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Our Complete Travel Guide to the National Football Museum in Manchester

Our Complete Travel Guide to the National Football Museum in Manchester 

Football fans can rejoice when visiting Manchester as it is truly the UK’s prime place for sports. With teams like Manchester City and Manchester United, it’s a well-known fact that it’s the city in England to be for football enthusiasts. 

What’s better is Manchester takes this a step further with the National Football Museum: Home of all the relics and time pieces of football history. If you’re interested, here’s our complete guide before visiting here for the best experience! 

Time Zone

British Summer Time (GMT+1)

Best Time to Go

Manchester’s National Football Museum is an enthralling destination for football enthusiasts, dedicated to narrating the tale of the beautiful game in England and beyond. The timing of your visit can substantially influence your experience.

If you’re looking for a quieter, more intimate exploration of the museum, consider visiting on weekdays, which are generally less bustling than weekends. 

Mornings, shortly after the museum opens, are often the least crowded times. Moreover, during the school year, particularly on weekdays, the museum sees fewer visitors, making it a favourable time for those who want to dodge the masses.

For the ardent football fan, the buzz and thrill of the English Premier League (EPL) season can add a layer of excitement to the museum visit. 

The EPL season spans from mid-August to mid-May. The inception of the EPL season in mid-August carries an electrifying atmosphere, with fans filled with hope and expectations for their favourite teams. 

On the flip side, May, the concluding month of the league, can be equally, if not more, exhilarating, especially if Manchester-based clubs, namely Manchester United or Manchester City, are vying for the coveted title or other significant league positions. 

If you happen to be in the city on a match day, Manchester comes alive with football fervour. However, a word of caution: the museum might see a spike in visitors, and navigating the city could become more challenging due to the influx of football fans.

Things to Know

Address: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 605 8200


Opening Hours: Daily 10 AM to 5 PM 

The National Football Museum stands as a testament to England’s deep-rooted football culture and history. 

Its foundation lies in the need to celebrate and chronicle the rich tapestry of the beautiful game and its evolution in England and across the globe.


The concept of a dedicated football museum was first floated in the late 20th century. Initially, the museum was not based in Manchester but in Preston. 

It was known as the National Football Museum for England and was inaugurated in 2001 at the Deepdale Stadium, Preston North End’s ground. The idea was to offer a deep dive into the sport’s history, heroes, and significant moments.

Relocation to Manchester

Despite its comprehensive exhibits, the museum’s location in Preston restricted the number of visitors. 

The need for a more central and accessible location became evident. Manchester, with its rich footballing heritage, courtesy of its globally renowned football clubs— Manchester United and Manchester City, was deemed the perfect fit. 

In 2012, the museum made its move to the iconic Urbis building in Manchester’s city centre, where it stands today. This relocation drastically increased its footfall and placed it at the epicentre of England’s football conversations.

Cultural Significance

The museum not only celebrates football as a sport but also delves into its socio-cultural aspects. Football has always mirrored societal changes, from its role during wartime to its significance in the civil rights movements and its impact on popular culture. 

The museum’s exhibits underscore these interlinkages, providing a holistic view of football’s position in shaping societal narratives.

How to Get There

By Train: Manchester boasts an extensive train network, with Manchester Piccadilly being its primary station, servicing many national destinations. Once you arrive at Manchester Piccadilly, the museum is just a short walk away. 

Head northwest towards the city centre, and in approximately 15 minutes, you’ll find yourself at the National Football Museum.

By Bus: Manchester buses that stop near the National Football Museum include the 8, 67, and 100 routes. 

The nearest bus stops are Corporation Street (Stop NY) and Victoria Station, both a short walk to the museum. Always check the local bus timetables to ensure accuracy and efficiency in your journey.

By Taxi: If convenience is a priority, taking a taxi might be the best option. Manchester has numerous taxi services, both traditional cabs and app-based ones like Uber. 

Simply provide the driver with the museum’s address, and they’ll take you straight there. It’s especially handy if you have luggage or are not familiar with the city.

By Car Service: For those who prefer a more luxurious travel option, hiring a car service can be ideal. Several private car hire companies operate in Manchester, offering chauffeured vehicles for direct transit to the museum. 

Things to Do and Expect 

First and foremost, the Hall of Fame is a rite of passage for any football enthusiast visiting the museum. 

It’s here that the sport’s most iconic figures are celebrated— from legendary players to transformative managers. 

You’ll get to witness the stories, achievements, and rare artefacts associated with these footballing titans. It’s a nostalgic journey, particularly if you’re keen on understanding the individuals who’ve left an indelible mark on the beautiful game.

Football isn’t just about history on paper; it’s about the emotions, the screams, the goals, and the nail-biting moments. 

The museum’s interactive exhibits are specially designed to make you part of these moments. With augmented reality and hands-on activities, you’ll get a chance to test your football skills, make referee decisions, and even try your hand at football commentary. 

The FIFA Collection is genuinely a global treasure trove. Housed within the museum, this collection offers a deep dive into the World Cup’s rich tapestry, from its inception to the present day. 

Expect to see memorable jerseys, the ball from the 1966 World Cup final, and a plethora of other artefacts. For those World Cup moments etched in your memory, this is the place to relive them.

The museum is ever-evolving. Besides its permanent collection, it frequently hosts special exhibitions and events that delve into various facets of football— from its role in societal changes to unique art exhibitions themed around the sport. 

It’s always a good idea to check their events calendar before visiting. Who knows? You might coincide your visit with a unique event that adds another layer of depth to your experience.

Football has played a multifaceted role during times of conflict, and the museum delves into this lesser-known aspect with care. During both World Wars, the sport became an outlet of hope and a semblance of normality. 

There are exhibits detailing how matches were organised on the frontlines, and how footballers traded boots for military attire. 

You’ll find yourself connecting with the human side of the sport, understanding how even in the darkest of times, the beautiful game provided a glimmer of hope and unity.

Football isn’t just a men’s game. The museum proudly displays the evolution and achievements of women in football. 

From the early days when women’s matches would draw surprisingly large crowds, to the more recent successes of the England Women’s National Team, this section shines a spotlight on the challenges and triumphs faced by female footballers. 

It’s an empowering section, showcasing how these women broke barriers and defied societal expectations.

If you time your visit on a match day, particularly when one of Manchester’s teams are playing, there’s an added layer of electricity in the air. 

The museum often organises match day quizzes, fun challenges, and other activities. It becomes a hub for pre-match excitement. 

Engaging with other fans, discussing match predictions, and soaking in the passionate football atmosphere of Manchester adds a unique flavour to your visit.

Football and music have always shared a close bond, especially in the UK. From famous anthems sung in stadiums to iconic football songs that have topped the charts, the museum houses a section dedicated to this harmonious blend. 

You’ll learn about famous musicians who were avid football fans and discover the stories behind some of the most beloved football (football bars manchester) anthems.

Art and football might seem worlds apart, but they beautifully collide at the museum. The exhibits showcase football-inspired art pieces, photographs, and sculptures. 

It provides a refreshing perspective, revealing how the sport has influenced art and culture. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or someone trying to understand football’s broader cultural impact, this section offers a visual treat.

As you conclude your journey from football’s past to its present, take a leap into its future with the museum’s VR experiences. 

Don the headset and find yourself in iconic footballing moments or even get a feel of what it’s like to be in the middle of a roaring stadium. The immersive experience, while not traditional, offers a hint of what the future of sports viewership might look like.

Places to Eat Nearby 

Address: 44 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LA, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441618343303


Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday 10 AM to 10 PM; Friday to Saturday 9 AM to 11 PM; Sunday 9 AM to 9 PM

Nestled on Tib Street, Evelyn’s Cafe Bar offers a modern, airy space ideal for a relaxed meal. Their menu boasts a mixture of international dishes with a contemporary twist. 

From sumptuous salads to hearty main courses, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re up for a tipple, their cocktail list doesn’t disappoint!

Address: Smithfield Market Hall, 1 Eagle St, Manchester M4 5BU, United Kingdom

Contact Details: N/A

Website: N/A

Operating Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday to Saturday 9 AM to 10 PM; Sunday 9 AM to 6 PM 

Located in a restored Victorian market building, Mackie Mayor is a delightful food hall offering a range of gourmet stalls. 

Whether you fancy some artisan pizza (halal pizza manchester), rich coffee, or a juicy burger, this bustling spot caters to varied tastes. Its communal seating makes it a vibrant place to share a meal and chat about your museum experience.

Address: 9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester M4 1EY, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441614250974


Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday 7:30 AM to 4 PM; Friday 7:30 AM to 5 PM; Saturday 8 AM to 6 PM; Sunday 8 AM to 5 PM 

A hop away on Nicholas Croft, Federal Cafe & Bar is perfect for those after brunch vibes. Renowned for its superb coffee and delightful brunch options like eggs benedict and avocado toast, it’s a great spot to start your day or refuel in the afternoon.

Address: 9 Cotton St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BF, United Kingdom

Contact Details: 


Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday 12 to 10 PM; Sunday 12 to 9 PM 

A Manchester favourite, Rudy’s on Cotton Street is the place to be for authentic Neapolitan pizzas. With a simple yet delectable menu and a laid-back atmosphere, it’s hard to resist the aroma of their freshly baked pizzas. Perfect for a quick bite or a casual dinner.

Address: 20 Hilton St, Manchester M1 1FR, United Kingdom

Contact Details: N/A 


Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30 AM to 8 PM; Saturday to Sunday 8 AM to 7 PM

Situated on Hilton Street, this is more than just a cafe. It’s a prologue to the day. Known for its rustic interiors and fantastic breakfast and brunch menus, it’s a top choice for early risers or anyone seeking a light meal paired with great coffee.

Nearby Places to Stay 


A mere stone’s throw from the museum, Hotel Indigo perfectly combines modern amenities with historic charm. Each room is uniquely designed, drawing inspiration from the city’s rich industrial past. Their in-house restaurant, Mamucium, is also worth a visit.


Located on Newton Street, this boutique hotel was once a textile warehouse. Today, it offers luxurious rooms with a blend of classic and contemporary designs. The attention to detail here, from complimentary prosecco to rainfall showers, ensures a memorable stay.


Situated on Piccadilly, ABode is housed in a 19th-century textile factory, echoing Manchester’s industrial heritage. The rooms range from comfortable and compact to spacious suites. Their in-house brasserie offers a delightful dining experience, making it convenient for guests.


A budget-friendly option, yet high on style and comfort. Located near Piccadilly, it’s central and easily accessible. The rooms, though more compact, offer all essentials, and the lounge area is a trendy spot to unwind after a day of exploration.


Found on Trinity Way, The Ainscow boasts a blend of traditional charm and modern elegance. Their rooftop spa and spacious rooms, complete with Manchester-inspired artwork, ensure a comfortable stay. Plus, it’s just a short walk or cab ride to the museum.

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