During Trinity term I was lucky enough to have my brother visit me in Oxford for an entire week. When I asked him what he wanted to do during our day in London, there was one item on his list: tour the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal F.C. I grew up watching my brother play soccer so I’ve always been a fan of the game, but I’m definitely not as invested in this team as he is. Figuring it would be at least something out of the ordinary to do, we made our way all the way out to the stadium.
As per usual, I completely underestimated how fun this tour would be.
We chose to do the audio tour, mostly because it was comprehensive enough and had the added bonus of allowing us to go at our own pace. I love audio tours in general due to their reliability, flexibility, and clarity. Everything is spelled out for you in great detail, from where you need to go next on your tour to the history and relevance of everything you see. There’s no need to worry about keeping up with a group or being able to hear the tour guide with audio tours; rather, you’re completely in control of how long the tour takes you, where you stop to take photos, how long you spend in each location, how much information you’d like to hear, etc. If you’re a planner like me, then audio tours are the perfect way to satisfy that planning urge while still leaving room for surprises in the mix.
One of my favorite parts of this tour is the amazing view of the field. Usually you’re able to actually walk out on the field, but unfortunately they were seeding the grass (or something to that effect) when we were touring so we weren’t able to do so. However, they did allow us to sit in seats really close to the field for an even better view, so I was happy with that compromise! It’s surreal to stand in the midst of an otherwise empty stadium, staring out at all of the seats that are usually filled with screaming fans. The stadium felt oddly smaller than one would think, although perhaps that’s simply because my brother and I are used to the enormous football stadium back home. Either way, the combination of bright green grass and clear blue sky was absolutely gorgeous!
My other favorite part of the tour was being able to go inside both locker rooms. When you first enter the away team’s locker room, your initial thought is: Okay, this is a pretty great locker room. But then you enter the ARSENAL locker room and your initial thought is: Now THIS is a locker room!! The difference in locker rooms is astounding and hilarious: the Arsenal locker room is complete with gym equipment, places for physical therapy/injury repair, and even a JACUZZI. The benches in front of the cubby holes are cushioned and each player has a journey hanging up on the wall. It’s safe to say that Arsenal definitely changes in style!
All in all, I would highly recommend the tour of the Arsenal stadium to anyone even remotely interested in soccer. Not only is it fascinating to see how a stadium operates behind the scenes, but it’s also such an amazing feeling being privy to all of this insider info. This tour will definitely give me a new perspective the next time I watch an Arsenal game on TV!
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Have you ever been to the Emirates Stadium? Are you a fan of Arsenal? Let me know in the comments section below!