The name Manchester United is known all over the world – we have had people in Russia, Mongolia and Costa Rica call ‘Man Utd ‘ to us!
So it is no surprise that the teams iconic home stadium, Old Trafford, and the Manchester United tour which is held there, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Manchester.
Where is Old Trafford?
Old Trafford is south-west of Manchester city centre in an area of the city known as Old Trafford.
The Old Trafford football stadium (home to Manchester United) should not be confused with the Old Trafford cricket stadium (sometimes called Emirates Old Trafford). The cricket ground is a ten-minute walk away from the world-famous football stadium.
The stadium tour is called the Old Trafford tour or the Manchester United tour – they are the same tour at the same place.
How to visit Old Trafford?
Old Trafford is a well-signposted, half an hour drive from Manchester city centre. There is ample parking available at the stadium.
The Old Trafford train stop is only used on match days so cannot be used to access your tour.
Alternatively, catch the tram on the Metrolink system from the city centre to Old Trafford tram stop. Then walk for ten minutes in a straight line (past Old Trafford cricket ground) to the football stadium.
You will need a zone 1 and 2 ticket if travelling to and from the city centre. Tickets can be bought from machines on the platforms.
Or you can catch a bus to Old Trafford. Check out the transport guide for Greater Manchester for up to date routes and timetables.
Old Trafford Tour
What is the Manchester United Stadium tour?
Old Trafford stadium is the biggest club football stadium in the United Kingdom outside the national Wembley stadium in London.
Old Trafford capacity is a mind-boggling 76,000 people!
The historic stadium has been Manchester United’s home ground since 1909 though it has been refurbished, updated and extended over the years. It was extensively rebuilt in the late 1940s and 1950s as a result of significant bomb damage during World War Two.
The Manchester United stadium tour lasts for approximately 80 minutes and takes you to different sites and viewpoints around and inside the stadium.
You will be part of an escorted group with a tour guide. It is not self-guided.
Manchester United tour tickets
Old Trafford tour tickets are available online in advance but there are no tours available on match days.
Tours run daily at ten-minute intervals so you need to choose a date and a time slot for your visit.
The tours fill up quickly on weekends and in peak season.
You can choose to upgrade your tour to have an ex Manchester United player as your tour guide or combine a tour with a trip on a canal barge.
Manchester United stadium tour prices
The tickets include the stadium tour and access to the Manchester United museum.
Groups of between 4 and 8 people get a 15% discount online and all tickets are valid for one year after your inital visit.
Current 2019 prices are £25 for adults and £15 for children.
It is certainly not the cheapest Manchester attraction!
Manchester United museum
The Old Trafford museum can only be accessed as part of a tour ticket. You need to visit the museum before your tour begins as you cannot retrace your steps after the tour has finished.
The museum is on two levels (there is no information on entry as to how big the museum is!) so make sure you leave enough time for both levels.
On the first floor, there is a sparkling trophy room and a room charting historic European wins.
A darkly decorated room pays homage to the victims of the Munich air disaster.
On the lower level, there is a section about football shirts and profiles of Manchester United past players.
The museum is colourful and engagingly presented but due to limited space, there are only one or two small, interactive exhibits for children. There is a lot of reading required!
I would have liked to have seen more information about the stadium itself and more interactive exhibits aimed at children, not just cartoon-style drawings and information on the walls.
Dedicated Manchester United fans will love the museum. I liked the attention to detail and how football legends from the past are given as much space and homage as modern-day players.
Manchester United stadium tour
The tour begins on the lower level of the museum where your timed ticket is checked. My son was delighted to learn he was allowed to keep his Man Utd lanyard!
The tour winds around the stadium through back corridors and passages (as well as public areas) so it does feel as if you are being given hidden access.
There are a lot of stairs and steps so the tour is not pushchair or wheelchair friendly.
Non-english speakers can use an audio guide to play at different locations around the ground.
You are not allowed to touch or walk onto the hallowed pitch!
What do you visit on the Old Trafford tour?
Sir Alex Ferguson Stand
The tour starts in the Sir Alex Ferguson stand named in honour of the much-respected Scotsman who held the post of manager for 25 years!
It is the largest stand in the stadium with three tiers and a capacity for 26,000 people.
You can sit and take photos whilst listening to the tour guide. The acoustics in the stadium are good so we could hear our tour guide at all times, despite people in our group talking over her.
Corner Pitch view
This corner of the stadium is where wheelchair users sit on match days. The terrace provides fantastic views of the stadium and you will be given plenty of time to take panoramic photos.
The tour then moves inside to the surprisingly small Press Room where pre and post match interviews are recorded in front of the media.
As there are only 60 seats in this room, large press events – such as new player signings – are now held at the team training ground instead.
Everyone on the tour was excited to see the dressing room with the current teams’ shirts hanging in their individual stalls.
You are allowed to pose in front of (and with) your favourite players’ shirt. Again, this room was surprisingly small!
Old Trafford is unusual in the fact that the players’ tunnel lies on the corner of the pitch not in the middle.
Our tour made two lines, children in front, and to accompanying Premier League music, we walked down the players’ tunnel.
I think this was my sons favourite part of the tour.
Walking down the side of the pitch to the dug out in the Sir Bobby Charlton stand, you can see the excellent condition the pitch is in. I wish my garden grass was the same!
The enormous pitch is gently rounded to allow for surface run off and hides a network of pipes underneath which creates an effective underground heating system.
The pitch costs a staggering £1 million but lasts for ten years. It is 97% grass with the rest woven nylon, weaved into the grass to prevent churning and damage to the surface.
You are allowed to sit in the managers and players seats in the dug out which is above the old players’ tunnel – the only surviving part of the original 1910 stadium.
The Sir Bobby Charlton stand is the smallest stand with just a single tier but houses the VIP seats and suites as well as the media centre.
It is named after the footballing legend Bobby Charlton who is credited with coining the phrase ‘theatre of dreams’ for Old Trafford.
The tour ends all too quickly at the entrance to the Munich tunnel above which a clock displays the exact time of the Munich air disaster.
Manchester United Tour tips
Arrive on time for your tour. It will not wait for you.
Leave enough time to explore the Old Trafford museum before your tour starts as you cannot visit it after your tour.
If you wish to visit the official Manchester United shop (or megastore), book a tour early in the day or visit the shop before your tour. Some tours run after the shop has closed and you will not be allowed access to the shop afterwards.
Tours last approximately 80 minutes but our tour lasted only one hour. It was one of the last tours of the day so perhaps an earlier tour would have been longer?
Try to visit off peak and mid week. I found our tour group of 45 people very large. It took time to move around, we had to wait for people and photos and people talking when the guide was talking.
You can go to the toilet on the tour but the whole tour will wait for you whilst you go! To avoid embarrassment, go to the toilet before your tour begins!
How to save money on your Old Trafford tour ticket
These 2 for 1 tickets need to be booked directly with Manchester United by phone.
On the day of your visit, show your rail tickets for that day (if asked!) and your 2 for 1 voucher.
We saved £25 by using this offer!
My Manchester United stadium tour review
I found the tour interesting and informative and it was fun to see locations only seen previously on television.
There was plenty of time to appreciate the views and to take photographs but I found the tour very short at just one hour long. I would have liked the extra twenty minutes as stated online!
The tour guide gave some information about the stadium and the stand but not as much as I had hoped.
I am not sure whether this was because it took time for 45 people to move around the guide felt she had to keep it short. Or perhaps the guide had gauged there were a lot of non-English speakers on the tour.
Or maybe the tour operators feel people would not be interested in such facts?!
I would have liked more information on how and when the stadium was built, how the pitch is maintained and the countless jobs that take place behind the scenes such as physios, nutritionists etc.
There are corridors lined with photos of male footballing legends but what about the female footballers, or the behind the scenes heroes who keep the global club and Old Trafford stadium operating throughout the years?
I would love Manchester United to show visiting boys and girls that there are many roles to aspire to in the game they love and not just the tiny percentage that make it as professional footballers. Manchester United are missing a great educational opportunity here!
Every member of staff we encountered are an asset to Old Trafford.
From the security guard who quizzed my son about his role in our village football team and told him to ‘always play his best because you never knew who is watching,’ to our patient tour guide, to the assistant tour guide who whipped the shirt of my sons favourite player off the wall for my son to hold.
If you like and enjoy watching football, you will enjoy the Old Trafford tour.
If you are a lifelong, die-hard Manchester United fan, you will love the Manchester United tour.