Where to Grab a Bite Before The Big Game
We've got the lowdown on where to fill up before or after a football match at one of London's top clubs. Sidestep the stadium and you'll find much more on offer than soggy chips and overpriced hot dogs. From gourmet pies to micro breweries, our guide rounds up a winning selection of cafes, restaurants and boozers, all within walking distance of London's major football stadiums including the home of English football, Wembley.
The Emirates Stadium (Arsenal)
Arsenal play at the Emirates Stadium in Holloway. It's the third largest stadium in England after Wembley and Old Trafford with a capacity of 60,432. The Gooners have been playing Premiership and Champions League matches here since it opened in 2006. It's located just off the Holloway Road and is within walking distance of Islington and Finsbury Park.
Snacks: Grab an award-wining pie from Piebury Corner, the UK's first ever pie deli. You can enjoy on-the-go snacks or nab a table at the 30-seat cafe that serves an impressive selection of craft beers. Choose from fillings like steak and Guinness and venison and red wine and top things off with gravy and a side order of mash.
Sit-down meal: Trullo is a cozy neighborhood restaurant in Islington that serves Italian-inspired dishes including handmade pasta and meats cooked over a charcoal grill. The menus change daily but the pappardelle with beef shin ragu is a crowd-pleasing constant fixture.
Pub: A 5-minute walk from Highbury & Islington tube station, The Duchess of Kent is a smart pub that serves a selection of real ales and classic gastropub dishes like beer-battered fish and chips. On match days, the kitchen fires up a BBQ outside and dishes up gourmet burgers to hungry football fans.
How to get to Arsenal: The nearest tube station is Arsenal on the Piccadilly Line. Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington are around a 10-minute walk away and are usually less crowded than Arsenal.
White Hart Lane (Tottenham)
Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane ground is currently undergoing a major revamp and will open as a luxury 61,000-seater stadium for the start of the 2018/19 season. The club's new home will feature a retractable pitch to allow Spurs to host NFL matches and the capacity will make the ground larger than the Emirates Stadium, home to local rivals Arsenal.
Snacks: In Tottenham's former fire station, Chicken Town is a crowd-funded restaurant and takeaway that serves a healthy alternative to fried chicken. The chicken is marinated in buttermilk before being steamed and then flash fried in rapeseed oil. Menu highlights include Korean hot wings and spicy chicken burgers. It's run as a social enterprise with the aim of improving the lives of young people in the local area by offering jobs and training.
Sit-down meal: Tuck into pizzas served by the half-meter and classic Italian pastas at San Marco, a family-run restaurant near Bruce Grove station. The pizzas are hand stretched and cooked in a brick oven and most dishes on the menu are less than £10.
Pub: The Antwerp Arms is a much loved community-run pub that was saved from closure following a campaign that saw donations flood in from local patrons, MPs and Tottenham Hotspur football club itself. This traditional boozer is a popular meeting point for match day beers and hosts regular live music events.
How to get to White Hart Lane: The nearest tube station is Seven Sisters on the Victoria Line. The closest overground station is White Hart Lane, a 20-minute train journey from Liverpool Street.
Stamford Bridge (Chelsea)
Confusingly, Chelsea's home ground of Stamford Bridge is actually located in Fulham. It has a capacity of 41,631 although there are plans to expand the ground to seat 60,000 by 2022. Chelsea have played here since the club was founded in 1905.
Snacks: Stop for a homemade sandwich, a savory pastry or a cake at Labi Deli, a rustic cafe with a daily changing menu on the Fulham Road.
Sit-down meal: On the Fulham Road, Manuka Kitchen is a relaxed neighborhood brasserie that serves modern European cuisine from an open kitchen. The cozy 26-seat restaurant offers an affordable set menu at lunchtime including dishes like roasted sea bream and wagyu beef bolognese.
Pub: The Malt House is a posh pub near Fulham Broadway that serves fine dining dishes as well as casual bar meals like pulled pork sandwiches served with triple-cooked chips. The building dates back to 1729 but the interiors are sleek and modern and there are 6 stylish hotel rooms upstairs.
How to get to Stamford Bridge: The nearest tube station is Fulham Broadway on the District Line. The closest overground stations are West Brompton and Imperial Wharf, both a 15-minute walk from the stadium.
London Stadium (West Ham)
West Ham United relocated to the London Stadium (aka the Olympic Stadium) in 2016 from the club's former home in Upton Park, where the Hammers had played since 1904. The iconic London Stadium was the star of the show at the 2012 London Olympics and underwent a multi-million pound transformation after the Games to turn it into a top flight football stadium. It has a capacity of 60,000.
Snacks: Head into Westfield Stratford City, a mega mall that overlooks the Olympic Park. Quick on-the-go food options include burgers from Shake Shack, savory pies from Square Pie and burritos from Tortilla.
Sit-down meal: On the banks of the Lea Navigation Canal, Crate Brewery & Pizzeria is a hip bar and restaurant in a converted warehouse. Order a hand-rolled pizza and wash it down with a pint from the on-site micro-brewery. The interiors feature up-cycled furniture made from wooden pallets and railway sleepers.
Pub: Just south of the Olympic Park, The Bow Bells is a traditional east end boozer that serves real ale, craft beers and pie and mash at the weekend. The pub welcomes football fans but asks punters to show a game ticket on entry on match days.
How to get to the London Stadium: The nearest tube station is Stratford on the Jubilee and Central Lines, as well as the DLR and overground network.
Loftus Road (Queens Park Rangers)
West London club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) have called Loftus Road home since 1917. The Shepherd's Bush stadium has a capacity of 18,439 and provided a home for local rivals Fulham between 2002 and 2004 while Craven Cottage was refurbished. All seats are under cover and supporters are close to the pitch so this small stadium feels even more intimate.
Snacks: Duck into the food court at Westfield London, a huge mall near Shepherd's Bush station that's said to cover an area the size of 30 football pitches. There are food options to suit all tastes including Lebanese dishes from Comptoir Libanais, sushi from Itsu and crepes from Crepeaffaire.
Sit-down meal: Owned by the people behind Bush Hall, an intimate music venue in a 1900s dance hall, the Bush Hall Dining Rooms just next door is a modern diner that serves affordable comfort food. Many of the dishes are under £10 and there's a daily specials menu on offer at lunch and dinner.
Pub: On the busy Uxbridge Road, the Princess Victoria is a restored gin palace with a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bar. Order a pint from the impressive real ale menu and fill up on classic bar snacks like Scotch eggs and sausage rolls. In the summer months you can drink outside in the small courtyard garden.
How to get to Loftus Road: The nearest tube station is White City on the Central Line. Wood Lane station on the Hammersmith and City Line is also close by. Alternatively, Shepherd's Bush on the Central Line is around a 15-minute walk away.
Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace)
This south London club was founded in 1905 at the iconic Crystal Palace Exhibition building. The team have played at Selhurst Park since the stadium opened in 1924 and the club have been in and out of top flight football in England throughout their history. The ground has a capacity of 25,456.
Snacks: You can grab quick Mediterranean sharing dishes at Blue and Orange, a Turkish restaurant on Thornthon Heath High Street. Don't miss the deep-fried Borek pastries or the chargrilled shish kebabs.
Sit-down meal: Mantanah is a South Norwood favorite that serves excellent Thai food. The decor is as traditional as the dishes served by the staff in silk outfits. Menu highlights include masamun beef and the signature roasted duck cooked in tamarind and palm sugar sauce.
Pub: The Railway Telegraph near Thornton Heath station is a family-friendly pub that welcomes home and away fans. The building dates back to 1877 but the interiors are modern and you'll find classic pub grub and a range of real ales on the menu. Jerk BBQ dishes are served from the patio garden on match days
How to get to Selhurst Park: The stadium is not served by a tube station. You can get an overground train to Selhurt or Thornton Heath Station, both a 5- to 10-minute walk from the ground. The trains take around 25 minutes from either Victoria or London Bridge stations. Alternatively, you can jump on the 468 bus from Elephant & Castle or the X68 from Russell Square.
Built in 2007, Wembley Stadium is the home of English football and is the biggest ground in the UK with a capacity of 90,000. Its iconic arch frames a retractable roof and measures 315 meters in length. It's the longest single span roof structure in the world and can be seen from viewing points across London. The modern layout is designed so that there are no obstructed views from any seat in the stadium. As well as hosting major cup finals and international games, Wembley is also a venue for top rugby games, NFL fixtures and large music events.
Snacks: Grab a tasty dosa (a crispy rice crepe) from Sarashwathy Bavans, an authentic South Indian vegetarian restaurant near Wembley Central station. There are 35+ different varieties to choose from, including a six-foot family dosa and a cheese masala dosa.
Sit-down meal: You don't have to walk far to find good Indian food in Wembley. The neighborhood is home to an impressive array of restaurants, cafes, sweet shops and supermarkets. Wembley Tandoori serves a special event day menu that features meat dishes cooked over charcoal in a clay oven and a number of traditional Nepalese options.
Pub: The Green Man pub sits at the top of Wembley Hill and its beer garden offers panoramic views of the stadium. The bar serves real ales and traditional pub grub is available on match days. Although the atmosphere can get pretty lively, it's a family-friendly venue with a children's play area so things never get too raucous.
How to get to Wembley Stadium: The stadium is served by Wembley Park Station (on the Jubliee and Metropolitan Lines); Wembley Central Station (on the Bakerloo, London Overground, London Midland and Southern Lines) and Wembley Stadium Station (a Chiltern Railways service). All three stations are around a 10-minute walk from the stadium.