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Wembley, an otherwise unremarkable – if very ethnically diverse - suburb of north west London.
Wembley’s name was immortalised in history when Sir Robert McAlpine built the Empire Stadium, replete with its distinctive twin towers, here in 1923. The first event held at the new stadium was the 1923 FA Cup Final between Bolton and West Ham, attended by an extraordinary 250,000 spectators, doubling the official capacity and starting a love affair between what would soon be called Wembley Stadium and the beautiful game. Soon adopted by the England national team as home, Wembley’s hallowed turf has seen some of football’s most iconic moments – Bobby Moore lifting the 1966 World Cup, George Best jinking past Benfica’s defence in Manchester United’s 1968 European Cup win, and the sight of FA Cup finalists climbing the 39 steps to the trophy presentation each year from ’23 until the millennium when Pele’s “cathedral of football” was demolished. The new Wembley Stadium (Empire Way, 0844 980 8001, www.wembleystadium.com), open since 2007 and a stunning sporting venue with its 90,000 capacity, five star UEFA rating and vast, distinctive arch, has England’s home games, the FA, League Cup and FA Trophy finals, play-off games and the rugby league Challenge Cup final. The NFL is another annual visitor, bringing one regular season game and tons of American razzmatazz to London each year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the ‘home’ team in late 2009.
As well as occasional big gigs at the stadium, live music fans are well catered for with Wembley Arena (020 8782 5500, www.wembley.co.uk) playing host to a regular stream of major stars of rock and pop, set around the floodlit fountains of the new Arena Square.
In Wembley proper, shopping is focused around Wembley High Road and Ealing Square, and there’s some fantastic Indian restaurants in the area catering for the vibrant local South Asian communities. Head for Wembley Park (Metropolitan and Jubilee Underground lines) for the stadium and Wembley Central and North Wembley (both Bakerloo) for the rest of the district.
|Wembley Central Station||4||Bakerloo||0.21 miles|
|Alperton Station||4||Piccadilly||1.35 miles|
|North Wembley Station||4||Bakerloo||1.36 miles|
|Stonebridge Park Station||3||Bakerloo||1.53 miles|
|Wembley Park Station||4||Metropolitan - Jubilee||1.59 miles|
|Wembley Central Station||0.22 miles|
|Wembley Stadium Station||0.61 miles|
|North Wembley Station||1.37 miles|
|Sudbury and Harrow Road Station||1.63 miles|
|South Kenton Station||2.24 miles|