old trafford stadium

Manchester United Match experience at Old Trafford

Visiting a Manchester United game at Old Trafford is a dream for many football fans around the world. Throughout the 1990’s it seemed that the team were almost unbeatable under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson and with a team featuring legends like Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Roy Keane. 

While Old Trafford is now in need of some upgrades the “Theatre of Dreams” remains one of Europe’s most recognisable stadiums. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make the most of your visit.

How do I buy tickets for Manchester United?

To buy Manchester United tickets from the club you need to be a member of the club. Memberships start at £35 per season and are available here. 

You can buy Premier League match tickets for home games the Manchester United ticketing website. Tickets for each game will be released eight weeks before the fixture date.

Tickets for high-demand matches against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham will be allocated via a ballot process. 

Prices vary depending depending on where you want to sit in the ground and your age. Prices range from £30 to £60 for adults and some tickets are cheaper for children and concessions. 

Manchester United tickets are also sold through their official partner, sportsbreaks.com. Packages include hotel accommodation and match tickets. 

My tip is to keep an eye out for a cup match, or a game against an unattractive opponent where tickets might become available. As I write this tickets are available for anyone to buy for Manchester United versus Celtic Legends in September 2024. 

manchester united fans

Where should I stay near Old Trafford?

Choosing the right accommodation can enhance your matchday experience. Here are some top recommendations:

Hotel Football 

Located right next to Old Trafford, this hotel is perfect for die-hard fans. Owned by Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Gary Neville it offers football-themed rooms and great views of the stadium.

The Hotel Football features 133 rooms, a restaurant called Cafe Football and a five-a-side football pitch on the roof. It also has seven rooms that celebrate Manchester United’s historic treble winning season in 1999. The rooms are co-designed by former United players and include custom interiors including unique artwork, framed authentic shirts and memorabilia gifted to Hotel Football by players themselves. I’m not a Manchester United fan but even I would be tempted to book a stay in one of these rooms. 

Hilton Garden Inn Manchester Emirates Old Trafford

This hotel is a dream for any sports traveler as it is situated inside the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground. The hotel is just over 10 minutes from Old Trafford (the football stadium!) and has good public transport links to the city centre. Guests have reported how clean the hotel is, that there’s a great breakfast and how friendly the staff are. I was sold at the idea of being able to sleep in a sports stadium, anything else would be a bonus to be honest! 

Holiday Inn Express Manchester – Salford Quays

This is a budget-friendly option that’s just a 10-minute walk from Old Trafford. It’s ideal for those looking for a comfortable stay without breaking the bank.

You can relax with a drink in the bar/lounge and enjoy a great meal at the restaurant. Other highlights include a snack bar and a terrace. The helpful staff and overall condition of the hotel receive high praise from other travelers. Public transport is only a short walk away: Salford Quays tram stop is a 5-minute walk, and Exchange Quay tram stop is a 9-minute walk.

For those wanting to explore more of Manchester, the city centre offers numerous hotels, from luxury to budget-friendly, with easy access to public transport to Old Trafford.

How do I get to Old Trafford?

Old Trafford is well-connected with trams from the city centre via the Purple or the Green Metrolink line to Old Trafford. The journey takes about 20 minutes and Old Trafford is around 10 minutes walk from there. 

The trams can get really busy around the Deansgate, Castlefield and St. Peters Square stops, so my advice is to get on the tram at Market Street or Piccadilly Gardens before the trams get too busy.  You could also take the red line to the Wharfside station which is a short walk to Old Trafford.  

If you’re feeling sporty you could also walk from the city centre to Old Trafford as it’s only about a 20 minute walk from the Deansgate area of the city. 

My advice is to leave the car at home. There’s no parking at the ground and limited street parking nearby. If you have to drive then Manchester United does sell limited parking spaces per fixture.

Stadium experience and Amenities guide

Where to eat and drink near Old Trafford?

Before or after the game, you might want to explore some local dining options. Here are a few fan favourites:

manchester united old trafford food

The Bishop Blaize

A popular pub among United fans, known for its lively atmosphere and pre-match atmosphere. It’s only 200m from Old Trafford and it’s always very busy so expect to queue to be able to get in. The pub is part of the Wetherspoons chain and serves a good range of affordable food. 

The Trafford

This pub is opposite The Bishop Blaize and offers a range of beers and traditional pub food. The interior is a tribute to Manchester United, adorned with flags, memorabilia, and photos of famous players covering the walls. A large bar stretches across the width of the pub, complemented by a cans-only bar and an outdoor container bar, ensuring quick service at multiple spots. 

A word of warning for the sports traveler, half-and-half scarves are not permitted.

Old Trafford Cricket Ground

On match days the Old Trafford cricket ground serves drinks and snacks to football fans heading to the game. The bar is outside and the service is quick, making this a good alternative to the busy pubs. 

Briton’s Protection

The Briton’s Protection is a historic, Grade II listed pub established around 1806. It’s famous for its architectural features and extensive selection of over 360 whiskies. The pub is about 15 minutes walk from Old Trafford. 

Sam’s Chophouse

This restaurant was established in 1869 and has won many awards. It is renowned for its dedication to British cuisine such as Corned Beef Hash and Steak & Kidney Pudding and offers a uniquely Manchester experience for any sports traveler. 

The interior is special, with tiled walls, a carved wooden bar and a bar floor using stone from the original Manchester Town Hall. Sam’s Chophouse is 15 minutes from Old Trafford on the Metrolink. 

Rudy’s 

This relaxed neighbourhood pizzeria follows the traditions and artistry of pizza from Naples, the birth place of pizza. It comes highly recommended, even by Italians! 

For more recommendations on places to eat near Old Trafford, check our dedicated page.

‍Do Manchester United have a museum at Old Trafford?

Yes, Manchester United boasts an impressive museum at Old Trafford. The Manchester United Museum and Trophy Room offers a deep dive into the club’s illustrious history. Exhibits include trophies, memorabilia, and interactive displays. It’s a must-visit for any sports traveler wanting to understand the club’s heritage.

Can you do a stadium tour at the Old Trafford?

Absolutely! The Old Trafford Stadium Tour is highly recommended. The tour takes you behind the scenes, giving you access to the players’ tunnel, the dugout, the changing rooms, and even the manager’s seat. Tours run daily, except on match days, and last about 80 minutes. Tickets cold adults cost is £25 and are available from the club website

Do Manchester United have a fan shop at Old Trafford?

Yes, the Manchester United Megastore is located in the East Stand and is open every day of the week. The shop attracts a million customers a year and has over 800 Manchester United products. 

What food and drinks are available inside Old Trafford?

Inside the stadium, you’ll find a variety of food and drink options like hot dogs and pies. Multiple kiosks serve beverages, but note that alcohol consumption is restricted to certain areas. The food and drink options aren’t great and I recommend visiting one of the locations I’ve highlighted here.

Old Trafford is a cashless stadium, so have your card ready for any snacks or drinks.

What facilities are available for fans with special needs at Old Trafford?

Manchester United have recently significantly improved accessibility at Old Trafford with a new £11 million project, enhancing wheelchair user viewing areas and ambulant disabled supporter seating. There are around 270 wheelchair and disabled supporter seats in the stadium.

Other sports teams in Manchester

Manchester is not just about United. Other sports teams worth noting include:

Football – Manchester City

United’s local rivals and “noisy neighbours.” They have experienced significant success in recent years, winning the last four Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2023. Their home ground is the Etihad Stadium around 8km from Old Trafford in the east of the city. 

Cricket – Lancashire County Cricket Club

Sports fans shouldn’t miss the chance to see a top-class cricket game at the Emirates Old Trafford. Lancashire County Cricket Club play their home matches here and the season lasts from May until September. England also play matches at this stadium. 

Basketball – Manchester Giants

The city’s professional basketball team, competing in the British Basketball League. The season runs from September to April. 

Where else should sports fans visit in Manchester?

For sports travelers, Manchester offers several must-visit sites:

National Football Museum

Since opening in 2012, the National Football Museum has become a cherished institution, drawing over 3 million visitors from around the world. The museum aims to share the captivating stories of football, celebrating the sport’s rich history and its cultural impact globally.

It holds the world’s largest collection of football objects and archives with approximately 2,500 of these treasures on display at the museum at any given time and 40,000 in storage. The exhibits include everything from historic football shirts and iconic trophies to rare photographs and personal items from legendary players.

Visit Classic Football Shirts

Fans of football shirts should not miss this shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. “Classic Football Shirts Manchester has more than 2,000 genuine vintage shirts from teams around the world, including clubs from the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Seria A, Ligue 1. I’ve visited here a few times and it really does have something for everyone.

Stunner

Stunner is a vintage football store and sports culture media. Here you will find hundreds of authentic soccer jerseys from the 90s and 2000s. The store was previously based in Kiev, Ukraine until the shop owners, Polina Vynohradova and Serge Shcherbyna fled the country due to the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Calcio!

Calcio! is a sports and retro gaming bar in the Northern Quarter, and a must-visit for any sports traveler. 

Football is the main attraction here, but when there’s no match on, old-school gaming consoles, like Sega Megadrives, are available to take you on a retro gaming journey. 

Each table has individual screens, ensuring you get a great view of the match. The walls are adorned with vintage shirts. The food is also great, with options like beef barbacoa tacos and vegan halloumi burritos. Sounds perfect to me!

Dress Like a Local

To blend in with the United fans, consider wearing a Manchester United shirt. It’s the easiest way to show your support and connect with other fans. This seasons United Adidas home shirt includes a stylish black collar. 

Manchester’s weather can be changeable, so wearing layers is advisable. This Manchester United anthem jacket is lightweight, stylish and will help to keep you dry in the famous Mancunian rain. 

In Conclusion: Match day at Manchester United

Traveling for sports events is a thrilling experience, and visiting a Manchester United game at Old Trafford is a highlight for any sports traveler. From securing tickets and finding the perfect accommodation to exploring the “Theatre of Dreams” and enjoying hearty Mancunian cuisine, this guide has you covered. Enjoy the electric atmosphere, immerse yourself in the club’s glorious history and make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a curious sports traveler, Old Trafford welcomes you to the Theatre of Dreams.