arsenal emirates stadium

How to Plan the Perfect Trip to See Arsenal In Action

As one of the biggest football teams on the planet, and having edged back in the right direction in relation to achieving tangible success, it’s no surprise that fans are flocking to the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal in action. 

Clearly, the allure of watching Premier League football as a whole is very much at a peak, and the chance to see the Gunners take to the field combined with a stay (short or long) in a city as iconic and memorable as London is one you should never pass up. 

This guide is designed to give you the lowdown on how you might plan and undertake a journey to N5 and what to expect from your visit. We will take a deep dive into the many facets associated with such an endeavour, from the tricky pursuit of reasonably priced Arsenal tickets to planning your accommodation and a myriad of activities you can enjoy pre and post-match. 

So if you are ready, we’ll get stuck in.

Who are Arsenal?

Arsenal are a team with a rich history, and for spells of their 130+ year history, they have enjoyed lengthy periods of real success. Now, in the Premier League era (i.e. post-1992), there has been something of a lull. Indeed, as of 2024, the last time the club lifted the domestic title trophy aloft was back in 2003/04, when The Invincibles went the entire season without losing a game.

Under Mikel Arteta, the team has secured laudable second-placed finishes in both 2022/23 and 2023/24, and something is most definitely cooking.

As a fan who has been watching the mighty Arsenal play for the best part of three decades, I can’t recommend going to see a match live and in person enough. Nothing beats the thrill, energy and ambience of seeing your beloved team play live and in person. Frankly, once you do so, watching on TV won’t feel half as exciting. So, where to get started? 

How to Buy Arsenal Tickets

Let’s get down to business. Buying Arsenal tickets is not easy, but it is very doable, though a lot depends on when you go and how much you are willing to spend on tickets.

The Emirates Stadium is a magnificent purpose-built stadium with a capacity of 60,704, making it among the biggest in European football. It’s stadium that every sports fan, sports traveler should see. However, it’s worth noting that every match the first team takes part in is usually sold out weeks in advance, which goes some way to illustrating just how popular they are. 

When it comes to buying tickets, you should always start by trying to purchase these via the club’s official website 

Tickets via the club

In order to buy tickets via the official website you’ll need to become a member. This is a fairly straightforward process and will cost £34 for the current season (2024/25); having done this, you can now enter ballots for tickets. 

For Premier League matches, these ballots, which basically offer tickets and seats not taken up by season ticket holders, will be run around six weeks before a match, and fingers crossed, you may get lucky.

Now, clearly, if you are entering a ballot for a Premier League match against one of the big sides, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool or Manchester City, then your chances of success are very low, but if you enter the ballot for a game against a ‘lesser’ opponent or a game in the early rounds of the FA or EFL Cup, then your chances significantly improve.

With your membership, you can also look to buy tickets direct in the unlikely eventuality that there are actually some tickets left for a game. Face value prices for tickets range from £25 to £100+

If money is no object, you can look to purchase a hospitality ticket for a game. These are more readily available but will cost a whole lot more. Hospitality tickets will usually start from around £500, and will often include other perks like meals and drinks.

Tickets via third-party sites

A far more realistic way to enjoy an Arsenal match is to buy your ticket via a third-party site. With this route, you have two options.

One option is to buy your ticket via a reseller site or seek out the best deals from a comparison site that handily breaks down all the related options for any given game, such as this page from SeatPick, which isolates the costs for every game you could want to watch. 

This is perhaps the most common route traveling fans take to get to an Arsenal game, and indeed, every gameweek, there are thousands of supporters who use this path.

Important note: Though some fans attempt to do so, I’d strongly suggest against just turning up and hoping to buy tickets from a tout. This is for a number of reasons, chief among them being that this process is not safe. Secondly, clearly, if you plan an entire trip around going to see Arsenal play and THEN can’t get your hands on tickets on the day, you have kind of missed out on the entire purpose of being in town.

Where Is Best to Stay When Traveling to an Arsenal Match

Staying Nearby

Given that Arsenal play in North London, there are obviously a host of options when it comes to good accommodation, and if you choose to stay nearby (in other words, within walking distance) from the Emirates Stadium, there are a few great locations.

Hilton London Islington

This classy hotel, part of the famous chain, sits on Upper Street, a short walk from the stadium. It’s a great location to call home during your trip to see a football match. It’s not inexpensive, but it is perfectly reasonable when you consider you are in a very well-off part of London.

The added bonus is that often Arsenal players stay at the hotel ahead of home games, which means you might just bump into your heroes when tucking into your hotel breakfast!

Hotel nhow London

This funky bespoke hotel is a little further away from the stadium but still very much within walking distance. It’s less pricey than the Hilton and has more character. It’s eye-catching and perfect for those who like to fill their Instagram feed with photos of their stylish accommodation. They also have a great breakfast buffet, one that does not cost a king’s ransom.

Citadines Apart’hotel Islington

If you simply want a room to crash in both before and after the match and are not all that bothered about the bells and whistles that go with the hotel experience, then this is an excellent option. This isn’t to say that the Citadines isn’t a quality establishment, but more that it’s an Apart’hotel and therefore is less geared to creature comforts. Very affordable and, in many ways, ideal for fans traveling in and out for a big Arsenal match.

How to Get to Arsenal: Transportation Tips

Getting to Arsenal’s home stadium is very easy, and there are transportation options of all kinds.

There are many tube stations in the area. The closest one is Arsenal (on the Piccadilly Line) and that’s just three minutes from the ground. 

Then there is Finsbury Park (Victoria, Piccadilly and Great Northern Rail), about ten minutes away. If possible, we’d suggest traveling to Highbury & Islington (Victoria and Northern Line and Great Northern Rail); this is simply because traveling from this station, a 10-minute walk gives fans a chance to really soak in the atmosphere, either by walking directly via Holloway Road or via the scenic route, through Highbury Fields. Keep up to date with any potential travel disruption via the TFL website.  

Traveling by train from other parts of the capital or the country as a whole, King’s Cross would be the ideal hub to aim for, as it offers good tube and bus routes to the Emirates Stadium.

After a game, you can expect major delays getting back onto public transport, hence the suggestion to stay at a hotel nearby. Alternatively, you can just kick back and celebrate/commiserate following the game in the local pub.

When coming to London via a flight, all major airports connect with central and north London with relative ease, and that’s definitely the case with London Heathrow.

Where to Drink Before and After Watching Arsenal Play

If you are looking to have a drink before or after an Arsenal game, be it a win, loss or draw, there are a number of great pubs in the area. You can also enjoy a beer on the ground, but clearly, that is going to mean forking out more.

The pubs below are the best places to go for a pre-or post-match beer, and they are also relative to each other in terms of travel time.

  • The Tollington (this is literally on the doorstep) – Great pub, very busy
  • El Comandante Che – Right outside the ground, nice location, but remember, it’s cash-only
  • The Famous Cock Tavern – Back near the tube station, ideal for waiting for the queue to the tube to die down
  • The Hemingford – an Arsenal pub through and through, it’s a 20-minute walk from the stadium but a superb location that also serves great food. The pub is name-checked in the club song ‘North London Forever’, which is a nice bonus

Making the Most Of Pre and Post-Match Experience: So Much to See and Do

Football fans traveling to see Arsenal typically fall neatly into two camps. There are those who dash in and dash out, perhaps due to financial or scheduling constraints and those who like to double up the act of seeing a football match with something of a mini-break.

Of the two options, given the majesty and splendour of the capital city, I’d heartily suggest the second route. This is simply because London is not a location you should ignore the chance to make the most of when on a trip.

Indeed, the sheer weight of options in relation to what to do can be something of a headache, but that’s where a good bit of planning will come in very useful indeed.

Catch a Show

If you are in London, you’d be foolish not to look to enjoy the theatre experience on the West End. You could pick up tickets for a show after the game, whether it’s an early kick-off or a 3 p.m. match. Book in advance; AGT tickets are a good option for doing so. It’s a perfect way to get your hit of culture after the big match. 

See the Sights

Don’t be afraid to be a tourist; take in the sights. This is particularly true if your visit to London is brief. There are endless delights to be had; below are just a few options, which include some family-friendly selections. 

  • London Zoo – Great for families of all ages and is handily not far from Arsenal
  • British Museum—This is the best museum in London. It’s free, and again, it’s very close to North London.
  • Kew Gardens – The botanical gardens are a treat and a nice oasis of calm to enjoy either pre-match or the day after an alarming defeat
  • Borough Market – Sat by the river, a veritable feast of tasty delights, also right next to Tate Modern for those who want to take in some artistic delights.
  • National Gallery – Get your fill of magnificent art at this London institution. Again, it’s free and easy to get to
  • Any of the Royal Parks—Hyde Park, St James’ Park, and Green Park—are the best places to visit before or after the game for some fresh air and calming vibes.

Truly Unforgettable Experience

Everything about a trip to see Arsenal play adds up to an unforgettable experience. Any sports traveler will truly delight in the prospect of watching a Premier League match, and the opportunity to soak in what London has to offer is the icing on the cake. If you are new to London, then your maiden voyage to this historical masterpiece of a city is all the more golden due to the fact you get to see your heroes in action at the Emirates Stadium. 

FAQs

Is it easy to buy Arsenal tickets?

Yes. If you are willing to spend a decent amount of money, you can fairly easily get to the Arsenal match of your choice. Plan ahead and get the tickets sourced before planning the rest of your trip.

How long should I stay in London on a trip to see Arsenal play?

In many ways, taking just a day, or even two, to see an Arsenal game is a wasted opportunity. Perhaps make it a week-long break in order to get the most out of what London has to offer.

Is traveling to watch an Arsenal match difficult? 

No, it’s very easy. Once you have your Arsenal tickets sorted, planning the rest of your traveling exploits is fairly easy, not least because London has countless options in terms of accommodation and the same is true of traveling and sightseeing.
Basically you can plan an entire trip to match your budget, whether that’s a cheap and cheerful adventure or a more pricey unforgettable stay in one of the most vibrant cities on the planet.

Are there travel guides for other teams in other cities too?

Check out our Chelsea Stamford bridge matchday experience.