Is your team heading to the StoneX Stadium to play Saracens?
This area of North London isn’t a typical tourist destination. But every rugby fan should take the chance to visit the Saracens’ home ground at least once.
Here are the best tips for your travel and stay.
If you ask a local about getting to the StoneX stadium, they may not know what you’re talking about.
But ask for the Saracens home ground and they’ll point you in the right direction.
The reason with any confusion is that the stadium has gone through several names in recent years.
The original name was the Copthall Stadium when it was primarily an athletics arena. Saracens played their first match there in 2013.
It became known as the Allianz Park through that decade as the financial services firm sponsored the team.
The name switched back to being Copthall for a year until the U.S. finance firm StoneX stepped in as a sponsor.
Areas In The Stadium
The stadium has an athletics track surrounding the pitch. That means you are a little further from the action than in other rugby stadia.
This can detract from the atmosphere in similar grounds. But Saracens supporters are a loud bunch and make themselves heard!
Let’s take a look at each area…
The East Stand gives you the best combination of great views and great atmosphere. But because the views are the best in the ground, you pay a bit of a premium for the tickets.
The other advantage of the East Stand is the food and bar area that runs behind the stand from one end to the other.
The food choices vary from pizza to bratwurst stalls. I’ve been to most of the Premiership grounds and will boldly say that nowhere else tops the quality and choice behind the East Stand.
The North Stand has the most raucous atmosphere in the grounds.
It’s the home of many die-hard Sarries fans who don’t stop shouting on their team.
But they always have a friendly welcome with rival supporters. The club doesn’t always get the biggest crowds and the fans genuinely appreciate visitors.
The best view is behind the goalposts. But you’ll have to get there early to nab the prime viewing spots.
And of course, you do miss out on a direct view of the action at the far end of the pitch.
The South Stand also has that restricted view of the far end. But that’s why the tickets tend to be cheaper than the East or West Stand.
There are two big screens at either end of the stadium, so they help you follow the whole match.
West Stand / 1876 Stand
The West Stand was recently renamed as the 1876 Stand.
Although nobody I spoke to would turn down a free ticket to the 1876 stand, there was general agreement that it’s the quietest of the stands.
Personally, that suits me. It takes all types!
Getting To Mill Hall And The StoneX Stadium
The stadium is in the Mill Hill area of Hendon in North London.
It’s in the middle of a highly residential area so you’ll likely be having a few pints or staying elsewhere. I’ll give you the best choices later in this guide.
Let’s look here at getting to the stadium.
Going by car
The local Barnet council is very strict on parking.
Don’t drive and park in residential streets. The wardens are out in force on match days and you’ll pay a steep fine.
If you’re driving, then a good option is to arrive early and park at Mill Hill RFC, one of the local rugby clubs. You’ll pay about £15 for having a shorter walk to the stadium than other official car parks.
Getting to the stadium by train
My advice for traveling supporters is to use the train and avail of the free shuttle buses that Saracens lay on from several train stations: Mill Hill East and Mill Hill Broadway.
If you’re using the underground, take the Northern line to Mill Hill East.
The alternative overground track is provided by Thameslink and your endpoint is Mill Hill Broadway.
The free shuttle buses drop you off at Pursley road which is still a ten-minute walk from the stadium.
For older folk or people who don’t fancy that walk, then a good option is to take the Northern Line (tube) to Hendon Central and get a taxi from there.
Getting to the stadium by bus
Depending on where you are in London, look for hooking up with the 221 bus to Edgeware.
This bus stops on Pursley Road, which I’ve already mentioned as the drop-off point for shuttle buses from the local train stations.
There will be plenty of Saracens supporters walking to the stadium so you can just follow the flow.
Flying In For The Match
London is well-served with airports, but Stansted and Luton are on the right side of the city for getting to the stadium.
Be aware that train tickets in England are a lot more expensive than coaches and buses. If you intend to use the train from the airports, then you should book in advance to get the best deals.
Here are two booking options (there may be booking fees):
If you’re not staying overnight in London or the surrounding region, then Luton Airport is probably the most convenient airport.
There is a train that runs from the airport train station to Mill Hill East where Saracens lays on a free shuttle bus.
But when you’re planning your flight times, be aware that the airport train station is some distance from the airport.
The free shuttles get you there. But allow for twenty minutes from arriving at the shuttle point to getting to the train station.
Stansted is often the choice for supporters of the Irish provinces.
The well-traveled route is to take the National Express (A6) to Golders Green. This is a frequent service (at least every half hour).
London traffic can be heavy although less so at the weekend. Allow for an hour to get to Golders Green.
From there, you can catch the 221 bus towards Edgware and get off at Pursley Road. The journey is about thirty minutes.
You’ll now follow a stream of supporters on the ten-minute walk to the stadium.
Alternatively, you can get the Northern Line from Golders Green to Mill Hill East and jump on a free Saracens shuttle bus.
Heathrow is served by a tube station on the Piccadilly Line. The trick is to take it towards central London and change for the Northern Line.
The Northern Line takes you to Mill Hill East where you can get the free shuttle to the stadium.
You can change from the Piccadilly Line at Kings Cross St Pancras. Be aware that this stadium is massive! You’ll be going down and up escalators to get to the Northern Line.
Allow for at least ninety minutes travel time from Heathrow to Mill Hill East.
Best Areas To Stay
The stadium is in a quiet residential area and there isn’t much going on in terms of hotels and pubs.
I recommend that you stay in a more central area of London but still on the northern side of the city.
As Saracens run a free shuttle bus from Mill Hill East and Mill Hill Broadway stations, then your best options are hotels on the Thameslink (overground) or Northern (underground) train lines.
Here are my picks for people on a budget. They have one or other of the rail lines I mentioned.
You can always get the tube or train into the West End for the nightlife and come back for a decent night’s sleep in a less pricey part of town.
Finchley Central is on the Northern Line. It is the closest to the stadium of the options I give here.
There are some great Turkish and Persian eateries in this area. If you’re into kebabs, you’ll get the real deal. But it’s worth trying one of the more stylish Turkish or Mediterranean restaurants close by.
The Catcher In The Rye pub is a great choice for points and does good pub grub.
Golders Green is about five miles from the stadium. It’s a traditionally Jewish area of London. You’ll get the best shawarma and hummus in the city.
There are also plenty of good Korean and Japanese restaurants in the area.
British rugby fans may raise their eyes at my recommendation of Cricklewood, as it’s not a well-known part of London.
But it’s a favorite choice for Irish traveling supporters. That’s because historically it was a very Irish part of London.
The Crown is the famous destination for rugby supporters and there’s usually live music at the hotel. The pub will show other rugby matches.
But there are other good budget options in the area, such as the Windmill.
The Thameslink train line runs through Cricklewood. You can get straight to Mill Hill Broadway where Saracens lay on a shuttle bus for the stadium.
Rugby Pubs Near The Stadium
I mentioned that the stadium is in a residential area and you won’t find many choices outside the grounds before kick-off.
Your best options are the amateur rugby clubs on either side of the stadium. Mill Hill RFC is on the western side, while Hendon RFC is at the northeast.
But you’ll also find plenty of choices of ale within the stadium.