Is Going to an NFL Football Game in London on Your Bucket List? We went and learned some things that’ll help you plan your trip even better than we did. We’re also including costs, so you know what you might expect. To see more of what it’s like, check out our What’s It Like Going to an NFL Football Game in London 2022? video.
Flying to London
We’ve been living in County Cork, Ireland for the past few months, so we flew out of Cork Airport on Saturday. If we’d been in our home state, we’d have been flying out of Minneapolis International Airport. Your location is an important factor to consider when it comes to timing your trip to London. Will you have to deal with jet lag? We always find it takes us a full day to get ourselves back to normal when we fly from the U.S. to Europe.
Our flight from Cork to London’s Heathrow Airport took about an hour. Cork Airport is beautiful, well staffed, and doesn’t feel hectic. At least that was our impression when we flew via Aer Lingus. Friends of ours flying KLM from Cork had a similar experience. Our round-trip tickets were Є185 each.
What We Would Change:
If flying from nearby again, we’d plan to arrive on Thursday afternoon. Then, once settled into our hotel room on Thursday, we’d go to whatever bar, or restaurant the Vikings (our team) had taken over for the week. For 2022, the Vikings home of the week was BarrowBoy and Banker. It’d have been fun to be in a London bar full of Vikings fans. We might’ve made new friends, or run into old ones. If we flew in from Minneapolis, we’d arrive on Wednesday to give ourselves that full day to recover.
Heathrow Airport to Our Hotel
We made reservations at The Gantry London, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. We’ve found that loyalty pays off when traveling as much as we do, so we try to stick to the Hilton brand when possible. We’re Diamond Members and being Diamond Members does have its perks. While we considered getting an Uber from Heathrow Airport to The Gantry London, we learned that taking the train would be more time-efficient and less expensive. Estimates for getting there by car were 90-minutes and didn’t count the time spent waiting for the driver to arrive. Since we each only had one carry-on suitcase and one backpack to manage, it was easy to choose the train.
Our route required us to switch trains three times and it took about an hour to get from Heathrow to The Gantry. Though the train switches may sound daunting, it was quite easy. As soon as we stepped off one train, the next train was arriving, and easy to board. We did have to stand for a considerable amount of the time, because the trains were busy.
Our Taking the London Tube / Train Tips:
- Pack light.
- Wear sturdy shoes.
- Don’t let the train schedules intimidate you.
The Gantry Hotel in London. Why We Would Stay Again!
- Our room was beautiful, clean, and had all of the amenities we could want. You can see it by clicking here.
- The service at the front desk was kind and attentive.
- It was reasonably priced at £222 per night.
- The onsite restaurant had lovely meals and drinks. We have no pictures of our meals, or drinks because we were busy having a wonderful conversation with the table next to us. That seems to happen quite a bit while traveling abroad. I have my theories about why, but that requires a blog post of its own.
Saturday at the NFL’s Takeover of South Bank
We’re so glad we went! Since we didn’t get checked into our hotel room until after 3 o’clock, we almost considered skipping the Takeover of South Bank. Our day of travel had been a bit tiring and Sunday would be a big day. We decided to go and thank goodness we did.
Unfortunately we didn’t make it down to South Bank until 5 PM and the events closed at 6 PM. On the weekend of the Saints vs. Vikings game, the London Marathon was going on, and so was a train strike. There was less public transit and more people, so it took awhile. Lucky for us, we made it in time to participate in the Quarterback Challenge and Field Goal Kicking Challenge. Check out Chris’s awesome passing skills.
We could have also tried our hand at being wide receivers, but I didn’t have on the right shoes for it and Chris has sprained and strained one of his ankles too many times.
What Did We Miss Out On?
- Seeing The Lombardi Trophy and other Super Bowl related items up-close. The display closed before we had a chance to make our way over to it.
- Given our limited time and the limited transportation available on that Saturday evening, we also weren’t able to check out The Vikings Double Decker Bus at Victoria Station. At least, from what we understood of the maps, it would’ve been a bit too far of a walk. Besides, we weren’t sure if it’d still be there by the time we made it over.
- Making it to BarrowBoy and Banker, the Vikings home of the week.
NFL in London Game Day!!!
Once near Tottenham Stadium we looked for The Ultimate Tailgate Party. We’d purchased tickets for it in advance ($155 each). As we walked towards it we found out that I couldn’t bring my purse anywhere near the stadium unless it was inside a clear plastic purse, or tote. It met the size requirements. Those I’d found on the Tottenham Stadium site. However, in my research, I never came across (or thought to look for) the NFL UK bag policy. While we were looking around for a clear plastic bag that would meet my needs, a security woman, Holly, saw my lost look, stopped the conversation she was having with someone else, and asked me what I was looking for. I explained my situation. She pointed us to the exact stand we needed, problem solved.
Very Important Travel Tip: If you can help it, DO NOT use the Bag Drop Service. When we left the game there was a massive slow moving line of people wanting to retrieve their bags. The Bag Drop cost the same as my new Plastic Purse £10. If our team had lost and then we had to wait in that line before walking a mile to get to a train station our moods would’ve dropped considerably.
The Ultimate Tailgate Party
What we liked about it:
- The food was delicious and plentiful.
- It was nice to have a setup where you had a spot to sit while eating, there was easy access to a bathroom, and their were some nice activities to do.
- We had a great time playing Jenga, talking to fans from the other side, and listening to some of the music.
What we didn’t like about it:
- It was in a school cafeteria. Even with the outdoor rooftop space, it’s challenging to make a school seem like an Ultimate Party area of any sort.
- The only drink options we saw were Budweiser, one white wine, one red wine, and sodas. You could pay more at a Cash Bar to get other basic cocktails, but at $155 per ticket, I’d expect more choices. I would have felt I’d gotten more value out of it if my drink options had been something like:
- An NFL in London Signature Drink. I’d think a Local Gin + Elderflower + Tonic might’ve been nice.
- Or, Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Cider, Budweiser, and an IPA.
Wine just does not seem like a game day drink and neither of us like Budweiser much.
Next time, we’d skip it. There were plenty of outdoor food vendors and fast casual food options nearby.
NFL Game Time at London's Tottenham Stadium
Tottenham Stadium was packed with 60,639 NFL Football Fans. The stadium can hold up to 62,850. It was a great crowd. Vikings and Saints fans sat side by side and everyone seemed to get along grand. Everyone seemed to be focusing on the fun and being good sports. There were also a lot of NFL Football Fans wearing a wide variety of NFL jerseys, everything from the Bills to the San Diego Chargers.
Apart from some of the great plays, my favorite part of the game was when the stadium sang Sweet Caroline. While first becoming popular to play at Boston Red Sox Games, it’s been popular to play during many sports games in London. There’s something about an entire stadium joining in a common song that feels, as the song says, “so good.”
Since we are fans of the Minnesota Vikings, our experience at the game couldn’t have been better. The game was a close, tense one – an emotional rollercoaster with plenty of great moments to cheer as the Minnesota Vikings emerged victorious, 28-25 over the Saints!
Our seats were fantastic. They were in the center of the End Zone, in the front row of the upper deck. Each ticket cost £640 + £112 Service Fee + £22.40 VAT = £774.40, or $858. They were about $100 more than the average price. After the game, we were talking with a woman who’d been sitting in the same row as us who is a Vikings Season Ticket Holder. She paid considerably less (though I can’t remember the exact amount), because there had been a sale on the tickets around Mother’s Day. It may have been for season ticket holders only, I’m not sure. The next time we find out that the Vikings are playing in London, we’ll be looking to get in on that sale!
What sort of travel experiences are on your bucket list? We’d love to know!
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