Whether you’re a lifelong Red who’s always dreamed of watching from the Kop, or you wouldn’t open the curtains if they were playing in your back garden, a trip to Anfield is still an entertaining experience. Football is almost a religion here, and a visit to the home of Liverpool FC can give a real insight into the pride and passion the locals have for their team. Tickets for a match may be like gold dust but, with exciting stadium tours and the highly engaging Liverpool FC Museum, there’s no need to miss out on an unforgettable Anfield experience.
Now famous for its Kop stand and amazing big-game atmosphere, Anfield Stadium first opened in 1884 when it was originally the home of local rivals Everton. After a dispute over the land, Everton moved to Goodison Park and Anfield’s owner was left with an empty stadium. He formed Liverpool FC and the club played its first game at Anfield in 1892 to a crowd of 200 spectators.
How times change. A recent £260m revamp saw the Main Stand extended by 8,000 extra seats, to give the iconic stadium a capacity of 54,074, adding to the thrilling atmosphere on match days – and making it the sixth largest stadium in the UK.
There are plenty of things you won’t want to miss if you visit here – in fact the club’s history can be seen written into the very fabric of the building. Get goosebumps as you walk through the Shankly Gates, named after the beloved former manager of the club. They’re emblazoned with the words “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the title of the club’s tear-jerking anthem. Then there’s the Hillsborough memorial with its eternal flame, a touching reminder of the 96 fans who lost their lives in a crush at Sheffield’s home ground.
If you’re not lucky enough to get tickets for a match, a stadium tour is definitely the next best thing. Take a look at the newly expanded Main Stand and then take your seat in the Kop – even if you’re not exactly a die-hard fan, the sheer scale of the place won’t fail to impress you. See how the other half live (and get some of the best views of the pitch) from the director’s box and then explore the manager’s dug-out for the perfect photo opportunity.
All the tours are run by friendly guides who are skilled at answering questions and extremely knowledgeable about the club.
The Liverpool FC Story is the club’s interactive museum and it’s full of memorabilia from the club’s 120-year history. All of its five European trophies are on display here alongside an impressive array of silverware.
There are state-of-the-art displays that are accompanied by a 40-minute commentary on a multimedia handset. And to keep the children (and big children) entertained, there are plenty of interactive games to play – they even get to take a penalty at the European Cup final.
Tickets cost around £17 per adult and £12 per child, and many offer a combined museum and meal deal, with food available in the Boot Room Sports Café.
The ground is three miles away from Liverpool city centre and very easy to get to. Of course on match days, it gets incredibly busy around the ground and driving here is not advised. Far better to join the crowds and soak up the atmosphere on public transport!
Anfield is easy to get to by car – unless it’s a match day! If you’re driving for a stadium tour or to visit the museum, put the postcode L4 0TH into your sat nav. The ground is four miles from the M62, and seven miles from the end of the M57 and M58. If you’re coming from the city centre, you’ll find it well-signposted.
There’s a dedicated express bus service that ferries fans from Liverpool city centre to the ground on match days. But on normal days, the ground is well served by buses, too. You can take the 26 from Liverpool ONE bus station, the 17 from Queen Square Bus Station or the 917 from St Johns Lane, directly to the ground.
Liverpool Lime Street is just two miles away from Anfield, or you can get a train to Liverpool South Parkway which connects to Merseyrail’s Northern Line. Get off at Sandhills station where you can catch a Soccerbus on match days, or walk to the ground in less than 30 minutes.
On a non matchday, you can leave your car in Anfield’s secure car park which you’ll find in the Centenary Stand. The main entrance to this is on Walton Breck Road. Just remember that even when the Reds aren’t playing, spaces are still limited and are available on a first come first served basis.
Anfield’s well set up for cyclists, offering a free, secure service called Cycle Hub. Available on match days, you’ll find this excellent facility in Stanley Park car park. Just ride to Cycle Hub and drop your bike off with an attendant, get a receipt then it’s a few minutes’ walk to the stadium. Locks are provided, but you can use your own if you wish.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport is about 10 miles from Anfield and from here you can either hop in a taxi from the rank of hackney carriages waiting outside, or catch the bus. Many go to Liverpool ONE bus station (although the quickest service is the 500 as it has limited stops), where you can change onto the 26 to take you Anfield.
In 2017 the club will be starting brand new tours of the revamped stadium which will include the players’ dressing room, press area and tunnel. These will be self-guided where you get a handset with running commentary.
Watching Liverpool FC play at their iconic stadium gives a real flavour of the pride and passion the city is famous for. Sadly, tickets for a game are hard to come by, with demand significantly exceeding supply. Luckily, we have tips on buying tickets, and what you can expect at Anfield if you come here on match days.
It’s extremely hard to get matchday tickets, but not impossible. Tickets always go on sale to Liverpool FC members first, before going on general sale four weeks before the game. One way to ensure you can secure tickets is to buy a hospitality package - this includes a meal with tickets to the game. These are obviously more expensive, but well worth it for a special treat.
There are a limited number of disabled parking spaces at Anfield, but once inside you’ll find the stadium well-equipped with disabled toilets, lift access and viewing areas for wheelchair users. There’s a commentary service for the visually impaired and most eating concessions, including The Boot Room Sports Café and kiosk, have lowered counters.
When it comes to atmosphere, the best place to sit by far is in the Kop, although tickets for this stand sell out fast. The Upper Centenary is also good for atmosphere, but can be more expensive. The recently refurbished Main Stand is great for facilities, but there are some obscured views here (although seats with restricted views are offered at a discount).
Besides the newly refurbished Paddock Bar in the Main Stand, the recent revamp has seen the club open two new Fan Zones. These excellent spaces open four hours before kick-off, to allow fans to meet, grab something to eat and drink from the many food concessions on offer and soak up the atmosphere. The Fan Zones are completely family friendly and there’s plenty of entertainment laid on.
Whether you’re at Anfield for a game or a trip to the museum, you’ll find plenty of places to eat and drink nearby.
Besides the food and drink concessions that only open on match days, the Boot Room Sports Café is open every day from 11am. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re enjoying a tour or a trip to the museum. Family friendly, it serves burgers, pizzas, steak and pasta and shows live sports on its many TV screens.
There are plenty of pubs and burger vans outside the ground. But for something different, try HomeBaked Anfield. Right opposite the ground, it’s a community bakery serving fresh pies and sausage rolls. Or there’s Georgie Porgy, a lovely family run café that’s filled with football memorabilia.
Liverpool is one of England’s most cosmopolitan cities and was the 2008 European capital of culture. Whether you’re passing through, looking for heritage, pop culture and entertainment, checking out the universities, or planning a weekend break, there are plenty of reasons to book a hotel room in Liverpool. And with quaint fishing villages and market towns on its doorstep, there's so much to see and do in the surrounding area of Merseyside.