Whether yours is the era of Eden Hazard or Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba or Gianfranco Zola, Ray Wilkins or even Peter Osgood, English football at its zenith has been graced by some truly great players; not least London’s Chelsea Football Club – especially as all six of those star names are just a clutch of those who took to the pitch in Chelsea blue.
To wit, if you’re planning on spending a few days in the UK capital – especially if you’re going to be spending much of your time in the vicinity (maybe you’re thinking of staying at the San Domenico House hotel London United Kingdom?), then you may find a visit to – and even a tour around – Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC’s home ground, a must.
One of the nation’s most historically important football stadia, Stamford Bridge opened more than 140 years ago in April 1877. It spent the earliest years of its existence as an athletics venue, before in the very early 20th Century being redeveloped into a football stadium. Unlike nearby Fulham FC, newly established Chelsea were only too happy to make it their home – and so its been ever since. At this time, Stamford Bridge could accommodate more than 80,000 spectators; no surprise then that a handful of FA Cup Finals were held here before the national stadium down the road at Wembley was built and became the showpiece match’s near-permanent home.
Unfortunately, over the decades redevelopments to ‘The Bridge’ almost led to the club filing for bankruptcy, which saw the latter lose ownership of the stadium itself. Winning its home back in 1992, Chelsea FC went through further financial highs and lows, which saw it sold for just £1 at one point, before being famously snapped up by present owner, billionaire Roman Abramovich, and the development of the site around the stadium into what’s now known as ‘Chelsea Village’, an all-round entertainment venue housing several restaurants and a sports bar; itself surrounded by several boutique hotels in London.
How to get to the stadium
Address: Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road London SW6 1HS
Nearest Tube station: Fulham Broadway (District Line)
Nearest Overground railway stations: West Brompton and Imperial Wharf stations (15-minutes away on foot)
Buses: the routes 14, 211 and 414 all pass the stadium on Fulham Road, while the routes 11, 28, 296 and 391 all stop nearby
If you fancy attending a Chelsea FC match, you can check whether tickets are available and purchase them here (or call +44 (0) 871 984 1905).
Finally, how about a one-off tour of this famous, old ground? Hour-long, behind-the-scenes stadium tours at Stamford Bridge are highly revered, featuring as they do access not just to the club’s museum, the press room and the player’s tunnel, but even the home team’s dressing room.
Tours take place every day of the week, usually every half-hour between 10am and 3pm, while the museum’s opening hours are 9.30am-5pm. Note: no tours are held on matchdays or on the day before home European fixtures. Again, the museum isn’t open on the day (and the day before) European fixtures, but is open on all other matchdays. Booking a tour is advised and can be done here.