If you have football fan in the family (I have two) they may be keen to either play or watch football when you’re on your travels. There are lots of hotels and resorts around the world offering football-themed breaks. Some places have incorporated football into their very design while others offer skills coaching for kids. Some of the coaching is free, some of it’s not and it’s a good idea to book before you go. Here are some of the best football-themed destinations.
La Manga Club, Spain
La Manga Club resort in Spain has a football academy open to children between the ages of three and eighteen years. The football centre at the club has eight grass pitches and has served as a training base for teams such as the English and Spanish national teams as well as Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid. I stayed at La Manga Club for two weeks on a family summer holiday – check out my full review in my post What’s it like to stay at La Manga Club.
Hilton at St. George’s Park
St. George’s Park in Staffordshire is the England Football Association’s National Football Centre, and it’s where the national teams train. When they’re here, the teams stay at the Hilton hotel on site, where you can also stay as a paying guest. We spent an enjoyable weekend there – a highlight was a tour of St. George’s park. You can read all about it here: Hilton at St. George’s Park review.
Verdura Resort, Sicily
The German national team trained at the beautiful Verdura resort before the 2010 World Cup. The resort is on the Sicilian coast and is owned by Rocco Forte. Children aged five to sixteen years can take part in the Juventus FC Training Camp on the resort’s full-size football pitch my son really enjoyed the coaching when we stayed at the resort for a couple of days when we visited Sicily on a family summer holiday.
Forte Village, Sardinia
Sardinia’s luxurious Forte Village resort is home to a Chelsea Football Club Soccer School. Children staying at the resort aged between four and fourteen can apply for a place during the summer season. There are specific courses at different times for goalkeepers, strikers, defenders and playmakers.
Amari Buriram United, Thailand
The Amari Buriram United claims to be the only football-themed hotel in Thailand. The hotel is in north east Thailand, right next to the home stadium of the local football team, Buriram United. The building is modelled on a sports stadium and most rooms look onto a central area with a mini football field and a swimming pool.
Hotel Football, England
Hotel Football has its own five-a-side pitch on the roof. It’s right next to Manchester’s Old Trafford Stadium and is co-owned by ex-Manchester United footballers Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. Apparently the plan is to open further Hotel Footballs (or should that be Hotels Football??) in other cities.
First Choice holiday villages
Kids staying at a First Choice Holiday Village can improve their football skills at the International Football Academy. The coaches are FA or UEFA qualified and run two, three or four-day courses with sessions lasting for two hours. The sessions are open to kids of all abilities between the ages of five and sixteen.
Butlins offers free football coaching for kids staying at their three resorts at weekends and during school holidays. The coaches are FA qualified and the sessions take place in a dedicated football area.
My son lives and breathes football and I know he’d love any of these places, but they all look like they’re great destinations in their own right, even if you’re not a football fan. I’m not into football at all but I’ve been to an Arsenal football match with him and on tours of Wembley Stadium and the Amsterdam Arena and actually quite enjoyed it.
Do you have any football-themed destinations to add to the list?