Address: Trinity Road,
Capacity: 42,749 (All-Seater)
Simply one of the most iconic football stadiums in the whole United Kingdom.
If you’ve ever driven along the M6 motorway, you will have seen this ground standing proud to the west, and it’s certainly worth taking the time to check out.
The stadium has been the home of Aston Villa Football Club since its opening way back in 1897, the same year Villa also won the double of both the First Division Title and the FA Cup.
The club had previously played matches at Wellington Road in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham before moving to what was then known as the Aston Lower Grounds, where it became affectionately known as Villa Park by supporters of the Claret and Blue.
Location and Getting There
Villa Park is located around 2.5 miles north of Birmingham City Centre, on the edge of Aston Borough. Aston Hall, and Aston Park which surrounds it, are located directly south of the stadium, with the River Tame to the West.
Finding free parking, as for any place in Birmingham, is a struggle, but I have personally found luck looking through the borough of Nechells which is southwest of Villa Park, and in the industrial estate very close to the StarCity amusement centre, this can set you back though with a walk upwards of 25 minutes depending on how quickly you go.
The two train stations closest to the stadium are Witton, which is a five minute walk north of the ground, and Aston, approximately a 15 minute walk southwest of the stadium.
Both stations are served by West Midlands Trains.
Outside the Stadium
If you’re approaching Villa Park from the South, your route takes you past The Holte Pub, full of Villa fans on every matchday. The roads surrounding this pub are always closed off to vehicles in order to allow fans to walk freely down them on their way to the stadium.
Continuing past The Holte Pub, you’re introduced to the Holte End entrance, which is easily the most impressive part of Villa Park’s exterior. Elevated above ground level and accessible by two large staircases, the entrance resembles that of a grand manor, with a really nice brickwork design that seems to gleam on sunny matchdays.
Heading round in a clockwise direction brings you to the Trinity Road Stand, so named because of the street that runs outside of it.
The exterior consists mostly of brick and glass with a cantilever roof, and is so large that the back of it actually hangs over Trinity Road, so you have to walk underneath it in order to get from one side of Villa Park to the other.
The main reception and executive suite entrances are based inside this stand, with the players' and officials' entrance based in the northwest corner.
Outside of the Trinity Road Stand is a statue of William McGregor.
Born in Scotland, McGregor moved to Birmingham to set up a draper business and became involved with Aston Villa, working there for almost 20 years as president, director and chairman amongst other roles.
He is also credited with founding the Football League in 1888, and his beloved Villa were one of the 12 clubs who featured in that inaugural first season.
The North Stand is the smallest of the four at Villa Park, but still has an impressive exterior design.
It consists of a brickwork base with white concrete and large glass panels higher up.
Entrances into Aston Villa’s Club Offices are based in the centre of the stand, with turnstiles close by.
The main bulk of Villa Park’s car parking spaces are out beyond here, and at the far end is the Aston Villa club shop, Aston Villa Academy Building, and the Matchday Fun Zone.
The East Stand is better known as the Doug Ellis Stand after Sir Herbert Douglas Ellis OBE, the late Aston Villa chairman who was in office for two spells from 1968 to 1975, and then again from 1982 until 2006.
The stand runs right alongside Witton Lane (B4137) and its exterior consists mostly of a very nice brickwork design.
Turnstiles into the stand are spread across the outer wall, with entrances to the Doug Ellis Stand executive boxes and The Lions Club also clearly marked out.
Inside the Stadium
The Holte End is a two-tiered behemoth consisting of row-upon-row of sky blue seats in the lower tier, and seats in the club’s famous claret colour running along the top tier, which is smaller than the level below. The letters THE are spelt out in claret along the back of the lower tier, with the letters HOLTE END in the same claret colour running along the rows closer to the pitch.
Large windshields cover the sides of the whole upper tier, as well as the very top rows of the lower tier. Both tiers also make use of a slight parabolic curve that ensures a good view from every seat, whether that be on the sides of the stand or in the very middle.
Add into that the absence of any supporting pillars, and it means that on days when The Holte End is full, it can make for quite a sight.
The Trinity Road Stand is the largest of the four at Villa Park, and the only one to consist of three tiers. The lower and middle tier are made up of sky blue seats, and the upper tier contains claret seats.
There are no letters spelt out in this stand, but directly in the centre of the middle tier are the press and director’s seats, which can be clearly made out as they are a different material to other seats inside.
The Trinity Road Stand houses the Villa Park tunnel, located off centre towards the northwest corner, as well as the dugouts, directly in the centre of the stand, with the changing rooms inside.
Your view from anywhere in the Trinity Road Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and large windshields are in place to ensure that every row in the stand's three tiers is covered.
In the southwest corner between the Trinity Road Stand and the Holte End is a three-storey pavilion-like structure that is home to the club’s corporate hospitality.
The North Stand follows a similar colour scheme to that of The Holte End, with sky blue seats in the lower tier and claret seats in the upper tier, but it does not match the size and shape of the stand opposite.
The letters AV are spelt out in sky blue across the central blocks of the upper tier. The lower tier is much smaller, though it does loop around to cover both the northeast and northwest corners with seats. Villa Park's stadium control box is based atop the seating blocks in the northwest corner.
Between the upper and lower tiers of the North Stand are two rows of executive boxes stacked on top of one another.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear, and large windshields are in place to cover every row in the upper tier.
The Doug Ellis Stand consists of two tiers with light blue seats in the lower tier and claret seats in the upper tier. A row of executive boxes separates the two levels from one another.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof once again and so your view from anywhere inside the Doug Ellis Stand is perfectly clear.
Large windshields are also in place which cover ever row at both ends of the upper tier.
There are two large electronic screens at Villa Park, one in the northeast corner and the other opposite in the southwest corner. These provide action replays as well as a live scoreboard and clock.
Away fans are not sat behind the goal, they are instead given the blocks of the Doug Ellis Stand that are next to the northeast corner.
Depending on the away allocation, large crowds are given seats in both the upper and lower tier of the stand, with smaller crowds taking up just one tier.
Away fans are given a clear view of the action with no supporting pillars in the Doug Ellis Stand, with windshields in place that protect every row in the upper tier.
Pubs available for supporters on a matchday include:
-The Aston Tavern (Aston Hall Road, B6 6QA) (Home Supporters Only)
-The Bartons Arms (144 High Street, B6 4UP)
-The Beaufort Arms (42 Old Walsall Road, B42 1NP) (Welcomes Away Supporters)
-The Shakespeare Inn (31 Summer Row, B3 1JJ)
-The Square Peg (115 Corporation Street, B4 6PH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Witton Arms (458 Witton Road, B6 6SN) (Away Supporters Only)
Villa Park truly is a fantastic ground. It carries so much history within its foundations, yet is still perfect for the modern game. Huge stands, excellent views from every seat, a rocking atmosphere, it’s fitting that one of England’s most iconic football clubs has a stadium that is as equally famous not just in the country but across the continent.
If you love your football, you must make sure you come and watch a game here, you will not regret it one bit.