Top 10 London Football Clubs You Need to Visit

Tags: #Soccer ,   #footballislife ,   #Football ,   #PremierLeague

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2023-06-09 14:30:09

Football culture in England is incredible, with over 40,000 registered teams. While the focus is on the Premier League, even local competitions draw thousands every week. Naturally, London is the capital of British football, with the most teams at a professional level. All these clubs have an incredible history and are worth visiting if you ever come to the city. Yet, we'll focus on the ten best among them that should provide the most value. However, we won't rank them on their current status, which can quickly change. Instead, we'll judge them by their history, traditions, stadium experience, and several other factors.

10. Charlton Athletic

Your typical but gorgeous English stadium
Founded: 1905
Major trophies won: F.A. Cup
Main rivals: Millwall
Stadium tour: Very affordable
Club facts

Glory days are way behind Charlton Athletic, but it still deserves a place here. The club was at its peak 70+ years ago, as they once even finished second in the top division. Furthermore, they also won the F.A. Cup in 1947. Yet, since then, the club is usually playing in the lower leagues, with a few Premier League spells. The biggest thing about Charlton is the tradition, as even their stadium is over a hundred years old.

Of course, it's been modernized and has a surprisingly big capacity. Luckily, the fans are passionate, so they come in huge numbers even when the club plays in League One. Additionally, the stadium tour is affordable and includes every corner of the stadium. If you want to experience a typical English stadium and save some money, this is an excellent choice.

9. Crystal Palace F. C.

No one will be disappointed when visiting Crystal Palace
Founded: 1905
Major trophies won: None
Main rivals: Millwall
Stadium tour: Decent, but not among the best
Club facts

Crystal Palace has some incredible similarities with West Ham United. Both clubs never won the English league, and both only finished 3rd once. Palace did it five years after West Ham (in the 1990/91 season), but more was needed for a place in Europe! Unfortunately, the club never won a major trophy and is often out of the top division. With a strong fan community that has a significant impact on the club, Palace is a real, local club, which slowly becomes a rarity.

A hundred years old Selhurst Park is another classic English stadium that continues to expand while keeping its original shape. Thus it's a joy to watch the home team, especially from the main stand. The stadium tour is worthwhile, as you can visit almost every area. However, paying a bit more for Chelsea or Arsenal tour is a better value.

8. Brentford F.C.

Brentford was ready for the Premier League
Founded: 1889
Major trophies won: None
Main rivals: Fulham
Stadium tour: Modest and with limited availability
Club facts

Before entering their first Premier League season (2021-22), only a few knew about Brentford. Previously they played in the top division in the 1946-47 season! Furthermore, they never won a single trophy and are the only club on our list that has yet to reach the cup final. Thus, the team is still less recognizable than any other on our list. That may even work to their advantage, giving them an exotic vibe. While the club is very old, their stadium isn't. This modern facility is ready for international matches, but it still has a traditional design and average capacity.

Still, a stadium tour isn't something we can recommend, not only because the experience doesn't get you much for your money. The bigger problem is that it isn't even available to non-season ticket holders. Thus, it's much better to buy tickets for a game, especially when the team is playing in the Premier League. 

7. Queens Park Rangers

A lovely stadium to visit on a sunny day
Founded: 1886
Major trophies won: League Cup
Main rivals: Chelsea
Stadium tour: Affordable
Club facts

Queens Park Rangers is a club with lots of ups and down in its history. Thus, they fought for the top division title but also barely escaped relegation to the third division. In its glory days, the club even lost a title against Liverpool by a single point! Furthermore, they played in the final of every significant national cup and won the League Cup. Yet, their European record is relatively modest, with a single UEFA Cup quarterfinal.

Despite mostly playing in the lower division, the club still has tremendous support. Furthermore, while their stadium isn't among the biggest, it is very traditional and over a hundred years old! Therefore, do book a stadium tour which is available on non-match days. It includes a visit to the tunnel and, of course, the pitchside. If you ever want to relieve the spirit of English football, this is the right place to do it.

6. Millwall F.C.

Visiting Millwall is exciting, even on non-match days
Founded: 1885 (as Millwall Rovers)
Major trophies won: None
Main rivals: West Ham United
Stadium tour: Affordable
Club facts

It's fascinating that Millwall has won no major trophy, even though the club was founded in 1885! Yet, they are still world-famous, as it's been featured in many documentaries, movies, and famous British TV shows. The lack of success compared to their main rivals, Leeds United and West Ham United, made them eternal undergods. Yet, fans made Millwall infamous since they were known as the most dangerous in the country. Still, that's all in the past now, and visiting Millwall is a safe experience.

Yet, the fans remain passionate, so the stadium is often almost full, despite the team not being in the Premier League. Similar to some other stadiums on our list, their home ground is your typical, rather cozy English arena. Additionally, you can book an hour-long stadium tour, available even for non-season ticket holders. While the club lacks major trophies, you'll take a look at every part of the club and learn many fascinating facts. 

5. Fulham F.C. 

Surprisingly great stadium tour
Founded: 1879 (as St Andrews Cricket & Football Club)
Major trophies won: None
Main rivals: Chelsea
Stadium tour: Thorough and worthwhile, despite empty trophy room
Club facts

When you say "tradition," you mean Fulham! When your club and your stadium were both created in the 19th century, that says a lot. This is still a people's club with a soul, although it's eternally in the shadows of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Still, it's surprising that the club never won anything, with their most significant success being the Europa League final in 2010. In the elite division, they never managed higher than 7th (2008-09), and even then, they won only 14 out of 38 games. Yet, knowing their budget, it is impossible to call Fulham underachievers.

While the club has a less passionate following, the supporters saved their home stadium, Craven Cottage. Also, you can visit the stadium, and unlike some other guided tours, you can see pretty much everything. We recommend the Player Experience tour, where you can even step on the pitch and take penalties. Yet, these events are pretty rare, so you'll need a bit of effort and luck to schedule them.

4. West Ham United F.C.

Another great stadium tour option
Founded: 1900
Major trophies won: F.A. Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, Conference League
Main rivals: Tottenham Hotspur
Stadium tour: Worthwhile, with several options
Club facts

It sounds incredible, but West Ham United never won the English League title! In fact, they were only once in the running, as in the 1985/86 season, they finished third, four points behind the champion. Still, unlike some other clubs on the list, they've won several F.A. Cups, Cup Winners' Cup and Conference League. Unsurprisingly, they spent most of their seasons in the top division and are rarely out of it. Furthermore, they have some of the most passionate fans in England, sharing some similarities with ultras in South America and Southern Europe.

Thus visiting one of their games is worthwhile because of the unique atmosphere. When you support a club that isn't even in the top three in your city, that's true love! Surprisingly, West Ham has one of the biggest stadiums in England - London Stadium, built for the 2012 Olympic Games. Thus, a stadium tour is a must, as you can even sit on the bench, walk on the Olympic warm-up track and check the home dressing room. There are even matchday tours, although they don't include game tickets.

3. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 

The top crop of modern football stadiums
Founded: 1882
Major trophies won: League, F.A. Cup, League Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Cup
Main rivals: Arsenal
Stadium tour: Excellent, with several options available
Club facts

When it comes to the biggest underachievers in English football, no one beats Tottenham! Despite all the money and ambition, the club only won a few league titles and none in the Premier League. Absurdly, they are doing much better in cup competitions, including several European trophies. Still, more is needed to satisfy fans, as the club rarely fights for the league title. Yet, there's no doubt that Tottenham is a massive club, and you can see it everywhere.

Its Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a thing of beauty, a modern facility perfect for enjoying the game. Expectedly, stadium tours offer several options, including a match day tour, for a bit of extra money. If you want to experience the modern-age English football culture, then Hotspurs are a great option... unless you are Gunner at heart!

2. Chelsea F.C. 

There are plenty of things to do and see at the Chelsea stadium tour
Founded: 1905
Major trophies won: League, F.A. Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Europa League, Cup Winners' Cup
Main rivals: Arsenal
Stadium tour: Excellent, offered in several packages
Club facts

Through its first 100 years, Chelsea won a league title, several national cups, and even two Cup Winners' Cups. Yet, no one would list them among the crop of English football. That changed in 2003 once Roman Abramovich took over the club, rapidly altering it for the better. Since then, they won numerous trophies, including the Premier League, Champions League, and Europa League. Thus, they are part of the "Big Six."

In many ways, Chelsea is now the biggest club in London. They are certainly way more successful in Europe and the Premier League than their main rival, Arsenal. Chelsea also has one of the oldest stadiums in the world, as Stamford Bridge was built in 1877. Thus it is decades older than the club! Chelsea also has one of the best stadium tours in England, and you can even meet some of the legends in more expensive packages. However, the regular tour is affordable, only slightly more expensive than what you get in much less popular clubs.

1. Arsenal F.C.

Arsenal's stadium looks better every year
Founded: 1886 (As Dial Square)
Major trophies won: League, F.A. Cup, League Cup, Cup Winners' Cup
Main rivals: Tottenham Hotspur
Stadium tour: Excellent, but the most expensive in the city
Club facts

While they are inconsistent in the 21st century, Arsenal is undoubtedly the biggest London football club. That's even though it took them almost half a century before they won their first trophy! Yet, since then, Arsenal has won a lot in domestic football, including more than a dozen league titles. However, they seriously need more international success and are among the best teams never to win the Champions League. Yet, Arsenal is rarely out of the top four in English football, although usually behind their city rival, Chelsea.

Arsenal plays at the modern Emirates Stadium, one of the biggest in England. However, many didn't like it, feeling that it lacked the atmosphere of their previous home ground. Additionally, it was so expensive to build that the club couldn't afford quality players. Yet, gradually, things improved with the help of fans, as the club listened to their suggestions. Thus, Emirates may be the best stadium to visit on our list. Expectedly, Arsenal has some of the best tours in England, with many options. There's even a massive four-hour-long VIP experience, where you'll even meet club legends.

Of course, our list is just a neutral suggestion, so your favorite club should be your priority. Visiting some London football clubs not on our list is also a great idea, even if they don't offer a stadium tour. Therefore, check out Wembley F.C., Enfield Town, or even obscure Uxbridge F.C., the oldest club in the city. Just mixing with locals and soaking up the atmosphere no one should miss while in England. This is a cultural experience you'll enjoy more than you can imagine.

What is your favorite London football club? What was the first match you ever watched in England?

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