The National Football Museum is a comprehensive museum that's home to a vast collection of football memorabilia based in the iconic Urbis building. Throughout 4 floors, you'll find an extensive array of important artefacts from some of the most important moments in football history. About 2,500 items are on display at any given time, but the museum houses 140,000 items in total, with many of the displays being changed regularly.

This museum is designed to appeal to sports lovers of all kinds, both young and old, with exciting artefacts and memorabilia from some of the most iconic moments in football history. Most visitors spend about 2 or 3 hours here, but you could spend around 4 if you take the time to explore everything the museum has to offer. This is especially true depending on the extent of any temporary exhibition they happen to be showing during your visit.

National Football Museum in Manchester - one of the highlights of 11 Best Free Things to Do in Manchester and 11 Best Sporting Attractions in Manchester (Read all about Manchester here)

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National Football Museum highlights

Among the artefacts and memorabilia on display, you'll find quite a few pieces that stand out. One of the crown jewels of the collection is the shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he made the iconic 'Hand of God' goal during the 1986 World Cup. Several important game balls are on display, including 2 balls used in the first World Cup final in 1930 and the ball from the 1966 World Cup final.

This museum is organized into several areas. The Pitch Gallery showcases trophies and the Hall of Fame. In the Match Gallery, you'll find artefacts from the game along with a section dedicated to England's team on the world stage. The Play Gallery features interactive games including a zone designed for kids under the age of 5. The Score Gallery is a changing exhibition space, so you'll find something different there each year.

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National Football Museum history

This museum wasn't always located in Manchester. It originally opened in 2001 in the city of Preston within the Deepdale Stadium grounds. This was significant considering the fact that Deepdale was the oldest continuously used professional football ground in the world at the time. The collection was quite impressive when it was first opened, but more artefacts were collected over the years.

While the museum was fairly popular, the original museum had trouble getting funding. Just 6 years after it opened, there was already a serious disparity between income and costs. To attract more people and secure the museum's future, it was moved to the Urbis building in Manchester in 2011. It reopened in 2012 and has been a stunning success ever since, attracting more than half a million visitors every year.

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Good to know when visiting the National Football Museum

One of the most important things to know about the National Football Museum is that access is not free. The charging model was adopted in 2019, and it applies to everyone who isn't a resident of the city of Manchester. Fortunately, ticket prices are fairly affordable, though keep in mind that you'll always save if you buy online rather than at the door.

Additionally, it's important to remember that the latest time you can get a ticket each day is an hour before they close. Any later than that, and you'll have to come back the following day, even if the museum is technically still open. Fortunately, you can make good time, as getting to the museum is easy whether you're travelling by train, car, bus, coach or Metrolink.

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National Football Museum in Manchester

Location: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG, UK

Open: Thursday–Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Monday–Wednesday)

Phone: +44 (0)1616 058200