Quicklinks: Start, Halftime, Boxscore

So what can you do in London, if there's a day without a football match? You could still visit football grounds. All of them!

Start: Victoria Station

Departure: 8:15

A healthy breakfast from Sainsburys, a Metro, a Peak-Travelcard (Zones 1-6) for 13,80 GBP and the journey plan: that's all you need to get things started. Starting point was Victoria Station, due to the fact that the hostel was located close to the station and that Selhurst Park was the first ground on the to do list.

The train left the station on time at 8.15. Travel time to Thornton Heath: 25 minutes.

Victoria Thornton Heath

Selhurst Park - Ground of Crystal Palace

Arrival at the ground: 8:49

I usually prefer Selhurst station when visiting Selhurst Park, but on this special occassion, the tight schedule forced me to get off at Thornton Heath, which gave me 4 more minutes to get to the ground and back. So I've had a total of 27 minutes.

27 minutes sounds like lots of time - it's not! The distance from the station to the ground is a little more than 1 km, so I actually had to walk 2 km. Missing the train towards South Bermondsey was definately not an option as this would have meant spending another 30 minutes at Thornton Heath, so I made it to the ground and back in time but it was more like sports than a nice stroll.

Being in a rush didn't leave me much time to actually have a look at Selhurst Park. I just touched the turnstile of the Main Stand and turned around to head back to the station.

One down, twelve to go.


Thornton Heath South Bermondesy

The Den - Ground of Millwall FC

Arrival at the ground: 9:41

The connection between Thornton Heath and South Bermondsey was the soft spot of the whole tour. After I managed to catch the train, I felt reliefed and all I had to do to get to the Den was to sit and wait.

I've had 20 minutes to get to the ground and back to the station, which was more than enough for the 1,5 km. So the walk around the trailerpark and underneath the railway bridge was a little bit more relaxed than the rush to Selhurst Park.

As the area around the Den is not really inviting, I lost no time to get back to the station and on a train towards London Bridge.


South Bermondsey London Bridge Charlton

The Valley - Ground of Charlton Athletic

Arrival at the ground: 10:30

So after getting to the first two grounds by National Rail was pretty convenient, from now on, interchanging was the game. It started off slow, as all I had to do to get to the Valley was changing at London Bridge. The train was on time and called at Charlton at 10:20.

According to my schedule I've had 19 minutes to visit the Valley. No big deal, it's not too far from the rail station to the ground. Always a pleasure to walk down Floyd Road. The Valley is one of my favorite grounds in London.

After touching the turnstile, the "get off at the station - walk to the ground - walk back to the station"-game was over. Instead of catching a train at Charlton station, I went for a busride towards North Greenwich.


Charlton North Greenwich West Ham Barking Dagenham East

Victoria Road - Ground of Dagenham & Redbridge FC

Arrival at the ground: 11:22

The bus was definately the best option to get from the Valley onto the Jubilee Line, which is a good connection to London's East. Besides, the bus ride on the Greenwich peninsula is nice, too, as you get a great view towards Canary Wharf, the Isle of Dogs and the O2 Arena.

The time on the Jubilee Line was short, as I got off just two stations after North Greenwich. At West Ham, I was planning to get on the District Line but I missed a train by seconds. So instead of waiting 5 minutes, I decided to hop on a National Rail train towards Barking and go on with the District Line from there. This did not only save me a few stops but the train also overtook the tube so I could get onto the tube I've initially missed at West Ham.

After arriving at Dagenham, I've had 17 minutes to get to the ground and back to the tube. Due to the fact that I was travelling by tube, time wasn't really a big issue as a missed train would now only cost me 5 minutes, not 30. Additionally, I was a few minutes ahead of schedule.

As the walk to Victoria Road along Main Street is pretty boring, I decided to do the ground as a "fast-in fast-out" mission.


Dagenham East Upton Park

Upton Park - Ground of West Ham Utd

Arrival at the ground: 11:54

The next stadium on the to-do-list was West Ham's Upton Park. Pretty convenient as Upton Park tube station is also on the District Line, so no interchanges necessary. The ground's not too far from the station (about 500 meters), and always looks impressive when you walk towards it on Green Street. Unfortunately the area misses the special flair when there's no match.

By now, I was 20 minutes ahead of schedule and I was tempted to get lunch at the legendary fish&chip-shop right next to the tube station. But as I was making good progress, I decided to move on towards Brisbane Road.

So Upton Park was ground number 5 - 8 grounds still ahead of me.


Upton Park Mile End Leyton

Brisbane Road - Ground of Leyton Orient

Arrival at the ground: 12:30

Although I could have taken a shortcut by changing to the Jubilee Line, I decided to go with the suggestion of the official journey planner and changed trains at Mile End. From there, I took the Central Line to Leyton. So I had to change trains just once, don't know if it saved me time, however I was happy to have less stress.

After I got off the train at Leyton I walked down High Street, to Coronation Gardens and on to Brisbane Road. Since I was way ahead of schedule I took the time and walked around the ground, because I wanted to have a look at the by-then-not-so-new-anymore North Stand.

I took a picture at the turnstile and then made my mind up about lunch. The lunch break was scheduled at Leyton, as there are two KFCs and a few Fish&Chip shops on High Street. Although I felt hungry, I didn't have enough of sitting in trains and so I decided to go on with the tour, as I was hoping to catch an earlier train towards Northumberland Park.


Leyton Stratford Northumberland Park

White Hart Lane - Ground of Tottenham Hotspur

Arrival at the ground: 13:54

My pace didn't pay off. I was way ahead of schedule when I arrived at Stratford, but not enough ahead of schedule to catch an earlier train, as the connection towards Northumberland is hourly only. Well, tough titties. I could have taken the tube towards Liverpool Street Station and go on with the National Rail towards White Hart Lane from there. Instead, I used my extra minutes to finally have a healthy lunch at KFC. Yummy!

Half past one the break was over and the train left Stratford station on time. Travel time to Northumberland Park was just 12 minutes, from where you can actually see the ground. A great way to get to White Hart Lane, strange that there are only a few trains running. Maybe that will change when the Spurs build their new ground close to the Northumberland station, but who knows.

The way from the station to the ground got me right to the corner of East and South Stand. So I took the turnstile picture at the away supporter entrance. It was planned to catch the National Rail from White Hart Lane towards Seven Sisters but as I got to Tottenham High Road, I saw a bus with direction Tottenham Hale approaching. With a chance to save some time, I went for it.


Tottenham Sports Centre Seven Sisters Finsbury Park Arsenal

Emirates Stadium - Ground of Arsenal

Arrival at the ground: 14:42

Well, the first 500 meters by bus were great. Then the trouble started and the next 100 meters took about 10 minutes. Old school London traffic jam. Awesome! After sitting another 10 minutes in a bus that didn't move, I decided to get off and walk to the tube station. Turned out it was just 2 minutes away. Great. Still, I was exactly on my schedule and caught the exact Piccadilly Line tube at Finsbury Park, which I would have taken if I'd waited for the National Rail at White Hart Lane instead of taking the bus.

So at 14:37, I arrived at the legendary Arsenal tube station. It's quite a walk from the platform to the street, however it's not far from there to the ground. I had 10 minutes to get to the turnstile and back, which turned out to be enough.

10 minutes after my arrival, I was sitting in a northbound Piccadilly Line train.


Arsenal Oakwood Chipping Barnet

Underhill Stadium - Ground of Barnet FC

Arrival at the ground: 15:44

After my visit to Emirates Stadium, the most intersting part of my trip was ahead of me. Of course I've been to Underhill Stadium before, but I've always taken the Northern Line to High Barnet. Now the plan was to take the Piccadilly Line to Oakwood and go by bus 307 from there.

The plan worked out well. The wait on the bus wasn't too long and the busride itself was also interesting, as you get to see some parts of London that you will never get in touch with as a "normal" tourist. I've researched that the bus would stop somewhere near the ground and it turned out, that it actually stopped right on the foot of Barnet Hill, which was great for my purpose.

I got to the ground really quick and took the picture at the turnstile. I noticed immediately that the stand behind the goal got a roof since my last visit. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a nice picture of it. So after a few minutes, I took the footpath up the hill to the High Barnet tube station. 9 down, 4 to go.


High Barnet Tottenham Court Road White City

Loftus Road - Ground of QPR

Arrival at the ground: 17:00

Actually I had to change trains just once to get from High Barnet to Loftus Road. Still, it was the longest leg of the tour. The tube called at 24 stops, which made the train ride quite time consuming. After almost an hour on the train, I got off at White City and the 5 minute walk to the ground felt extremely short.

The residential area around Loftus Road gives this ground a very special flair and it's a pitty that this old school stadium will most likely disappear if QPR will become more successful.

I didn't want to waste too much time and so I just took a quick picture at a turnstile and headed on towards Fulham's Craven Cottage.


Shepherd's Bush Hammersmith

Craven Cottage - Ground of Fulham FC

Arrival at the ground: 17:41

When I was planning the tour, I decided from the top of my head that it would be a good idea to take the tube from Shepherd's Bush to Hammersmith and walk from there along the Themse to Craven Cottage. I was aware that this would mean walking about 2.5 km, but I felt that this was a good idea because the area is actually really nice. Afterwards I realized that I could have just taken a bus from Shepherd's Bush. The official journey planner gives you the option and states a travel time of 38 minutes. My option took me 45 minutes, so no harm done.

Another benefit from walking was, that the beautiful stadium with its unique facade slowly got closer and closer.

So it was pretty easy to get my turnstile shot, as I was walking along Stevenage Road, where all stadium entrances are located. With two grounds to go, I turned right after the Putney End and walked along the Themse Path towards Putney Bridge.


Putney Brentford

Griffin Park - Ground of Brentford FC

Arrival at the ground: 18:30

So after walking 2,4 km from Hammersmith to Craven Cottage, I had to walk another 2 km to get to Putney Station. The view of Craven Cottage from the other side of the river with the sun going down over London was great.

At that time, I had been on my stadium tour for 10 hours and my schedule worked out perfectly. At 18:08 h I got on the exact train which I was planning to take to go from Putney to Brentford. Yeah.

About 15 minutes later I arrived at Brentford, where the last piece of hurry was waiting for me. I had a total of 17 minutes to get from the station to the ground and back. It's not too far, about 700 meters one way, but I had the plan to touch the turnstile of Main Stand at Braemer Road. I did not waste any time and got back to the station in time to catch the train back to Putney.

By now, the dusk had gone and it got dark in London. I began to feel tired but I had the finish line right in front of me: Stamford Bridge.


Brentford Putney / East Putney Fulham Broadway

Stamford Bridge - Ground of Chelsea FC

Arrival at the ground: 19:13

The plan was to take the train from Brentford to Putney and to walk to the East Putney tube station from there. Fortunately I was able to get on a bus right outside Putney station, which dropped me off directly in front of the tube station. That saved me a 500 meters walk. The ride on the tube was short, just 3 stations on the District Line.

Of all 13 grounds I've visited on the day, Stamford Bridge has the shortest distance from the station to the ground. Save the best for the last. At 19.13 Uhr my hand touched the 13th turnstile and the mission was accomplished, 7 minutes before the scheduled finish.

As it was dark by now, there wasn't much to see of Stamford Bridge, so I lost no time and went to one of London's second best locations after football grounds: to the pub. Cheers.


A well deserved beer at the pub...


The tour is great and fun, but also exhausting. Sure, most of the time you just sit on a train, but if you sum up all the distances you walk, it's close to 20 km! Besides it's simply exhausting to be 11 hours straight on the road. If you're not up for this stress, then you should start the tour even earlier or do it in summer, when days are longer. That will give you the time for a longer break.

The schedule was perfect. There are almost no points I would do differently if I had to do the tour again. Sure, maybe you could save a few minutes at one point or another, e.g. by taking the bus from Shepherd's Bush to Craven Cottage. But in the end, the schedule was just fine.

The tour however is not for everybody. Keep in mind that you're on a tight schedule without much room to have a closer look at the grounds. The scheduled time at the grounds is oftentimes just enough to get to the ground and back to the station, and even that is sometimes close, e.g. the 27 mintues at Selhurst Park. If you actually want to walk around the ground, take some pictures aso, you should split up the tour and reserve tow days for it.

If you want to top it you could include Wembley Stadium into the Tour. A trip to Wembley would make sense between the visit at Underhill Stadium and Loftus Road. Additional time that has to be scheduled: about an hour.

Total kilometers approx. 160 km
Kilometers walked approx. 19 km

Hours on tour

approx. 11 h
Interchanges 26

Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace) 8:49
The Den (Millwall FC) 9:41

Valley (Charlton Athletic)

Victoria Road (Dagenham & Redbridge FC) 11:22
Upton Park (West Ham Utd) 11:54
Brisbane Road (Leyton Orient) 12:30
White Hart Lane (Tottenham Hotspur) 13:54
Emirates Stadium (Arsenal FC) 14:42
Underhill Stadium (Barnet FC) 15:44
Loftus Road (QPR) 17:00
Craven Cottage (Fulham FC) 17:41
Griffin Park (Brentford FC) 18:30
Stamford Bridge (Chelsea FC) 19:13

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