continue. My favorite post-match bar is the Gunners Pub, but I always make sure to first stop at the London Supporters’ Club. If you went to a mid-week match, meaning that it likely started at 8, keep in mind that virtually all of the pubs around the stadium close at midnight, so you will only have two hours to drink. If you’re looking for a late night spot after that, head elsewhere in London, or head to The Bank of Friendship in North London which typically stays open an extra hour.

Make sure to plan how to get back to your hotel safely, either via tube, taxi, or Uber, and make sure to keep your phone charged so that you can navigate or request a ride. Enjoy celebrating the Arsenal win!

What Arsenal-Related Places Should I Visit in London?

In addition to going to Emirates Stadium and the nearby pubs on match day, there are a number of other Arsenal landmarks worth visiting in London. Some of these are in North London, and some of them are in southeast London where the club was originally founded before relocating north. The most notable landmark is what used to be the Arsenal Stadium at Highbury, the predecessor of Emirates.

It has been converted into apartments after the relocation in 2006, but still retains its original art deco facade, along with other recognizable features.

Highbury was the site of all of Arsenal’s greatest moments, and given its proximity to Emirates, it’s a no-brainer to visit either on match day or on another day. You can take pictures at the art deco facade, and you can enter the marble hall and see the bust of Herbert Chapman.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to gain entrance to the central courtyard of the apartments which is the area where the old field used to be.

After Highbury, the other notable landmark in North London is the Arsenal Museum, which is run by the club and located right next to the stadium. It has a lot of wonderful artifacts from the history of the club, and only consists of two large rooms so you can see everything in under an hour.

A more involved but worthwhile trip through Arsenal history will take you to the Woolwich area in southeast London. Arsenal was originally founded as as Dial Square FC by Woolwich munitions workers in 1886, and the club played at a variety of grounds in the Woolwich area before moving to North London in 1913. Many important landmarks from the history of the club’s South London years are still there, and are easy to see in a walking tour. If the weather is good, it’s a beautiful 1-2 mile walk through parks, pubs, and streets in a non-touristy area of the city. Here are some highlights, in the order I’d recommend seeing them if you’re walking:

The Star
158 Plumstead Common Road
London, United Kingdom SE182

This is the current incarnation of a pub which served as Arsenal’s original dressing room when the club was first formed and played at a nearby Cricket ground.

Plumstead Common

It’s now a public park, but the Plumbstead Common Cricket and Football Pitch, where Arsenal once played their first match.

Prince of Wales Public House
111 Plumstead Common Road
SE18 3 London, United Kingdom

This former pub is now a hostel, so you can’t easily visit the interior, but you can see the exterior as well as the sign explaining its Arsenal history. Right next to the Plumstead Common, this is where the articles of incorporation for Arsenal were signed.

The Lord Raglan
158 Burrage Road
SE18 7LA London, United Kingdom

This pub was where the original first year records and minutes were destroyed by the club’s first center back Richard Price while engaged in drunken revelry.

Who’d A Thought It Pub
7 Timbercroft Lane
SE18 2SB London, United Kingdom

This pub was owned by 1910 Arsenal Chairman Jock Craib, a tall whisky drinking well known landlord during the Woolwich Arsenal FC period.

Plumstead Rugby Club
SE18 1 London, United Kingdom

The Plumstead Rugby Fields, formerly the Plumstead Common Football Pitch, were where Arsenal played several matches in 1887 after relocating from the Plumstead Common. This is more recognizable as a pitch, since it’s still used to this day for rugby.

There are other pieces of Arsenal history in this area, including remnants of some of the concrete/stone stands from Arsenal’s home immediately prior to moving to North London, but those are all on private property and require either trespassing, or knocking on individual homeowner’s doors, so I won’t publicize that information on this site.

How Do Away Matches Work?

I’ve touched on this in several other posts, but away matches, and the relationship between home and away supporters, are one of the things that makes English football the most different from American sports and can be one of the most confusing things for first time travelers.

To borrow from the Should I Be Concerned About Safety article:

In the US, there are occasionally fights at American football games, but usually home and away fans can mix in the stadium parking lots, bars, and in the stadium itself without issue. This is not the case in England, where away supporters have their own stadium entrances and are kept completely separate from the home supporters. This extends itself to bars around the stadiums on match day, where they usually require identification in the form of a ticket or your Red Membership card to prove that you are a home supporter.

This article concerns attending matches at other stadiums as an Away Arsenal supporter, which is different than the other articles that have described how to conduct yourself as a neutral or when encountering away supporters in and around the Emirates.

My #1 rule for attending away matches as an Arsenal supporter is to never, ever buy home tickets and attempt to go as a neutral. It’s not worth the safety risk, it’s not fun to sit in enemy territory and the home supporters cheer everything bad that happens to your team, and it’s absolutely not fun to not be able to cheer for Arsenal when good things happen.

That leads to the subject of acquiring away tickets. Away tickets for many matches are essentially impossible to buy at face value as a red member, or even through the ticket exchange. They are bought up by the devoted supporters who go to many away matches, and are rarely resold. Away tickets are made available based on the number of away points you accrue by going to away matches, and you have to consistently go to a large number of away matches every year to maintain your away points. This is impractical for most American supporters, who can’t attend enough away matches every year to accrue points. There are ways around this, however, which will be described later.

The desirability (and thus the difficulty of getting tickets) is as follows, in descending order:

  1. NLD at Sp*rs
  2. Other London Clubs (Chelsea, West Ham, Watford)
  3. Other Top Six Clubs (Man United, Liverpool, Man City)
  4. All Other Premier League Matches
  5. FA Cup
  6. League Cup
  7. Europa League

As an American supporter, the only matches that you’ll be able to buy away tickets at face value from the club are typically Europa League matches, especially the ones in Eastern Europe. It can be fun to go to away Europa League matches though, especially if they are in beautiful places like Portugal, Spain, or Italy, and I’d encourage you to do so!

For all other away matches, the best way to obtain tickets is to join England-based ticket exchange groups on Facebook, where you will find people willing to sell away tickets (always at face value). You will still have a lot of trouble finding away tickets to the top three categories of matches I listed above, but finding tickets to other Premier League matches and FA Cup / League Cup ties is very doable. Here are two groups that I recommend:


When you do attend your first away match, be aware that the rules (or lack thereof) for seating are a little bit different than at home matches. Supporters typically sit wherever they want on a first come first serve basis, and many stand for the entire match unless the stewards at the stadium in question force them to sit. Away supporters are also much more vocal than the typical home crowd, so be prepared to do your part and sing the entire match!

The last note to remember is that as an away fan, all of the safety considerations I noted in the safety article apply double. Be aware of your surroundings, stick with other Arsenal supporters, and make sure you have a plan to get home after the match and know where the away supporters bar is located. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a great time.

Should I Be Concerned About Safety?

Safety is something that many first time travelers to English football worry about. You hear stories and read about hooligans, and brawls at matches, and supporters being jumped on the tube, and things of that nature. From my experience, it is absolutely something to be concerned about, but is not a problem as long as you know how to conduct yourself and are aware of your surroundings.

As described in other articles on this site, the relationship between home and away supporters in England is very different than in America. In the US, there are occasionally fights at American football games, but usually home and away fans can mix in the stadium parking lots, bars, and in the stadium itself without issue. This is not the case in England, where away supporters have their own stadium entrances and are kept completely separate from the home supporters. This extends itself to bars around the stadiums on match day, where they usually require identification in the form of a ticket or your Red Membership card to prove that you are a home supporter.

Because of this, there are expectations for conduct that you must follow in places where you could encounter supporters of other teams. These include:

  • Do not wear your colors (kits, or anything else that identifies you as an Arsenal supporter) on the tube when heading to the match, ESPECIALLY if that match is against another London club.
  • If you are attending a match at another stadium as a neutral (which I would highly recommend doing on your trips to London, especially some of the lower tier clubs), do not wear anything that identifies you as an Arsenal supporter, mention your support of Arsenal, or generally make any reference to Arsenal.
  • When you are walking outside of the stadium, especially after the match, be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the away supporters. Depending on the opponent, especially if they are a team that is regarded as docile and not a rival, the stewards will allow the away supporters to leave the stadium unescorted and mill about the concourse outside the stadium. This is often true with Europa League opponents, and can lead to dangerous situations.

The reality is that 99%+ of football supporters in England are normal people who enjoy cheering for their team and against their opponents, and aren’t actually looking to engage in any violent behavior. But there are still a small minority of supporters who long for the more violent days of the 1970’s and 1980’s when violence was much more common. As long as you are careful to avoid these people and are aware of your surroundings, you will be fine.

One other thing to note is that among stadiums in the Premier League, the Emirates is (for better or worse) one of the safest, least rowdy grounds. Of the violent events I’ve personally witnessed as a supporter in England, none of them have happened at the Emirates.

Story Time
In my many trips to London, I’ve seen quite a few violent altercations, although almost all of them have been resolved without (to my knowledge) serious injury. Here are some of the more memorable ones:

  • I went to an FA Cup tie between Sp*rs and Millwall at Shite Hart Lane as a neutral (because I had to see the place where we won the League twice and they never won in person before they tore it down, and I never made it to an away NLD at the Lane), and the Millwall supporters lived up to their reputation as the most violent supporters in London. The Spuds were egging the Millwall fans on the entire match, singing the time honored chant “You’re Fucking Shit, You’re Fucking Shit, All of Your Supporters are Fucking Shit” nonstop. The first incident happened when three Millwall supporters had purchased tickets in the home sections, and were found out by several Spuds. A brawl ensued, and the three Millwall supporters went toe to toe with three police officers for several minutes. The fight ended when a fourth (larger female) cop showed up, and she absolutely annihilated the Millwall supporters. One was tossed over the railing and fell down some concrete steps, another was knocked out after being punched in the face, and the third was corralled and handcuffed.
  • After that match, the Millwall supporters managed to break through the police barriers that were escorting them to the tube station, and ransacked the main line of bars outside of the stadium. I had to legitimately dodge a rock that was thrown at my head, and take cover in a bar which put down hurricane style blast doors after the Millwall supporters shattered all of the glass.
  • On that same trip, I also went as a neutral to an FA Cup tie between Chelsea and Man United at Stamford Bridge. There, I witnessed two Chelsea supporters reading another fan’s phone over his shoulder, and they determined that he was actually a United supporter. One of them grabbed him by the neck and slammed his face into the seat while the other smashed his phone, and afterwards the two simply walked away before a steward could do anything about it.
  • I went to a Wimbledon match versus Bury (RIP), and in the bathrooms at halftime I made an absolute rookie mistake of mentioning that I was an Arsenal supporter when one of their fans asked why someone with an American accent was visiting their club. He responded, “oh FUCK Arsenal” and made some intimidating motions toward me before some other Wimbledon supporters stood up for me. I ended up befriending that second group of supporters, and ended up having a great night with them in South London watching the Kentucky Derby on TV.

On your trips to London, you’ll likely encounter similar things, but it’s all part of the experience and hopefully you will end up with some similarly entertaining stories like I recounted above!

Where Should I Stay in London?

This site is not meant to be a travel guide, so I won’t cover all of the different areas and boroughs within London. Instead, I’ll provide a short answer to a narrower version of that question in an attempt to address a topic that is the subject of many entire books.

The real question that most Arsenal supporters traveling to London for the first time want to know is whether or not it’s important to stay in North London near the Emirates in order to get the true Arsenal experience. While some might disagree with me, I don’t think it is at all. I usually stay in Kensington, near Hyde Park, when I go to London, which is a neighborhood that is nothing like the Highbury/Islington area. North London, especially the part of North London that is home to Arsenal, is a fairly blue collar area that is not home to a lot of museums, fine dining, shopping, and other things that you might expect when visiting London. Especially if you are visiting London for the first time, I’d recommend staying somewhere closer to the center of the city, so that you can visit and experience quintessential London in addition to getting your Arsenal fix.

If you do stay closer to the center of the city, it’s very easy to get to North London on match day. It’s usually no more than a 20-30 minute tube ride to either the Arsenal Station or the Finsbury Park Station (just make sure not to wear your kit or any other Arsenal colors on the tube, which is covered in more detail in the “Should I Be Concerned About Safety?” question). The opposite also applies obviously, in that if you stay in North London it’s a short tube ride to other areas of the city. If you are coming to the city for a week and only plan on spending a day or two of that in North London though, it makes the most sense to me to stay somewhere more centrally located.

Side Note: Other Football Clubs in London
When visiting London, I would absolutely recommend checking out other teams and stadiums. I would specifically recommend going to lower tier matches, be they Championship (Millwall, QPR, Charlton, Brentford, Fulham), League One (Wimbledon), or League Two (Leyton Orient). I’d generally recommend these lower tier matches over going to other Premier League Stadiums (unless you’re going as an Arsenal supporter and have managed to secure an away ticket), and I would specifically recommend Wimbledon and Leyton Orient for having amazing atmospheres in small stadiums. One thing to remember is that when you are visiting another stadium, you are a neutral, NOT an Arsenal supporter. Absolutely do not wear Arsenal colors, do not mention that you are an Arsenal supporter, and be respectful.

Where Should I Sit in Emirates Stadium?

When buying tickets and picking your seats, there are a few things to consider: the view, the atmosphere, and price. While the Emirates is one of the more American-style stadiums in England (this is the modern trend, as seen with the Man City’s Etihad, Sp*rs’ new monstrosity that replaced Shite Hart Lane, and others), the seating experience is different from American football stadiums.

One major difference is that home supporters and away supporters are kept completely separate: before matches, away supporters are not allowed in the same bars as home supporters, and in the stadium they are confined to a small area of the stadium that is barricaded by both physical concrete barriers as well as numerous stewards and police. At the Emirates, the away fans are always seated in one of the lower tier corners in the Clock End (see below).

East Stand and West Stand
The east and west stands are the sections that run along each side of the field. In an American Stadium, these might be the most desirable seats since they are closes to the middle of the field (“the 50 yard line”), but at the Emirates these are the seats with the least atmosphere and, in my opinion, are absolutely to be avoided. I sat here for my first match without knowing any better, and was disappointed with how quiet it was. Emirates is derisively mocked by other fans for being as quiet as a library, and there is some truth to that, but you can find a rowdy atmosphere if you sit in the right place.

North Bank and the Clock End
The North Bank is the section behind goal on one end of the stadium, opposite Clock End. As you might expect, it’s the section on the north end of the stadium that doesn’t have a giant clock in it. Clock End is the section on the south end of the stadium that does have a giant clock in it. Both the North Bank and the Clock End have the best atmosphere in the stadium, but the North Bank is all Arsenal supporters and you don’t have to contend with the away supporters. I personally prefer the North Bank for this reason, but it comes down to personal preference. For many matches, be prepared for the away supporters to be significantly louder than the home supporters, especially for Europa League matches and other less desirable opponents.

Upper Tier vs Lower Tier
This is another choice that comes down to personal preference. Assuming that you are sitting in one of the ends (see above), you will experience a better, louder chanting atmosphere in the upper tiers and also have a better view, but there is also something cool about being much closer to the field and seeing the players up close if you sit in the lower tier. I almost always opt for the upper tier, for the reasons mentioned above.

Club Level / Hospitality
As covered in my post on how to get tickets, if you simply can’t get a traditional ticket to the match that you want to go to, you can look into hospitality tickets. These tickets are significantly more expensive than traditional tickets and give you a luxury box atmosphere with catered food and drink. It’s a very different experience from the traditional Arsenal match day, and frankly not one that I would recommend if you’re a first time visitor looking to experience English football.

What Are The Best Pre-Match Pubs?

An essential part of any match day experience is having a pint or two (or six) before and after the match. In the area around Emirates, there are several pubs all within walking distance of each other (and the stadium) that form the backbone of the Arsenal drinking experience.

The Tollington Arms
115 Hornsey Road, Islington, London, N7 6DN

This is probably the most well known of the Arsenal pubs. It is also the newest of the pubs covered here. It has several nice outdoor patios, and is absolutely packed with Gooners on match day.

Typically, I make this my first stop in a series of pre-match bars. The staff are nice and always seem to remember me (probably because of my American accent), and they have a well-known security guard who’s always friendly. It’s not a bad place to grab lunch or dinner before a match either, as it has a counter with excellent Thai food. Finally, this bar is the most likely place to see various Arsenal pseudo-celebrities such as Andrew of Arseblog fame.

The Twelve Pins
263 Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 2DE

This is the closest to an American “tailgate bar” experience with a vibe that you’ll be familiar with if you go to college football games in Big Ten or SEC country in the US. It’s always got a good, rowdy vibe on match day, and is one of the few pubs around Emirates that isn’t completely dead on non match days. It’s also a great second stop after the Tollington, since walking there takes you right past Emirates Stadium for some good photo ops and allows you to see the neighborhood around the stadium if you haven’t before.

The Arsenal Supporters Club
26154 St Thomas’s Rd, Finsbury Park, London, N4 2QP

This is the #1 must visit location on this list, and is where I stop immediately before heading to the stadium before almost every match. The Arsenal Supporters Club is a small building that has been a fixture since the early days of Highbury, and is the home base of the London branch of the Arsenal Supporters Club. It’s a tiny brick building, and you pay a fee of £1 or £2 to get in. Once inside, pints of beer and cider are available for just a couple of pounds, and you can drink inside or take your drink outside and drink on the street.

You’ll meet many awesome people young and old; look for your local supporters club flag or scarf in the rafters and make sure to say hi to Jeff, who runs the club and is a great friend to many American Arsenal supporters.

The Gunners
204 Blackstock Rd, Highbury, London, N5 1EN

This is my go-to post match bar. It’s filled with amazing Arsenal memorabilia from Arsenal’s glory days, and has an awesome backyard area with food on the grill and matches on the projector during warmer months. It’s the perfect place to end the day with a victory pint or two.

How Do I Get Tickets?

Ticketing in England works very differently than it does in America. In America, if you want to go to a game, you can just go on StubHub or similar scalping sites if there aren’t face value tickets available, and we have a robust scalping market. In England, this practice is essentially illegal, and is policed by the clubs. While it may be tempting to go on StubHub UK, or Ticket Gum, or any of the other UK-based scalping sites, do not do this. If you are found to be using a scalped ticket, you (and the seller) can be banned from Emirates.

While tickets are much harder to obtain than they used to be prior to Arsenal’s return to title contention and the Champions League during the 2022-2023 Premier League Season, the most direct way to get tickets to Emirates Stadium (this post only concerns home matches, away matches are covered separately) is to join Arsenal as a Red Member and buy tickets directly from the club. Arsenal offers several levels of membership (Red, Silver, and Gold, along with Junior Gunners) but as a first time member you are only eligible to join as a Red. When you join, you will be issued a membership card, which will also serve as your ticket to enter the stadium (however, the club is transitioning to digital tickets only next season). You’ll receive a member pack with your card, and some other bonus items.

Further, on certain match days, bars around the stadium will ask to see your membership card before allowing you in. As a red member, you can enter a lottery drawing for tickets when they are released to Red Members, and you can also buy tickets above face value through the Ticket Exchange, which is Arsenal’s official ticket resale system.

Price and availability of tickets depends on the opponent and the category of the match. For a top tier match like an NLD, tickets range from £64 face to £300 on the ticket exchange.

Tickets are first made available to Gold Members, then Silver Members, then Junior Gunners, then Red Members, and then the general public. In the past, it used to be fairly easy to get tickets when they dropped to Red Members or the general public, but that is no longer the case, especially with the new lottery system in place. For highly desirable matches, you will likely be simply unable to buy tickets. For cup matches and other less desirable opponents, there will be some tickets available through the ticket exchange. In any case, tickets for Red Members are not made available until 30 days before the match! This is for several reasons, but one of the major reasons is that the match dates are not finalized until 30 days prior. Match dates frequently change due to TV schedules, cup matches, and other reasons only known to the FA and UEFA. This is inconvenient if you are trying to plan a trip to London far in advance, but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this.

The best alternative to joining as a Red Member is to join Arsenal America and request tickets. However, those tickets require requesting far in advance, and in my experience it has proved far simpler to simply work directly with the club through the channels outlined above as a Red Member.

Finally, if you simply can’t get a traditional ticket to the match that you want to go to, you can look into hospitality tickets. These tickets are significantly more expensive than traditional tickets and give you a luxury box atmosphere with catered food and drink. It’s a very different experience from the traditional Arsenal match day, and frankly not one that I would recommend if you’re a first time visitor looking to experience English football.

That said, it can still be a fun experience and, for me personally, was literally the only way I was able to get tickets during Arsenal’s title challenge in 2023. You can either buy hospitality tickets through the ticket exchange if they are available, or (more likely) buy ticket packages through one of Arsenal’s licensed hospitality travel partners. I utilized P1 Travel, who were able to obtain tickets through Arsenal for me for roughly £800. While I’d rather sit in traditional seats, I had a great time and was fortunate to be at the Emirates for the legendary comeback against Bournemouth.