When embarking on an away day, three points or even a good performance from your team are never guaranteed. But one thing that any travelling football fan can make sure of is that your away day experience is the best it possibly can be.
For most football fans, the summer between seasons is often spent in anticipation of the fixtures to come. Any dedicated supporter of their club will know that hours can be spent scouring their team’s fixture list and the map, to pick out the best possible away days for the coming season.
But with such a wide choice of stadiums to visit, plus many more factors to consider – just where can you find the best possible away day experience? The football editorial team at Betting.com decides to find out just that!
Comparing the 92 football clubs set to compete in the English Football League’s (EFL) top four divisions during the 2022/23 season against ten factors for a score out of 100, we will definitively reveal the best away day in the EFL.
Dividing our ten factors into three categories, we also reveal the most hospitable away days, the most accessible away days, and the EFL stadiums with the best match day experience.
But travelling to see your team play shouldn’t stop at the White Cliffs of Dover. We also uncover the best away day in the rest of Europe by taking thirty of the best-performing sides in European football and judging their away day experiences against ten factors too.
Which Stadium Offers the Best Away Day in the EFL?
Data finds that the best away day in the EFL is Millwall, with the South London club receiving an overall score of 89 out of 100. Millwall’s stadium, The Den, is ideally located for away supporters with 1,743 food and drink takeaways plus 16 train stations within a two-mile radius. The away end at The Den often caters to an average of 4,000 fans too – more than any other London-based club.
Staying in London as the second-best away day in the EFL is Arsenal, with a day out at The Emirates Stadium valued at an overall score of 83.7 out of 100. The North London-based club also ranked second place out of 92 clubs in both the hospitality and transport categories.
In third place is Southampton, the south coast club scored 78.9 out of 100 overall. Data finds that a visit to St Mary’s Stadium is amongst the most affordable in the Premier League, with away tickets averaging at just £20 last season. There are also 138 bars and 25 hotels located within two miles of the stadium.
The fourth spot is clinched by Birmingham City for a score of 74.2 out of 100. Of all the Birmingham-based clubs competing in the EFL, the blues play their home games the closest to the thriving city centre. As such, a total of 1,106 food and drink takeaways and 45 hotels were found within two miles of St. Andrew’s ground. Travelling fans are blessed with a short walk to the nearest train station, with Bordesley station just 0.6 miles away from the stadium.
The top ten is dominated by clubs located in London, with 70% of the best performing away days located in the English capital. In fifth place is Leyton Orient (71.3), followed by Fulham (71.1) in sixth, while the final spots are taken up by AFC Wimbledon (70.7), Brentford (70.4) and Charlton Athletic (70.3).
The best scored away day in the North of England was Blackpool (67.7), which placed twelfth out of 92 clubs. Their home ground Bloomfield Road, a stadium by the seaside, is in closer proximity to more hotels than any other EFL ground – 221 hotels to be exact. Elsewhere in the North, Stockport County (67.2) ranked fourteenth and Premier League champions Manchester City (66.3) ranked fifteenth.
Which Football Ground has the Most Bars, Takeaways and Hotels?
While football might be the main reason you have travelled across the country, the game itself only lasts for 90 minutes, giving you and your friends a whole day to explore the place you are visiting. You may even need to stay the night if you are travelling an especially long distance.
That’s why it is important for the football ground you are visiting to have plenty of choices when it comes to bars, restaurants, takeaways and hotels nearby.
Our data proves that the best away day for hospitality is Chelsea, with the West London club receiving a near-perfect score of 29.7 out of 30. Not only does Stamford Bridge fall within a two-mile radius of 1,830 food and drink takeaways, along with 272 bars, but the area also features 195 hotels.
The second best away day for hospitality is Arsenal, with a score of 29.2 out of 30. Based in North London, the Emirates Stadium is surrounded by more bars (342) and food and drink takeaways (2,186) than Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.
However, the Gunners fall second to their London rivals due to the reduced hotel options in the Holloway and Finsbury Park area – there are just 46 hotels within two miles of the Emirates Stadium.
London clubs continue to perform well in terms of hospitality, with Queens Park Rangers (29.2) placing joint-second, as well as Millwall (29.1) placing fourth and Fulham (28.8) in sixth.
There are plenty of hotels to be found in the Shepherd’s Bush area where QPR’s Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium is based – 107 to be exact. Meanwhile, the Bermondsey region where Millwall’s The Den is based is thriving with food and drink takeaways – 1,743 within 2 miles.
In fifth place is Manchester City, with the North West club earning a hospitality score of 29.0. City’s Etihad Stadium is located closer to Manchester’s bustling city centre than their fiercest rivals Manchester United’s (22.4) Old Trafford is, and as such, is closer to a greater number of bars, takeaways and hotels. There are 1,032 food and drink takeaways, 342 bars and 82 hotels within two miles of the Etihad Stadium.
Unsurprisingly teams that play in some of England and Wales’ larger cities have placed in the upper echelons of the away days index. The likes of Bristol City (27.9), Newcastle United (27.5), Leeds United (26.2) and Cardiff City (25.8) all rank within the top twenty due to the high numbers of bars, takeaways and hotels close to their stadiums.
Which EFL Stadium is the Easiest to Get to by Car, Coach, Train or Plane?
Whether you choose to travel to your away day destination by car, coach, train or plane, the one thing that every away supporter can agree on, is that your journey there needs to be as smooth as possible.
Our data shows that the most easy to reach away day is Millwall, with the South London club receiving an Accessibility score of 37.8 out of 40. The 0.2-mile distance between Millwall’s home ground, The Den, and South Bermondsey train station is one of the shortest of any football stadium in the EFL, plus there are a further 16 train stations within a two-mile radius. The closest car park to The Den also offers free parking, while the closest airport – London City Airport – is just 8.1 miles away.
The battle to be the best club in North London has always been hotly contested between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. However, data has proven that when it comes to travelling away supporters at least, Arsenal takes the crown, earning second place with a category score of 35.8. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur is just behind in third receiving a score of 33.6 in the transport category.
Ranking in fourth place is Crystal Palace, with a category score of 31.3 for the South London club. Not only does the nearest car park to the Eagles’ stadium, Selhurst Park offer free parking, but the closest airport to the ground – Gatwick Airport – is just 5.3 miles away.
Data shows that organising an away trip to London proves easier than most other towns and cities, with 80% of the top ten clubs in the transport category playing in the English capital including League Two’s Sutton United (31.0) in sixth, AFC Wimbledon (30.9) in seventh, Premier League side Brentford (30.3) in ninth and League One club Charlton Athletic (29.6) in tenth.
Breaching the top ten outside of London is Stockport County (31.1) ranking fifth, while Southampton (30.5) takes eighth place. Stockport’s Edgeley Park is just 6.6 miles from Manchester Airport. While Southampton’s stadium – St.Mary’s – is even closer to the nearest airport. Southampton Airport is just 4 miles away from the Premier League stadium.
Which Football Ground Offers the Best Value for Money for Visiting Fans?
Football stadiums come in many different shapes and sizes, from ultra-modern super-stadiums preferred mostly by major Premier League teams, to the more traditional four-stand grounds that are seen more often in the lower divisions.
But with so many factors to consider such as the price of your away ticket, the number of away fans each stadium allows in, and how previous visitors have rated their experience – which EFL club truly offers visiting fans the best possible match day experience?
Data finds that the best match-day experience for an away supporter is Southampton, with the south coast club receiving a score of 25.6 out of 30. The Saints offer one of the cheapest away tickets in the Premier League, averaging just £20, plus the away end often caters to an average of 3,200 fans.
While top-flight Southampton clinched the top spot, clubs outside of the Premier League tended to perform better in this category, with 95% of teams in our top 20 playing outside the top flight.
Second place was claimed by Milton Keynes Dons, with a category score of 25.5 out of 30. The League One club was found to offer one of the cheapest away tickets on average in the football pyramid at just £16.
In third is Tranmere Rovers, scoring 24.2 out of 30. Prenton Park may not be quite as well known as Liverpool’s (14.1 out of 30) home stadium Anfield on the other side of the River Mersey. However with tickets for Tranmere costing away fans an average of just £18, coupled with previous visitors giving the stadium a 4.5 out of five Google Review score – this ground is well worth ticking off your away day bucket list.
Ranking fourth is Blackburn Rovers with a score of 22.4. After winning the Premier League in 1994/95, the Lancashire club has had to play outside the top flight for the past decade. That has not got in the way of Ewood Park being a top-quality day out for travelling supporters, with the stadium packing plenty of away fans in – an average of 4,000 fans last season.
Fifth place is claimed by Lincoln City with a score of 22.2. The League One club offers one of the cheapest away tickets in the EFL, at just £19 on average. There’s also an impressive Google Review rating to match – a 4.4 out of 5 rating for the LNER Stadium.
This category proved costly for some of the larger clubs in the English football pyramid. Six-time Champions League winners Liverpool could only finish 84th out of 92 teams with a score of 14.1. Meanwhile, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Chelsea all finished joint 63rd with matching scores of 16.3 out of 30 for their away fan match-day experience.
What are the Best Football Grounds to Visit in Europe?
Whether you are one of the lucky football fans following your favourite team in the Champions League or Europa League, simply sampling the taste of European Football while on a stag or hen do, or even enjoying some downtime during a business trip – there’s every reason for you to give a European away day a try.
Regardless of the reason why someone may travel to a football ground outside of the English football pyramid, the appeal is plain to see. From generally cheaper pints than we’re used to in the EFL, to dramatic pyro displays and the substitution of meat pies for an array of local delicacies, there’s truly nothing quite like a European away.
Our data found that the best away day in Europe is Real Madrid, with the reigning kings of the Champions League totalling up an overall score of 77.3 out of 100. The 14-time Champions League winners performed especially well in the hospitality category, with data finding over 3,000 places to grab a drink within a two-km radius of the Santiago Bernabéu.
Closely following in second place is Barcelona with an overall score of 76.8 out of 100. The Catalonian giants compete with Real Madrid at least twice a season, in the El Classico. However, when it comes to the away day experience, Barcelona just misses out on the best European away day title to their biggest rivals.
Yet another La Liga club performed valiantly, with Sevilla reaching fourth place with an overall score of 72.1. Data found more hotels within a two-km radius of Sevilla’s Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan than any other European football stadium – 161 hotels to be exact.
There are also great match-day experiences to be had in Scotland, with Glasgow-based club Rangers breaking the Spanish stranglehold, ranking third (75.9) and their old rivals Celtic (68.0) placing fifth.
Other stand-out away days outside of England and Wales include Greek club Olympiakos (66.7) in sixth place, Italian side Napoli (65.9) in seventh and FC Porto (64.6) of Portugal in eighth. All three clubs will be playing European tournament football in 2022/23 – might they draw a Premier League club?
Away from the overall scores, The data proved that Borussia Dortmund of the German Bundesliga provides one of the best match-day experiences in all of Europe with a category score of 24.3 out of 30.
Meanwhile, Napoli was found to be the most accessible football ground in Europe. The recently re-named Diego Armando Maradona Stadium is positioned just 0.4km away from the nearest tram stop, with the nearest large train station not too much further away at 1km. It’s not too far to travel to Naples Airport either – just 6.9km.
When it comes to following your team away, either across the UK or out into Europe, it is clear that your experience depends on more than just a seat with a good view of the pitch and a goal or two scored by your beloved football club.
No matter how big or small they might be, football stadiums that are surrounded by brilliant bars and fantastic food takeaways, in locations that are easy to get to, with prices designed to protect the fan’s pocket – rather than the club’s owners – are always going to provide long-lasting memories. As Real Madrid, Barcelona, and of course, Millwall have proven.