The Road to Wembley

wembley cc gouldy7

Gooner Vic Crescit has a lot of experience travelling to Wembley over the years and Arsenal are back this season for their FA Cup semi-final against Wigan Athletic on Saturday. On Sunday its Yorkshire's turn as Hull City play Sheffield United. With 180,000 fans heading to north-west London it makes sense to swot up on the best transport routes and Vic offers some tips below…

If you're coming down to Wembley by scheduled public transport then my recommendation (for the able-bodied at least, wheelchair users see below) is that you take the Metropolitan Line out to Wembley.

For maximum comfort board at Farringdon or Barbican taking any Metropolitan Line train bound for Watford, Amersham, Chesham or Uxbridge. Getting on early avoids the madding crowds sardining on at King's Cross and Baker Street. You'll get a seat before they pile on.

Wembley Park station is also served by the Jubilee Line but this service is appreciably slower as there are six stops between Baker Street and Wembley Park to the Metropolitan Line's two.

After the game I strongly recommend that you return to central London on the Chiltern Line train from Wembley Stadium station which is adjacent to the ground in the south-west corner (near turnstile block M). The station is well signposted from the external circulating concourse outside the ground. You will wait a third of the time for a non-stop train to Marylebone than you will for a Tube at Wembley Park.

If you have one you can use your Pay As You Go Transport for London Oyster card on the Chiltern Line. If you do, don't forget to touch in using the circular yellow Oyster electronic reader which is situated at the top of the stairs down to the platform at Wembley Stadium station.

Likewise don't forget to touch out at the barriers when you get to Marylebone station even though the barriers will almost certainly be open. Failure to do so will result in you being stiffed for the maximum network single fare.

From the stop just outside Marylebone station you can take the frequent 205 bus service which stops at both Euston and King's Cross stations. This is quicker than taking the Bakerloo Line one stop and changing at Baker Street or walking to Baker Street. If you look at the bus stop there is a code number which if you send a text to 87287 will tell how many minutes you'll have to wait for the next bus.

If you don't have an Oyster card buy an off-peak one day TfL Travelcard for zones 1-4. This will cost you £7.70 for unlimited travel on the Underground, Overground, buses, trams, the Docklands Light Railway and suburban trains within zones 1-4 all day on either Saturday or Sunday. Pay As You Go Oyster cards automatically cap fares deducted at the same level as a one-day Travelcard.

Travelcards can be bought at any ticket machine in any London Underground station, the London Transport Information Office on the concourse of Euston railway station and any shop displaying the blue Oyster ticket shop sign. Ticket machines accept cash and debit/credit cards and give change.

If you want to get an Oyster card this will cost you a one-off £5 fee refundable on surrendering the card. They can be charged up when bought, at any ticket machine or Oyster shop. The machines accept cash including £5, £10 and £20 notes and give change as well as debit/credit cards.

What you don't want to do is pay for fares in cash. The single Underground fare to Wembley Park is £5.70 paying cash as opposed to £3.80 using an Oyster card. The cash fare on the Chiltern Line from Wembley Stadium station to Marylebone is £5.

The other alternative for those arriving at Euston is take the London Midland suburban train to Wembley Central station. It's a bit of a schlep walking from there to the ground but it's there if you want it. Wembley Central is also served by the Bakerloo Line.

If you're a wheelchair user your choices are limited. Only the London Midland line at Euston has step free access to the platform (but you'll need assistance to board the train. Likewise at Wembley Central which is platform to street step-free only). All London Buses are now wheelchair accessible.

If arriving at Euston your best bet is take a bus from the bus stands in front of the station to King's Cross which has step free street to train access for the Metropolitan Line. Likewise at Wembley Park. Wembley Stadium station is impossible for wheelchair users.

If you're arriving at the ground there are lifts from ground level to the main concourse on Level 1. Allow plenty of time for this however as there are usually long queues on event days. There are plenty of disabled access khazis for both sexes both inside the ground and on the Level 1 concourse outside the ground.

For the blind/partially sighted all London Underground and Bus services have recorded "next stop" announcements.

Finally, refreshments. Bring your own. The prices of the official catering are astronomical and glaciers move faster than the Wembley kiosk queues. The "selection" of beer is limited and I wouldn't serve the bitter to Spurs fans. Take your own food and drink (no bottles or cans, cartons only) or eat and drink before or after the game well away from the ground.

There you go. The Fat Gooner's guide to Wembley.

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Thanks to Gouldy99 for the image reproduced under CC license.