Anyone can get a kick out of this football tour

Date Posted: 04/05/2012

Rob Yandell took the new audio tour of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and found something with a wider appeal than you might imagine. Superbly executed; it should hit the spot for those in search of fresh ideas, whether you’re a group of football fans or not.

I left the changing room and headed up the tunnel to the roar of the crowd and took my seat in the Arsenal manager’s chair. It’s not every day you get to gaze across the pitch of the Emirates Stadium through the eyes of Premier League-winning manager, Arsène Wenger.

Whether you’re a football fan or not, the tour of this magnificent 21st century stadium is insightful, interesting and surprising. Plus, it’s flexible for a group visit with tickets now also being sold through group specialist, Ticketmaster.

Group tours at a time that suits

The flexibility comes from the recent introduction of the audio tour, which has meant groups aren't restricted to specific tour time. Tours take place every day except match days, between 10.15am and 3.45pm and you can arrive at any point between these times. Depending on your level of interest, the people within your party can wander at their own pace. I enjoyed the fact it’s as light or as in-depth as you like; you’re in control.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper and football pundit, Bob Wilson adds his dulcet tones to the excellent narration through your handheld device, and the video element gives a new dimension to the overall experience. There is a considered blend of the club’s history and tradition, as well as its forward-thinking approach and continual evolution.

Interviews with the manager in addition to current playing stars such as Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott reveal how they all prepare for match day and what it’s like arriving at the players’ entrance. There’s also match action to enjoy should you wish.

Explore the Directors' Box and VIP areas

From the Directors’ Box to the Diamond Club, which boasts a top restaurant and facilities enjoyed by celebrities and world leaders, you get to explore true VIP areas and behind-the-scenes. The access you are given is quite remarkable.

The level of detail and work that went in to building this truly modern, world-class venue is truly impressive. With Arsène Wenger fully involved in many aspects of the stadium’s plans; it was fun and intriguing to learn how different layouts and designs have been used to gain any slight advantage over opposing teams.

Having only moved to their new home in 2006, the 60,000-seater stadium doesn’t lack any atmosphere. It’s already seen some of the world’s best footballers apply their trade, as well as live concerts from the biggest names in the music business.

The fact that you are in control of your own tour means you can stay a little longer in a particular area of interest and enjoy additional content via your audio and video tour. Plus, staff are on hand to answer questions and share stories.

Friendly staff leave a lasting impression

In fact, it was the staff at Arsenal that left a lasting impression. Nothing was too much trouble and their genuine, friendly approach to visitors was a breath of fresh air. I find good service is sometimes a rare commodity so it generally resonates. Always nice to know when organising group travel when your responsible for someone else's enjoyment.

I confess I am no Arsenal supporter, but as a football fan I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. But what I could clearly see was how this could still be a great group trip even for those not as fascinated by the ‘beautiful game’. Group travel organisers take note: this could be something people will be talking about for seasons to come. You might even get one or two Arsenal converts.

The Legends Tour

Perhaps more appealing to those with an affinity with Arsenal or for true football fans; you can be shown around the Emirates Stadium by a hero from yesteryear. So in addition to enjoying the tour you can hear tales and thoughts from the likes of FA Cup winner, Charlie George or star right back, Lee Dixon to name but two. You will also receive a personalised signed photo of the legend and a limited edition Legends Tour gift.

The Museum

To complement your group visit, you will be able to have a look around the club museum included in the price of your tour.

Exhibits include cup final shirts, trophy-winning boots; which along with a mass of memorabilia and interactive elements provide you with further insight into the history and success of the football club.

Prices:

  • Standard group rate: £15.75 for adults and £8.10 for concessions.
  • School/education rate: £8.10 for children, £15.75 for adults and one free teacher ticket per group.

Group tickets for the Emirates Tour are now available through Ticketmaster Groups. Group travel organisers will find an experienced team to handle their enquiry and the benefit of discounted rates and support.

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