With a capacity of 60,272 seats, the Emirates Stadium – the home of Arsenal football club - is the third-largest football stadium in England after Wembley and Old Trafford.
In 1997, after being refused planning permission to expand Highbury Stadium – a project which would have necessitated the demolition of 25 nearby houses - Arsenal began to look into the possibility of moving to a new stadium and even put in an offer for Wembley, which was rejected. Three years later, it bought an industrial and waste disposal estate in Ashburton Grove, 500 yards from Highbury, as a site for the new stadium. But the work was dogged by delays and spiralling costs, and it was 2006 before the stadium was completed, having cost the club £390 million.
As well as cutting wage bills and borrowing £260 million, the club had to finance the stadium by buying players for low fees and selling them on for much larger amounts - it made more than £50 million from the transfers of Nicolas Anelka, Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit.
Hotels near the Emirates Stadium
The stadium has a number of striking features designed to reflect the club’s heritage and history. These include the murals on the outside walls, which show 32 Arsenal greats in a huddle embracing the ground and its fans; the Spirit of Highbury, a mural featuring every player to have played for Arsenal during its 93 years at the stadium; other murals showing great moments in the club’s history; and statues of former captain Tony Adams, record goalscorer Thierry Henry, striker Dennis Bergkamp and manager Herbert Chapman.
The stadium is easily accessible by public transport: the nearest tube stations are Arsenal and Highbury & Islington, both a short walk from the ground and easily accessible from King’s Cross mainline station. Finsbury Park station is slightly further away, but still walkable. Driving to the stadium is strongly discouraged; there is no parking there, and from an hour before kick-off to an hour after the final whistle cars are banned from a number of the surrounding roads. Your best bet is to book one of our hotels near the Emirates Stadium and either walk or take public transport there.
The ground has also hosted international friendlies and concerts – Muse, Green Day, Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen have all performed here – and is a conference, events and wedding venue.
For hardcore fans, a tour of the Emirates is a must if you want to learn more about the club, its stadium and its history. Learn about the players’ experiences on match days, hear the roar of the crowd as you walk through the tunnel, test your knowledge of the club and listen to a talk from the boss in the changing room on one of the self-guided audio tours. Or book a place on the Legends tour for an extra special experience - you’ll be shown round by one of the club’s heroes, who will share his thoughts on today’s team, his memories of playing for the club and maybe even some insider news.
All tours include a trip to the interactive Arsenal Museum, where exhibits include Michael Thomas' boots from the Anfield game in 1989, Charlie George's 1971 FA Cup final shirt, Alan Smith's shirt from the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, and medals, shirts and caps belonging to David O'Leary, Lee Dixon, Brian Marwood and many others. And you can even have your photo taken with the FA Cup. Afterwards, you’ll have the chance to buy sportswear and merchandise in the souvenir shops – you can personalise your purchases, and add your hero’s name and number or your own name on the back of a shirt.
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