Before I headed on my first ever First Class flight with Lufthansa to Singapore via Hong Kong, I had some time before the flight in Manchester. I finally decided to visit the National Football Museum in the city What could be more interesting than spending time in the holy grounds of one of England’s national sports? Here is a review of my stay.
National Football Museum – Location & Admission
The museum is located in the heart of the city. Manchester Arena and Manchester Victoria station are closeby. If you use the Metrolink system, the Exchange Square station is just a short walk away. There are a lot of shopping and dining options around.
The museum used to be free entry. The city recently changed it. Locals still enjoy free entry. For tourists, there is a 10 GBP admission, roughly 12 Euro. However, you may use this ticket for re-entry for up to one year.
Walk of Fame
Before you enter the National Football Museum, you just cannot miss the “Walk of Fame” with the soccer superheroes (man and women). It is a very nice and atmospheric start of your visit.
National Football Museum – The Museum
In the entrance area of the museum, the eyecatcher is a presentation of jerseys definitely. After admission, one element you look out of is the diagonal elevator which is connecting all levels of the exhibition.
While the Hall of Fame (below) is on entrance level, three additional levels host the exhibition. Fourth floor hosts a Learning Zone, which I did not visit. Stairs connect the levels as well.
The Hall of Fame
The first place you visit, though, is likely the National Football Hall of Fame, which honors the best players of the sports (mainly those you left their impact in UK soccer, of course). There are even some Germany nominates, like goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, who is a Manchester City legend with over 500 matches for the club. With a lot of screens displaying showcases for the players, this area feels to be very entertaining and worth visiting.
If you try to give a reasonably short answer on the topic the museum covers on two floors of main exhibition, the answer is likely “any”. There are historic aspects and modern one, the museum is also having a certain focus on women soccer. The topics dealt with range from the rules and the stadiums to influence of soccer to the media and even to the toy industry. Football for All shows how soccer can be played by people with limited abilities. Of course, there is also a view on the different competitions. If you want to search for the historic results of your team, the museum allows you to look them up as well.
A very special part of the exhibitions was the Football is Art part on third level. An interesting view on how the sports is even influencing that part of culture.
Sports is activity – and the Manchester National Football Museum is highly interactive. On the two key floors of exhibition, there are numerous ways to get sweaty, which makes the places the ideal soccer museum for kids. Starting from simple quiz games to table soccer and passing and shooting challenges, there is a lot stuff offered by the museum. And if you are really bored, you may try as a commentator to the matches as well.
National Football Museum – Services
On ground floor, there is soccer souvenir shop, which holds a lot of memorabilia about the sports, from books to balls.
Next to it is a large and quite cozy sports bar. On top of the museum, a restaurant called The Rabbit in the Moon has recently opened, driven by a Michelin-star chef.
National Football Museum – My View
When I visited the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, I was rather disappointed. Just a couple of exhibits, no proper interaction. Their Manchester peers do much better – it is just a lot of fun to spent time in the museum. Not just the interactive part, but also the presentation of the exhibitions is really nice. Of course, there is a certain focus on English soccer, but you will even enjoy yourself if you are not a ManU or a Chelsea fan. And the pricing is still very, very nice! Really good visit, close to the best possible rating.
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