Address: Vicarage Road,
Capacity: 22,200 (All-Seater)
Banked stands, song lyrics and giant murals. This place has them all...
Watford Football Club have been based here ever since the ground was built in 1922, moving from their previous home Cassio Road where they had been for over twenty years.
Middlesex club Wealdstone also called Vicarage Road their home between 1991 and 1993, whilst Rugby Union club Saracens used the stadium from 1997 until 2013, when they moved into their new home at Allianz Park.
Location and Getting There
Vicarage Road itself is well placed within Watford. Less than one mile southwest of the Town Centre, Watford General Hospital is just a short distance further in the same direction.
Coming by car can prove a challenge, particularly if you are looking for free parking.
A possible option for those who willing to pay for parking is the CitiPark Sutton Car Park on Estcourt Road, which is little over 15 minutes walk through the Town Centre and down to Vicarage Road. Free parking may be able to be found further south along Vicarage Road in nearby housing estates.
The nearest train station to the ground is Watford High Street, less than 15 minutes walk away, although most who come by train will arrive at the town’s main station Watford Junction. It is served by National Rail and under 25 minutes walk through the Town Centre towards the ground.
Outside the Stadium
If you are coming from the Town Centre, the first thing you’ll come to is the northeast corner of the stadium. The club’s Main Store, called The Hornets Shop, is located here, and the corner's exterior has a nice black matte colour to it.
Outside of the Hornets Shop is a statue of Graham Taylor OBE. Born in Worksop on 15th September 1944, Taylor played for Grimsby Town and Lincoln City as a full-back before starting management in 1972. In two spells with The Hornets, Taylor took them from the fourth tier of English Football to the top flight, along with an FA Cup Final in 1984 that lives long in the memory of those connected to the club.
Manager of the England National Team between 1990 and 1993, Graham Taylor passed away on 12th January 2017 at the age of 72.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the East Stand, named after the club's honorary Life President Sir Elton John.
The stand’s exterior follows the same black matte design as the northeast corner, with the main part of the stand behind made from black corrugated iron, At the southern end of the Sir Elton John Stand is a giant mural of Sir Elton John, dressed in Watford kit with Puma boots and sat on a white football. The mural also includes his signature in yellow writing.
The turnstiles for the Sir Elton John Stand are easy to identify. Each of them has a yellow, panelled tower directly above them that protrudes slightly outwards from the rest of the exterior. Turnstiles 21-22 are the northernmost turnstiles on this side of Vicarage Road, and the Media Entrance is immediately to the left of Turnstile 22. Head past a large Watford club badge and you'll come to Turnstiles 23-24. Head further south and you'll find the Players' Entrance, followed soon after by Turnstiles 25-26. Turnstiles 27-30 are at the southern end of the stand, where the black matte exterior wall isn't as tall as other parts. The mural of Sir Elton John is very close to these turnstiles.
Vicarage Road's southeast corner forms part of the Rookery Stand, the deepest stand of the four at Watford's stadium.
The upper parts of the Rookery Stand's exterior are taken up by Watson Court, a large collection of apartments, many of which have angled balconies. A walkway underneath Watson Court includes turnstiles and entrances to club facilities.
At the stadium's southeast corner, you can find Turnstiles 31-33, for use by those in this corner of the Rookery Stand.
There are numerous facilities in place along the base of the Rookery Stand, which has rows of circle support pillars in place all the way along. Turnstiles 34-41 are immediately around the corner from Turnstiles 31-33, followed soon after by Watson Court Entrance C (for Watson Court residents only). Heading west along the Rookery Stand's exterior, you will soon come to the Ticketing & Supporter Services Office, which has a parking spaces in front of it that are reserved for Watford FC directors. The Photographers Entrance and Mascot Meeting Point are further west from here, and around the centre of the stand is the Pre-Booked Match Ticket Collection Point. You can also find entrances here for both the Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust, as well as the Matchday Office through a small door.
A tunnel under the stand leads to Turnstiles 42-43, with the space outside taken up by more private car parking spaces that are positioned between the stand's supporting pillars. Watson Court Entrance B is followed by the South West Hospitality Entrance (this provides access to the Gallery and the View).
Right at the western end of the Rookery Stand are Turnstiles 44-50 which are used by those in both the Rookery Stand and Vicarage Road's West Stand. As of the 2014-15 season, Vicarage Road’s West Stand has became known as the Graham Taylor Stand, in honour of the club’s greatest ever manager.
There is no direct access between the Rookery Stand and the Graham Taylor Stand. To get between the two, you will need to head down the staircases a short distance away from Turnstiles 44-50. These stairs lead you to a footpath that passes down between Watford General Hospital and its large multi-storey car park, passing by 'The Bunker' along the way. You will eventually emerge at the edge of one of the hospital's car parks, and you can head north from here through the hospital buildings and over to the exterior of the Graham Taylor Stand should you need to.
Most of the Graham Taylor Stand's exterior has entrances for the hospitality sections including the Directors' Guest Lounge, Chairman's Lounge, Laurent Perrier Lounge and the Sir Elton John Suite.
Vicarage Road’s car park is located out beyond this stand, with the roads and paths from here leading on to Watford General Hospital.
Turnstiles for the Graham Taylor Stand are based in the stadium's northwest and southwest corners (1-13 and 44-50 respectively). Which turnstile you need to use will be marked on your matchday ticket, and it is worth knowing in advance which one you need as it is not a simple trip to get between the two corners.
There are residential buildings in place above the stadium's northwest corner.
The North Stand is known as the Vicarage Road Stand after the street running outside of it.
The exterior here used a black matte panelled design at the base. Corrugated iron is in place higher up and displays the Watford club badge as well as the letters WATFORD FC spread out across it.
General entrance into the Graham Taylor Stand comes through Turnstiles 1-13 which are based at the stadium's northwest corner. These turnstiles also grant access to the Ann Swanson Family Stand (Blocks 3 and 4 of the Vicarage Road Stand), named after Ann Swanson whose work as leader of the Junior Hornets and the founder of the Family Enclosure helped drive Watford to become 'The Original Family Club.'
The entrance to The Grill is located to the left of Turnstiles 1-13. and heading further east along the stand from here will bring you to a Wenzel's Bakery. The away section (blocks 1 and 2 of the Vicarage Road Stand) begin after this bakery. There are two sets of turnstiles away supporters use, either Turnstiles 14-15 or Turnstiles 16-19. A small window to the left of Turnstiles 16-19 houses the Away Ticket Office (queues are likely to form here in the build-up to a game) and further left from here are the entrances to the Sky Lounge and the Sensory Room.
Inside the Stadium
The Sir Elton John Stand is single-tiered, with the outer blocks yellow and the inner blocks red. Along the wall behind the back row is the quoted Chorus to “Your Song”, recorded by Sir Elton John in 1970.
The seating area has a banked design where the rows higher up are much steeper than the rows at the very front.
Watford's changing rooms, tunnel and dugouts are all located inside the Sir Elton John Stand.
Your view may be blocked slightly in these lower down seats by railings, but there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof.
The Rookery Stand is also single-tiered.
Much like the adjacent Sir Elton John Stand, the outer blocks are made up of yellow seating with the inner blocks made up of red seating. The letters WFC are also spelt out in yellow across the central blocks. The stand also has a banked design much like the Sir Elton John Stand, meaning that the rows higher up are much steeper than then rows down at the front.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and the vast majority of seats inside offer a perfectly clear view of the pitch. The view restrictions come right at the back. There is a metal cage in the middle of the back rows for TV cameras to use, and it causes a notable restriction to your view if you are one of the two rows of seats either behind or next to it.
The Gallery and The View, two of Vicarage Road's hospitality sections, are both based in the southwest corner, with a large television screen also in place here and one of two TV studios.
The Graham Taylor Stand is the only one of the four that is two-tiered, with a row of executive boxes running along the very back. The bottom tier is larger than the one above, and your view at the back of this bottom tier may be slightly restricted by the roof hanging overhead.
The entire lower level is made up of red seats, with the letters Watford spelt out in yellow across the blocks. The steeper upper level on the other hand is made up of red and yellow squares, with black executive seating blocks in the very centre.
No supporting pillars come down from above either tier, and so your view inside is generally very good.
The Vicarage Road Stand is single-tiered with the outer blocks coloured yellow and the inner blocks coloured red. A large electronic screen is attached to the roof and can best be seen by those at the opposite end of the stadium.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the stand's roof and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear.
Two red seating blocks and 'The Grill', are based in the northwest corner, and there are a couple of blocks of red seating in the northeast corner which are considered part of the Sir Elton John Stand.
Away fans are placed behind the goal, on the east side of the Vicarage Road Stand (blocks 1 and 2).
Depending on the allocation, as much as half of the stand can be given to away supporters, with the rest taken up by home fans that are segregated from them by a large sheet and stewards.
The view from here is very good with the action coming towards you, and having home supporters a few metres away can really help enhance the atmosphere on a matchday. Turnstiles 14-19 outside provide access for away supporters into Vicarage Road.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Market Tavern (28 Market Street, WD18 0PY) (Home Supporters Welcome)
-The Moon Under Water (44 High Street, WD17 2BS) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Watford Town Centre)
-The No.8 at the Red Lion (105 Vicarage Road, WD18 0EY) (Typically Home Supporters) (Located very close to the stadium)
-The Oddfellows (14 Fearnley Street, WD18 0RD) (Popular with Away Supporters)
For a football experience, you can’t really go wrong with Vicarage Road. If you’re a fan of the front row seat, you can get very close to the pitch no matter which stand you sit in, and the views from the back rows are ideal for those who like to see the pitch as a whole.
It may not be the most famous, or biggest stadium in the country, but it certainly fits all the criteria needed to be a practical, modern ground.