Craven Cottage has been home to Fulham F.C. since 1896. It is a soccer stadium in Fulham, West London, England. The stadium has 22,384 seats, and the 1938 match against Millwall drew a record crowd of 49,335. It was originally a royal hunting lodge and has a more than 300-year history; it is located on the banks of the River Thames, next to Bishop’s Park. The men’s national football teams of the United States, Australia, Ireland, and Canada have all played at the stadium. It was also the former home of the rugby league club Fulham RLFC.
History on the Craven Cottage
The first Cottage was constructed in 1780 by William Craven, the sixth Baron Craven, and it was situated not far from the site of the present-day Johnny Haynes Stand. At the time, the area was surrounded by woods that served as some of Anne Boleyn’s hunting grounds.
Before it was completely destroyed by fire in May 1888, The Cottage was inhabited by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the author of The Last Days of Pompeii, and other somewhat famous (and wealthy) people. Among Fulham supporters, there are numerous rumors about former Craven Cottage tenants. Although there is no concrete proof, people like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jeremy Bentham, Florence Nightingale, and even Queen Victoria are said to have visited. After the fire, the location was left unoccupied. Before settling down at Craven Cottage permanently, Fulham had eight different stadiums. In total, The Cottagers have played at 12 stadiums (including a brief stint at Loftus Road), making them the only team in British football to have more home stadiums than their former “landlords” and rivals QPR (14). Ranelagh House, Fulham’s opulent residence from 1886 to 1888, deserves special mention.
The land was so overgrown when Fulham representatives first saw it, in 1894, that it took two years to make it suitable for playing football there. A deal was made in which the owners of the property agreed to perform the work in exchange for a portion of the gate receipts.
On October 10, 1896, Fulham faced Minerva in the Middlesex Senior Cup. This was the first football game at which there were any gate receipts. Soon after, the first stand on the field was constructed. It was initially dubbed the “rabbit hutch” and was described as looking like a “orange box”; it actually consisted of four wooden structures, each holding about 250 seats.
Other Uses of the Stadium
The Cottage served as the home field for Fulham rugby league games between 1980 and 1984. Before changing back to London Broncos ahead of the 2012 season, they had previously been known as the London Crusaders, London Broncos, and Harlequins Rugby League. On February 15, 1981, the team played Wakefield Trinity in front of the largest crowd the team had ever seen at any venue 15,013.
Fulham was in the second-to-last spot in The Football League when the Hillsborough tragedy struck in 1989, but after the Taylor report, Jimmy Hill, the club’s ambitious chairman, put forth plans for an all-seater stadium in 1996. Due in part to pressure from neighborhood residents’ groups, these plans were never implemented, and by the time Fulham made it to the Premier League, the stadium still had standing areas at the time, this was practically unheard of. There was still time to address this (teams moving up to the second tier for the first time have three years to meet the requirements for the top two divisions), but no plans had been made for construction by the time the final league game there was played against Leicester City on April 27, 2002. Later that year, FC Haka of Finland and Egaleo FC of Greece were played there in two more Intertoto Cup games before the decision was made to relocate to Loftus Road, the home of the neighborhood rivals QPR. Many Fulham supporters only attended away games during this time in opposition to leaving Craven Cottage. Back to the Cottage was founded as a supporters’ pressure group to persuade the chairman and his advisors that Craven Cottage was the only feasible option for Fulham Football Club. Later, Back to the Cottage would become the “Fulham Supporters Trust.”
No work had been done on the Cottage during the Cottage’s first and a half seasons at Loftus Road. Plans for an £8 million, extensive renovation to bring it up to Premier League standards were unveiled in December 2003. In order to meet the deadline for the new season, construction started in January 2004 after receiving planning permission. The project went according to plan, and the team was able to move back in just in time for the 2004–05 season to begin. On July 10, 2004, they played Watford in a preseason friendly in the brand-new 22,000-seat stadium.
More Information on Craven Cottage
The stadium’s capacity will temporarily be reduced to 19,000 for the 2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22 seasons. The Riverside Stand’s lower level would accommodate more than 2000 fans for the 2022–23 campaign, the club announced on March 17, 2022, with season tickets going on sale that same day.
The northernmost and most nearby stand in the ground is called the Hammersmith (or Hammy) End. Through the sale of Alan Mullery to Tottenham Hotspur F.C., the roofing was paid for. The louder Fulham supporters typically sit in the “home” end, and many of them stand during games in the back rows of the stand. If Fulham wins the toss, they typically decide to play the second half toward the Hammersmith End. The back half of zones H6 and H7, known to the devoted as “H Block,” is where the diehard supporters prefer to sit (or rather stand). Terracing was present in the stand until it was reopened in 2004, when it was changed to seating to comply with league regulations as a result of the Taylor Report.
The Putney End, closest to Putney and backing onto Bishops Park, is the stadium’s southernmost stand. A “wall” of stewards separates the home and away supporters in this stand, with the visitors typically sitting in blocks P5 and P6. Every member of the Fulham team had a flag flying from the roof, though they were taken down once the 2006–07 season started and an electronic scoreboard has since been installed. By the river, there is a plane tree in the distance.
Terracing that faced the Thames was once the Riverside. Over the fans, there were also sizable billboards with advertisements. An all-seater stand, formerly known as the Riverside Stand, was constructed in 1971–1972. (the name was confirmed in the Fulham v Carlisle United programme on 4 December 1971). In sharp contrast to the Johnny Haynes stand across from it, it has hard lines and a metallic and concrete finish. The stadium was opened for a prestigious exhibition match against S.L. Benfica, a team that included Eusébio. Following the recent passing of the former vice-chairman, the Eric Miller Stand would be renamed, it was announced in the Fulham v. Burnley program on October 4, 1977. Contrary to what was stated above, it is sometimes falsely claimed that the Eric Miller Stand’s name was changed to The Riverside Stand after Miller’s suicide was discovered. He had been the subject of a fraud and theft investigation. In the 1990s, the stand’s name was actually changed back to “Riverside Stand.”
In contrast to the other three stands, the Riverside Stand backs onto the River Thames and is elevated above pitch level. Along with Fulham supporters, it has corporate hospitality seating. Due to the prevalence of celebrities in Blocks V & W (the middle section), Jimmy Hill once compared the Riverside to the London Palladium (including often Al-Fayed). Then, there were numerous Harrods billboards. The press gantry and camera gantry are located above the billboards. Although it is frequently the simplest to purchase tickets in this area, they are also frequently some of the most expensive. It is directly across from the Johnny Haynes Stand and has the Putney End on its right and the Hammersmith End to its left.
Craven Cottage flooded in the 1970s as water poured in from the Riverside. While there is the Cottage Cafe nearby the Cottage itself on non-match days, the stand is home to the George Cohen restaurant. (Nearby is The River Café as well.) Flags of all other Division 1 teams flew proudly along the Thames in the 1960s under Tommy Trinder’s chairmanship. However, Trinder decided against changing the flags when Fulham was demoted in 1968 because “Fulham won’t be in this division next season.” Trinder’s prediction came true, and Fulham were demoted once more. Sponsors have advertised on the stand’s roof before, including Pipex.com, FxPro, Lee Cooper Jeans, and LG in addition to VisitFlorida, which is currently doing so. The “Fulham Wall,” a landmark in The Boat Race, comes to an end at the end of the Riverside Stand toward the “Hammy End.”
This stand was destroyed and rebuilt, increasing the stadium’s capacity to about 29,600 starting with the 2019–20 campaign. A destination venue outside of matchday use, Fulham Pier, will be the name of the new development, according to an announcement made by Chairman Shahid Khan on November 26.
The Johnny Haynes Stand
The Johnny Haynes Stand, built in 1905 and originally known as the Stevenage Road Stand after the street it faces, is the oldest football stand still in use in the Football League and in professional football. It is a Grade II listed building. The stand, which was created by Archibald Leitch, houses the club shop and ticket office and has authentic “Bennet” wooden seating. The concession stand was renamed after former player Johnny Haynes after his passing in 2005.
The club’s previous logo is depicted in artwork on the brick façade of the exterior facing Stevenage Road. Thought to be inaccurate, the club’s foundation date of 1880 is displayed on decorative pillars. Also engraved on the façade was a special stone honoring Fulham 2000, a supporters’ fundraising organization, and The Cottagers’ return to Craven Cottage. The family enclosures are situated in the stand’s two corners, one closest to the Putney End and the other closest to the Hammersmith End. Originally a standing area, the front of the stand now has plastic seating. Up until the 1970s, children were frequently placed at the front of this enclosure, and the space had a distinctive white picket fence to keep spectators off the pitch.
Together with the Johnny Haynes Stand, the Cottage Pavilion was constructed in 1905 by renowned football architect Archibald Leitch. The Cottage, also known as The Clubhouse, serves as the players’ locker rooms and is traditionally used by their loved ones, who watch the game from the balcony. Board meetings used to be held at The Cottage as well in the past. The words “Still Believe” are written on a sizable tapestry that hangs from the Cottage. It captures the now-famous incident when supporters roused the players with the chant “Stand up if you still believe” as they faced defeat against Hamburg SV in the Europa League semi-final. There are corporate boxes on three levels in the three other corners of the ground that have been referred to as large “filing cabinets,” but at the moment the box on the other side of the Putney End has been removed because the Riverside is being redeveloped.
How to Get to Craven Cottage
Please be aware that this information below should only be used as a general guideline. For the most recent travel information and to plan your matchday travel from in and around London, we always advise visiting tfl.gov.uk.
Arriving to Craven Cottage with Public Transportation
London Underground to Craven Cottage
Putney Bridge (Zone 2)
0.7 miles from Craven Cottage and is on the District Line
Putney Bridge, the station that is the closest to Craven Cottage, is roughly a 10- to 20-minute walk from the stadium.
Leave the station and head left, then keep to the road (Ranelagh Gardens). Go into Bishops Park by passing under the overpass. You can get to the stadium by following the riverside path through Bishops Park.
Hammersmith (Zone 2)
1.4 miles away from Craven Cottage | Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, and District lines
Hammersmith station, which is accessible from Craven Cottage and is about a 20 to 4-minute walk to the north-west of the stadium, is also close by.
There are two Underground stations, one for the Piccadilly and District Lines and the other for the Hammersmith & City & Circle Lines.
Fulham Broadway (Zone 2)
Distance from Craven Cottage: 1.3 miles | District Line
Fulham Broadway, despite its name, is not the closest Underground station to Craven Cottage.
It takes 20 to 40 minutes to walk there from the stadium. Supporters should use Putney Bridge station to board District Line trains whenever possible. Even the District Line station Parson’s Green is a little bit closer to the stadium than Fulham Broadway.
Rail to Craven Cottage
Railway Station in Putney (Zone 2 & 3)
1.2 miles away from Craven Cottage | South West Trains
Putney, on Putney High Street, south of the River Thames, is the mainline railroad station that is closest to Craven Cottage.
From the stadium, it takes 17 to 35 minutes to walk to the station, passing a lot of stores, bars, and ATMs along the way.
Trains run frequently between the station and other rail hubs, such as Clapham Junction (5 minutes) and Waterloo (13 min).
Bus to Craven Cottage
Take either the number 85 or C4 bus to Putney Bridge from the Kingston-upon-Thames bus station. Putney Bridge is a 10- to 15-minute walk from the stadium.
Or Take bus number 220, which travels down Fulham Palace Road, from Hammersmith.
Take the 74, 424, or 220 to Fulham Palace Road from Putney.
Arriving by Car at Craven Cottage
Click here to view Craven Cottage on Google Maps.
On the banks of the Thames, in Stevenage Road, London SW6 6H, close to Bishops Park, is where you can find the Craven Cottage stadium.
It is recommended for drivers coming from the North to stay on the A1/M1 until they reach the A406 North Circular Road. After that, take the A219 to Hammersmith and then follow the signs for Harlesdon / A404. After arriving at Hammersmith Broadway, follow the Fulham signage and after a mile, turn right onto Harboard Street. At the end, take a left turn to get to Craven Cottage.
It is advised to take the South Circular (A205) route coming from the South and East. Follow the Putney Bridge (A219) signs, cross the bridge, and then follow the signs for Hammersmith for a half-mile before turning left onto Bishops Park Road and then right at its terminus. Drivers coming from the West can take the M4 all the way to the A4, then turn left after two miles onto Hammersmith Broadway, follow the Fulham signs, turn right into Harboard Street after one mile, and finally turn left at the end of the road.
The Club can set up complimentary parking spaces for disabled supporters or anyone else with limited mobility, subject to availability. First-come, first-served seating is available, with a few spots set aside for wheelchair users. You can find more details here about accessible parking and other amenities.
Arriving From City Centre to Craven Cottage
Outside of the Congestion Charge zone, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is located northeast of Central London. The A10/Tottenham High Road crosses the stadium from north to south before connecting to City/Commercial Road, which travels from east to west through the heart of London and passes King’s Cross and Euston stations.