Leon Hart

As one of the original founders at Polar Choice I have seen it all. I have endured the good and the bad of the accommodation industry in London and being born in this great city I am able to give a perspective that perhaps others cant. In 2011 we decided that we wanted to diversify the services we offer our clients and I worked hard to develop relationships with schools and education partners across the globe so that we can now offer a product that's unmatched anywhere in the world. If you have a question on any of the products or services that we offer or would like some advice on London or UK destinations get in touch and I will give you an honest assessment.

A Guide To Premier League Football in London - Part 1

London as a city has enjoyed plenty of success in the Premier League over the years.  A total of 10 different clubs have played in what many call the best League in the world.  Whilst the premier league's validity of being the best league in the world is often questioned, I think it's fair to say that it's standing in regards to entertainment is not.  On any given day, teams in the lower half can beat teams in the top half and there are never any easy games.  Case in point being the last day of the season last year when my beloved spurs went to Newcastle (who were already relegated) and got demolished 5-1.  I have yet to recover but being a spurs fan means that I am used to glorious failures.  I would love to write a blog solely about spurs but premier league football in London is about so much more and in this blog I will illustrate the different clubs in London and try to give some insight into each and why you should visit when in London. There are 6 clubs in total that we will look at over this blog series starting with Arsenal & Crystal Palace below.


What We Will Look At

When considering the content for this blog entry I thought long and hard about what our students are looking for when going to a game.  It would be easy for me to spout off the normal information regarding the London clubs but for this blog I have decided to enlist friends and colleagues for comment so that I can provide a personal more fan orientated insight into the different London premier league clubs.  For the clubs listed below we will take a look at the following

  • Best pub or bar to visit before the game
  • Any places to avoid
  • Best places to eat 
  • Best place to sit
  • What to do after the game

 London Premier League Clubs That Are No Longer With Us

 10 teams from London have graced the premier league but only 6 currently ply their trade in the league.  Of the other 4, 3 have been relegated and one has changed it'sname altogether after the owner decided to up sticks and move to Milton Keynes.  The football clubs that we won't be discussing are

  • Fulham
  • Wimbledon (Now AFC Wimbledon or MK Dons)
  • Queens Park Rangers
  • Charlton Athletic

What I would say about these clubs are that being in a lower division means that getting tickets for games will be a lot cheaper and much more attainable you could fully expect to turn up on the day and get tickets on the door.

Arsenal

Through gritted teeth I say this but Arsenal have done a great job financially since moving from the Emirates.  Whilst league success has been missing in recent years the job that Monsieur Wenger has done in building the club is nothing short of spectacular.  That said fans are split down the middle when it comes to their manager with plenty of arsenal fans bemoaning the signings made over years and the lack of on field success.  The last league success was back 2003 > 2004 before that they were champions on two other occasions.

Where to drink before the game

12 Pins in Finsbury park is a good spot for drinks it gets very busy in the hour leading up to kick off but in general most pubs near the ground do.  If you want a more relaxing drink before the game then head to upper street where the bars are less busy.

Where to eat before the game

Upper street has an abundance of restaurants you wont be short of top notch food on a trip to the Arsenal.

Where to avoid

Unless your a member avoid the White Swan you will need an Arsenal membership to gain entry.  Also try and avoid the Lord Nelson unless your cheering on the away team as it tends to be for away fans only.

Where to sit

Arsenal fans are often teased about the noise generated at home games.  Highbury was often called the library.  Personally I have only been once and the atmosphere on the day was electric but that was for a derby game against spurs.  Having spoken to friends the best place to sit at the Emirates would be the North Bank lower.  There is dedicated family seating section so try and avoid that if you're looking for something more passionate.

Where to go after

No brainer here, just head to upper street loads of watering holes and plenty of things to see and do.

Crystal Palace

With and enigmatic manager and energetic support days out at Crystal Palace are becoming more attractive for students coming to London.  I would strongly recommend getting down to Palace for a game you wont regret it.  Based in South London Palace are a club that don't really have any rivals, since Wimbledon moved there has been no big club in this part of London and at one point both Palace and Wimbledon shared the same ground.  The closest team Palace have as a rival would be Chelsea or Fulham but if you ask most Palace fans they would tell you that their biggest rival is Brighton who are 50 miles away on the coast.

Where to drink before the game

The 3 recommended spots before going to a palace game are the Two Brewers, The Railway club and the Conservative club.  For cheap drinks head to the railway or the conservative pub however if your looking for a cracking atmosphere then go to the Clifton arms which is right outside the ground. 

Where to eat before the game

The high street has plenty of decent spots for food however I have a soft spot for the tasty jerk restaurant near the ground.  Having lived in the area after university I can strongly recommend this place you wont be disappointed.

Where to avoid

The William Stanley is an away fans pub so try and avoid that if possible.

Where to sit

Palace fans are fast becoming synonymous with generating a great atmosphere there are some great shots online showing the famous palace tifos at last years cup final (also look up Alan Pardew's dance whilst your at it) and the lower holmsdale is where you want to sit.

Where to go after

Croydon is not far away but the recommended spots are the White Hart and Westow House to soak up that post game atmosphere.

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A Guide To Premier League Football in London - Part 2

Part two of our guide to London football takes a look at two teams that spent years in court fighting it out for the rights to the Olympic stadium.  West Ham and Spurs both submitted plans for the venue with Spurs wanting to rebuild it without the running track.  Ultimately West Ham got the rights and with it a somewhat favourable deal on rent over the next decade.

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Playing Football in London

Moving to London often brings with it many new challenges. There are some essential things that need to be taken care of first such as finding accommodation (hopefully through us) and setting up essential facilities like banking. Once you have taken care of the necessities then its time to explore the city and think about how you want to spend your leisure time. Football is one such pastime and is the activity I am asked about the most, its only fitting then that this year we kick of our new blog with a look at the football facilities in London and try and give some advice on how you can find a local team .

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Dinner for 2 people in London under £20

The Polar Choice staff have been there and done it all.  Many of the guys that have worked with Polar Choice over the years have had the experience of studying English in London and have been through many of the experiences that our students go through.  At Polar Choice we understand that coming to study in London or anywhere in the UK can be a daunting and expensive experience so with the help of the guys at the office I have compiled a list of our favourite places to dine for 2 people all for under £20.  

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12 Pubs of Christmas

If your an international student coming to study English in England or anywhere else within the United Kingdom then you may have already noticed our particular affliction to festive jumpers and festive head gear in the lead up to Christmas. In many other countries festive jumpers are normally worn only on the day itself however if you are a student studying in any large city in the you may have heard about the 12 pubs of Christmas. In this blog I will try and recollect my experience over the weekend (however most of it was a blur) and give you some ideas on possible routes to take.

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St Andrews Day Scotland

Following on from our post on remembrance Sunday we now take a look at Saint Andrews day and what it means. For our international clients its important to understand some of the cultural factors and holidays us Brits celebrate. For any students studying English in Scotland or anyone who fancies taking the trip north of the border to explore Scotland and take in a national Scottish holiday.

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Leon Hart
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