A trip to The Theatre of Dreams is, well, stuff of dreams. You’ve dreamt of it since the first time you saw Manchester United take the field. And every time you can hear the roaring noise of the Stretford End through your TV screen, that want just intensifies.
While a trip to Old Trafford will always be special, no matter what you do, we have tried here to compile here a list of things to do to further add to the experience if you are an overseas red. These are based on our own experiences and those of our clients and friends.
How do I get match tickets?
Getting a match ticket to watch Manchester United play live, without bleeding yourself dry to a tout, or waiting till last second to get one through a ballot is a chance you might not want to take. Worrying whether you’ll get one till the last second is the trickiest part of the trip. But don’t fret. Get yours from Beanstalk. Not only do we offer the option of getting guaranteed allocation official tickets, we also have tie-ups with official ticketing partners for the best prices on other general and hospitality tickets.
Manchester United Supporters Club Mumbai members at Old Trafford after United’s 2 – 1 win versus Liverpool in March 2018
How Long Should I Stay In Manchester?
At the minimum, we recommend a two-night stay, where you fly into Manchester as early as you can on day one, so in case there are delays, you still have enough time on your hands to cover everything you want to.
Where Do I Stay?
Option 1 – Near Piccadilly station.
This is essentially the heart of Manchester and is well connected to all parts of Manchester with train, bus and tram stations all within a 5 min walk of each other. Amongst the various options available, the X50 bus gets you to Old Trafford in about 15 minutes with minimal stops and is our favorite mode of public transport to get there. There are various hotels and rental apartments options available here for every budget.
Portland Street and the by-lanes are lined with lots of great pubs and restaurants and the area is lively throughout the night. The city centre also has the newly opened National Football Museum which we highly recommend visiting.
Option 2 – Hotel Football
Overlooking Old Trafford and pioneered by none other than Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, Hotel Football is a football fan’s paradise. Their rooms boast of “bespoke Class Of ’92 Toiletries” and the hotel itself offers interesting eating and drinking options. They also have their very own match-day experiences if you’re willing to shell that little extra to stand a chance to meet a legend. You might run into one of the Class of ’92 while you stay at the hotel even otherwise if it’s your lucky day.
Be warned though, rooms here sell out well in advance of match-days so make sure you plan in time.
Hotel Football is as close as you can stay to Old Trafford
Option 3 – The Lowry Hotel
One of Manchester’s most luxurious hotels, The Lowry is the hotel preferred by the United Squad players, and if you’re lucky you might bump in to them in the elevator from when they check in one day prior and board the team bus for the game. However, it’s not guaranteed they’ll be staying here when you go, so don’t come looking for us for refunds.
(Psst – Beanstalk can help you book any of these hotel options as well!)
Okay, I’m here. What should I do?
Check in, make yourself comfortable, and then head to Old Trafford for a day you’ll tell your grandkids about.
Call ahead and reserve yourself a seat for lunch at the Red Café (We recommend you get there by 1:30pm.). Their food is not overtly expensive and you can feel the excitement build as you have your first beer at Old Trafford!
Once you’re done with lunch, jump next door for the Museum and Stadium tour. Again, book the stadium tour in advance. Depending on the timing of your tour, you can either go through the museum and look at the trophies (there’s a LOT of them) and other match memorabilia before or after the tour. The stadium tour itself will take you across the stadium and the guide provides you with some brilliant facts and insights. You end the tour with a hair-raising experience as you sit in the players’ dressing room before being escorted to the Old Trafford dugout!
After the tour, make sure you have your cameras ready and a marker to get your jersey signed. Before a home game, the players generally park their cars at Old Trafford, and before getting on the team bus, a few of them oblige lucky fans with pictures and autographs. We’ve met players on two different occasions, but each match is treated differently and you might want to check with the stewards at Old Trafford to see if and when the players are coming in that day.
We met Juan Mata & Nemanja Matic at the stadium, and Gary Neville at Hotel Football.
After you’ve recovered from the weak knees, you could go to “The OTSC” at Hotel Football and help the feeling sink in with a beer. Then head to the city center and revel in the city’s nightlife. Try not to get too drunk though, you don’t want a hangover for match-day!
The town is abuzz with excitement from Manchester United fans and everything is happening at Old Trafford. There’s food carts with a delicious array of food, great unofficial merchandise, and a lot of beer and singing. You should get there about two and half hours before kick off so you can stuff your faces and hit a pub with two hours to go.
The Bishop Blaize
The most popular pre-gaming venue with the loud and proud Manchester United fans, The Bishop Blaize is one of the liveliest places to be at before a game. With singing and chanting nonstop from a long time before kick-off, this place is our personal favourite.
“Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee’ll drink a drink a drink…” The atmosphere at the The Bishop Blaize before kick off is electrifying
Red Café/ Hotel Football
Hotel Football boasts of a match-day experience as do United themselves. Both of these are a more “formal” affair though.
While the pubs offer a great atmosphere, the hospitality options offer the chance to possibly meet a Manchester United legend and savour a good meal before the game.
After the game, depending on the result and where you’ve been, you can head to the place you didn’t go to before the game! The OTSC at Hotel Football often has some entertainment such as a live band perform after the game, while there’s more singing and chanting at the The Bishop Blaize.
While this is our guide to making the most of your trip to Old Trafford, every experience is unique. Especially the first visit. And we hope your first one leaves you with memories that give you goose bumps every time you recollect it.
No matter what you do, don’t forget that this is a moment you will cherish forever. You did go to the place where you belong, to Old Trafford, to see United, you went home, United road.