Superbreak Online Marketing Executive, Matt Finn took the Wembley Stadium Tour last week, and as expected, he loved it! Here’s his post on what he got up to whilst he was there.
Wembley Stadium. As a football fan it’s amazing to visit this place. As a Leeds United fan, it’s almost painful, rekindling disappointing memories. Whilst the old Wembley is well and gone, the memories of being a 6 year old Leeds fan watching my team annihilated in the League Cup final will stay with me forever. Yet a day earlier it had all been so different. A tour of the old stadium, including the tunnel, the twin towers and even walking up the 39 steps to lift a replica FA Cup. So when the chance came to revisit the home of English football in all of its modern glory, I could not say no.
We set off from York in glorious sunshine and enjoyed a carefree journey down courtesy of Grand Central. The service onboard the train was of the highest quality, with very attentive staff looking after us. Their regular services from the North East and Yorkshire provide a convenient route into the capital. Arriving at King’s Cross, we jumped on a tube to WembleyPark where we were met with the unique structure of the stadiums arch. Whereas the old stadium was instantly recognisable by the Twin Towers (which incidentally are now buried under the hallowed turf at the new Wembley), the new one’s equally remarkable structure allows it to be picked out from as far away as Windsor. Round the corner from the stadium was our hotel. The great thing about the local area is you have so much choice for hotels near Wembley Stadium. We were staying in the 4* Holiday Inn London Wembley, which offers fantastic facilities of the highest standard, including leisure facilities and a relaxing hotel bar and restaurant. After a quick snack in the hotel bar (may I recommend the steak sandwich) we were off for the tour itself.
Greeted by the opportunity for a snap with a replica FA Cup, we knew we were in for a spectacular evening. For me the cheeky cockney tour guide, Stevie, made the experience. His passion for the stadium and his wealth of knowledge made the tour incredibly enlightening. We began the tour with a quick trip to the press room, and the scene of the aftermath of Steve McClaren’s ‘wally with the brolly’ night. This was swiftly followed with a trip to the Changing Rooms, of which there are four. As we were told tales of Messi, Ronaldo and various bands gearing up inside the changing rooms, people took photos of the various shirts laid out around the dressing room. Whilst people rushed for a snap of Messrs Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard’s shirt, I opted for a picture of former Leeds starlet James Milner’s shirt. Before we knew it, we were being told to line up in the tunnel. I don’t know how they manage to do it, but somehow they actually make you feel like you are about to run out in front of 90k football fans. As you step out of the tunnel, heart racing like you’re about to play in the FA Cup final, entrance music blares out and a recording of a crowd chanting and cheering greets you. To top this experience off, you are then led off up to the royal box, to be greeted by ‘celebrations’ coming from the empty stands.
At the end of the tour we were left at the Champions League exhibition, which is open in preparation for Wembley hosting the final in May. After bemoaning Leeds’ lack of luck in the competition in the final in 1975 and the semi-final in 2001 (Yes, I was only alive for one of these, but I’m still going to whine about them both) and another photo opportunity with the Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy, we were left to enjoy a rather posh pie and a drink to round off the evening.
The tour of Wembley Stadium is fantastic and provides you with behind the scenes access to one of football’s greatest spectacles. Special thanks has to go to London & Partners and the Wembley Stadium staff for hosting such a fantastic evening full of treats for everyone, football fan or not!