Your to-do list when arriving at Grand Royale London Hyde Park will no doubt be a long one. There are the obvious ones: Hyde Park itself, theatre productions on the West End, shopping at Portobello Market and of course a plethora of selfies along the way. But if you are a football fan – or even just vaguely interested in the sport that has the heart of most UK residents – then your real plan of action should be to b-line to any of these London hotspots to watch a game.
Belushi’s, with locations in Camden, Greenwich, Hammersmith, London Bridge and Shepard’s Bush – all totally manageable from the Sussex Gardens hotels London – is the perfect spot for both the football fanatic who likes screaming alongside a room of fellow supporters, as well as those who prefer a bit of privacy when watching. This is because there are big screens and bar-height tables and stools, as well as booths with private screens. Belushi’s is special because you can also catch some NFL American football – though you can safely assume that is not what the British are talking about when they suggest you watch the football, or what other countries sometimes call “soccer”. You have the choice of pub-grub style burgers and wings, as well as an impressive menu of bar snacks. The chilli nachos are the real kickers of this sporting occasion!
Address: 48-50 Camden High St, London NW1 0LT (Camden)
St Christophers Inn, 189 Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, London SE10 8JA (Greenwich)
28 Hammersmith Broadway, Hammersmith, London W6 7AB (Hammersmith)
161-165, Borough High St, London SE1 1HR (London Bridge)
13-15 Shepherd’s Bush Green, Hammersmith, London W12 8PH (Shepard’s Bush)
If the world was coming to an end, World’s End in Camden would not be a bad spot to spend your last moments provided you like live sports, freshly brewed beer straight from the tank and BBQ-style food. They have big screens that locals crowd around to watch live sports matching and the atmosphere is always buzzing, which is exactly what you need with this sort of community-driven sport. Nobody’s world’s ending with the fun in store at this wholesome pub right by Camden Town underground station, even if the results are not in your favour.
Address: 174 Camden High St, Camden Town, London NW1 0NE
The Ship in Wandsworth is the perfect setting to enjoy football while still having a top-class London experience – the kind that keeps Central London hotel deals flying off the shelves. It is perched on the River Thames in South West London’s homely borough of Wandsworth and the best kind of mix of rustic British dining and a bustling pub vibe. They keep on top of most sports fixtures and are not the type to miss the footy – so head there early, get a table, order a couple rounds and get some hearty food in you to ensure you have all the energy you need to chant your team’s anthem.
Address: 41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London SW18 1TB
Pub on the Park
This pub in Hackney is so close to London Fields that if someone were kicking a ball around in it, you would have as good a view from your table as you do of the screens throughout the pub. They screen Premier League and Champions League Football year-round, no matter the weather. If the weather is good, the TVs outside in the beer garden and on the park-side terrace are in full action. Otherwise, being nestled inside by the heaters is just as good an option.
Address: 19 Martello St, London E8 3PE
The Chelsea Pensioner
Watching football in London’s west side’s Chelsea is a double-whammy for prime London-experiences, given that it is not only an iconic neighbourhood for shopping, food and art, but it is also home to one of the UK’s most popular football teams – Chelsea Football Club. If you can’t nab tickets to watch at Chelsea’s home stadium, Stamford Bridge, by Fulham Broadway, then The Chelsea Pensioner a stone’s throw away is the next best thing! You will likely bump into some fans pre and post-match, too, so you will really get a feel for the spirit of it all.
Address: 358 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 9UU
If you’ve heard of The Emirates Stadium, also known as Ashburton Grove or Arsenal Stadium, then you are probably familiar with Arsenal Football Club. If you are not familiar with it, it is another of the UK’s most famous football clubs, known for footballers like Thierry Henry and Tony Adams. If you can’t get tickets to watch them play on their home ground, worry not: you can get pretty close (so close you can hear the cheers) from inside the Tollington Arms. Think plasma screen TVs playing the game, cask ales and Thai food – a winning combination.
Address: 115 Hornsey Rd, London N7 6DN
A short skip and a hop from the Grand Royale London Hyde Park, you will find The Victoria, which is not only a Paddington-must-see and a gem of the area, but an excellent spot to watch some football if that is what you fancy. Think plush 19th-century interior and modern-British pub-style food. The Victoria is your port of call for all the big games, but if you chat to the staff, they can often make a plan to ensure your fixture features.
Address: 10A Strathearn Pl, Paddington, London W2 2NH
So, kick-off your stay in London with a kick off.
Head to any of these excellent spots for some food, drinks and a football match to tick off the UK-experience-list. Overall, being a part of the buzz of competitive merriment is an experience that everyone should have, especially considering how widespread and loved it is across the UK.
Don’t worry, you do not have to be on the sidelines at West Ham or Tottenham stadiums to get the full footy experience, though – in fact, there is an argument to be made for the experience in itself that is found in the pub-culture surrounding the sport. It is an excellent display of unity, camaraderie, community and just a lot of fun.