Manchester’s National Football Museum was such an amazing place to visit. Housed in the impressive Urbis building next to Victoria Station in Manchester. This is our review of the National Football Museum Manchester.
We visited during half term, and even if you are not football mad you will still find this fantastic museum a worthwhile visit as there is something for everyone.
As you walk through the revolving door to enter the museum you are met by a member of staff welcoming you to the museum. Although it’s free to enter visitors are recommended to make a £6.00 donation which covers 2 football+ tokens, a guide and the chance to hold and have your picture with some famous silverware.
As you enter you via the apt football style turnstiles you are taken aback by the size of the museum which is full of so many different exhibits and interactive experiences over its four floors.
It’s the world’s biggest football museum and my husband in particular was in awe, as you explore the 2,500 items of wonderful football memorabilia on display. Items include Maradona’s Argentina shirt from the infamous ‘Hand of God’ match against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and one of Pele’s famous Brazil shirts.
Ground Floor Exhibits:
As you enter the first section of the museum you come across the Premier League trophy and F.A Cup on display. What made it more exciting for my husband in particular was that after putting on white gloves not to damage the silverware we could actually lift the trophies. It was really surprising just how heavy the trophies were, we were told that the Premier League trophy weighs in at 2 stone!
Other exhibits on the ground floor included the hall of fame containing the greatest players, managers and teams in the English game who have been inducted each year.
At the far end of the ground floor was a display of the kits of the current Premier League teams.
What caught the girl’s eye were the Subbuteo tables. With so much technology for children on offer it was lovely for them to enjoy a game that didn’t involve a computer screen. After a quick lesson from their daddy the girls had so much fun playing this classic game.
The first floor really does help to get you truly involved in football with many great exhibits including famous players, shirts and stadiums over the years.
As you take the escalator to the first floor, there were so many opportunities to learn about the beautiful game including information on memorable teams, stadiums and players. There was an eye catching collection of trophies on display from many of the competitions from the English football pyramid.
There are dozens of footballs on display from famous matches, including the one scored by David Beckham in England’s World Cup win against Argentina in 2002.
What was great at the National Football museum was the wide range of interactive
hands on activities to enjoy from picking a football mascot, seats from the original Wembley stadium, FA cup jigsaws to racing against the clock placing the correct countries flags on the map from Euro 96.
There was also the chance to join Gary Lineker and the Match of the Day team and commentate on a Premier League match of your choice.
As you walk up the stairs towards the mezzanine level before the second floor you pass the infamous sofa from the hit tv show ‘Fantasy Football’ with Frank Skinner and David Baddiel and on the mezzanine level there were lots of old penny arcade games which were great fun to try out.
One thing you absolutely must try at National Football Museum is the penalty shootout part of the amazing football plus experience. As it was the school holidays this was really popular and after a 10 minute wait we could see why.
As you enter the room it was so atmospheric, as both my daughter husband stepped up to take their penalties trying to score into the very goal posts that Paul Gascoigne scored against Scotland at Euro 96. A projection of a virtual goalkeeper appears which you have to beat. The game then calculates your score over 3 penalties based on accuracy and how fast you hit the football.
There is the further opportunity to take part in another six football challenges from football flicks and tricks to the Pass Master game. Pass Master was also great fun where you had to perfect your passing skills earning points based on how accurate you were. For younger children (5 and under) there was a specially designed area called the Discovery Zone that included storytelling, small soft play and a playful dress-up area.
With your football+ tickets you can log onto the National Football Museum website at home to redeem your scores and certificates. I thought was a really clever idea and help you share your day with family and friends.
Also on the second floor there were more fascinating exhibits showing how footballs and football boots have changed over the years along with how dressing rooms would have changed over the decades.
The girls loved looking at the heavy old footballs and it was interesting to see a fully interactive human body highlighting common injuries. There was even a medical bag complete with the infamous magic sponge!
The 1996 World Cup Exhibition which us running until April and gave an interesting insight into the team that won the cup. The famous Jules Rimet trophy and ball from the 1966 World Cup are on display, along with a chance to get a photo will the World Cup winning team and the mascot.
As we took the funicular railway from the top floor to the exit the voice of John Motson commentates at each stop until you reach the ground floor to the exit, where you pass the gift shop and the cafe.
We all had such a brilliant time at the National Football Museum. It is well worth a visit whether or not you like football. It was a fun, educational, family friendly venue and is a must visit attraction when in Manchester.