Wembley stadium at night
Matthew Pearson

10 Amazing Facts About Wembley Stadium You Probably Didn't Know

Learn all about this iconic stadium, including...

  • The famous football games hosted at Wembley
  • The musicians who've played there
  • How big it is
  • What was found buried underneath Wembley Stadium?
  • Want to know more, with a personal touch? Take a Wembley Stadium Tour.
Wembley stadium

1) Wembley Stadium London hosted the final when England last won the World Cup

In case anyone needed any reminding, the last time England won the World Cup was in 1966. That was back when footballers smoked and had second jobs. You can learn more about the 1966 World Cup win and see a whole bunch of artefacts from the time during a Wembley Stadium Tour, one of the many attractions you can visit when you purchase a London Pass.

2) There were high hopes for England to win Euro 2020 

....but, they didn't. But Wembley did host the final. Southgate’s young team are pretty exciting, and their progress at the last World Cup was as inspiring to see as it was unexpected. But, apart from the penalty shootout victory over Colombia – a game they should have been finished with long before 90 minutes was up – there was a solid victory against a very plain Sweden team, and then a semi-final loss against Croatia. 

3) Wembley Stadium has hosted gigs by the world’s most famous musicians 

Queen's famous 1986 'Magic Tour' concert broke attendance records and was one of the iconic band's most memorable performances. Their performance was later released as a 'Live from Wembley' album.

Adele set a new highest attendance record with her 2017 show, cramming 98,000 in. Both Madonna and U2 love playing at Wembley, and The Killers were so chuffed to be playing Wembley, they wrote a song about it and performed it on the night. 

Wembley stadium concert

4) This is not the first Wembley Stadium 

While younger generations imagine the arch-topped stadium when they hear the name Wembley, for generations of older sports fans, it will always be the white twin towers of the original Wembley that come to mind. Built as the centrepiece of the British Empire Exhibition of 1923, the first Wembley stood exactly where the new one is. 

Its complete demolition in 2003 – including the iconic, white twin towers – was highly controversial at the time. 

5) But Wembley new and old are at the heart of English football 

Since 1923, Wembley has been the host of the FA Cup final (apart from during the interim years whilst the new Wembley Stadium was under construction). Winners of the FA Cup final take the famous walk up to the Royal Box and presentation area to lift the trophy.

The 39 steps at the old Wembley Stadium were famous as signifiers of victory or defeat. Take the Wembley Stadium Tour, included with your London Pass, and you’ll be walking up the 107 steps to the presentation area at the modern Wembley. Wembley today hosts a whole host of FA competitions and playoffs.

6) The Wembley Arch is BIG 

It’s 134 metres tall, has a diameter of over 7 metres, and could comfortably fit a train hurtling through it. You could roll the London Eye underneath it. You shouldn’t, because the people of Brent would be pretty miffed. But you could. 

It stretches 315 metres. And it’s made of strong stuff too: it holds most of the roof’s weight. It's said that people from all counties of England had a hand in its construction. You can see it jutting out from all around London. 

Wembley Stadium arch

7) Wembley is one of the largest stadiums in Europe 

It’s got 90,000 seats, making it the largest stadium in the UK and second largest in Europe—only Barcelona’s Camp Nou is bigger, with a total of 99,354 seats. With a 1km circumference and a volume of 4,000,000 cubic metres, the stadium can fit 25,000 double-decker buses inside.

Alternatively, you could fill the new Wembley with seven billion pints of beer. Testament to the size of the thing is just how many toilets you’ll find in the building - 2,618! See how many you can use during your trip to Wembley Stadium. 

8) The first match held went down in footballing folklore 

The first football match hosted at Wembley was the 1923 FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United. An estimated 300,000 spectators came in, more than double the official Wembley Stadium maximum capacity of 125,000. 

Authorities didn’t think it was worth ticketing the event. The massive overstuffing of the stadium meant that the public was all across the pitch. As police attempted to move the crowd from the pitch, one officer in particular caught the attention of the crowd, riding elegantly atop a white police horse. 

Since then it’s been known as the White Horse Final. 

9) The atmosphere of the new Wembley has been scientifically engineered 

Crowd recordings taken at the old Wembley—famous for the Wembley Roar—during the 1999 FA Cup final and a 2000 England v Poland game were used as audio benchmarks. The design team used sophisticated computer models to recreate the same acoustics in the new Wembley. 

Also, with the arch supporting the roof, there was no need to stick pillars, so there were no restricted views. And the architects tried to tier the stands in such a way that everyone felt close to the action. 

Wembley London

10) A bad Eiffel Tower knockoff was found underneath it 

Well, the concrete foundations were. During excavations, construction workers preparing for the new playing field found the foundation of what was known as Watkin’s Tower. Designed to surpass the Eiffel Tower in height and completely rip it off in style, the tower was never completed due to financial difficulties and safety issues. It would have stood right where the Wembley pitch is today.

Where is Wembley Stadium? 

Wembley Stadium could be considered the beating heart of UK sports and entertainment, and you'll find it in the hustle of London, England. Nestled in the Wembley Park neighbourhood, it's a place where dreams come true, whether you're there for a soccer game, a concert, or one of the many other events hosted there. You can almost feel the excitement in the air as you approach it! 

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