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Visiting Portman Road

Visiting Portman Road

We look forward to welcoming you to Ipswich!  This is a short guide, designed to answer the kind of questions that we often get from visiting fans, and provide the information that we find useful when we’re travelling away ourselves. 

Note that a couple of weeks before every home match, we send a match-specific version of this guide to our opposition’s Supporter Liaison Officer, for the oppositions club’s website and social media outlets.  If for any reason you cannot access this specific information please email our Supporter Liaison Officer (contact details below) and she will email you a copy.

For any further information, or if you have any feedback on our guide, please contact Elizabeth Edwards, Supporter Liaison Officer, on slo@itfc.co.uk or 07968 876504 or via Twitter on @ITFC_SLO.

 

IPSWICH TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB

Address:                                              Ipswich Town Football Club, Portman Road, Ipswich, IP12DA 

Website:                                             www.itfc.co.uk

Club Telephone Number:            01473 400 500 

Ticket Office Number:                   03330 05 05 03

Supporter Liaison Officer:           Elizabeth Edwards, slo@itfc.co.uk, 07968 876504, @ITFC_SLO

 

HOW TO GET TO THE STADIUM

Back in 2003, we hosted an England international v Croatia.  On the England fans message board, someone asked “how do I get from the station to the ground?”  The response was simple: “Come out of the station and look straight ahead.  The ground is the oblong structure with floodlights at each corner.”

 

IF YOU HAVE AN HOUR OR TWO PRE-MATCH IN IPSWICH

The stadium is just a short, 5-10 minute, walk to the town centre, with shops, cafes and restaurants.  The waterfront area is around a 15-minute walk from the ground, with a yachting marina and a range of cafes and restaurants.  Note that the only pub that officially welcomes away fans is the Station Hotel (details below).  Many pubs and bars in the town centre are strictly home fans only (more info below), whilst others are more relaxed – this does vary from match to match though.  Just beyond the town centre, 15 minutes’ walk from the ground, is the beautiful Christchurch Park, with a renowned art gallery within the Tudor mansion building.

 

  • BY CAR

The address is Portman Road, Ipswich, IP1 2DA. 

There are two main road routes to Ipswich.  If you are travelling from the Midlands or North, then you will use the A14.  From London, the South-East, South-West or South Wales, then you will (probably) use the A12.  

From the Midlands and North:

Note:  There are long-term roadworks on the A14 (several miles either side of Cambridge) which are resulting in evening and weekend road closures, until at least the end of 2020.  These are not normally announced until just a day or two in advance.  We recommend that you keep an eye on @A14C2H on Twitter – any closures are announced here.

Make your way to the A14, joining it at the start from the M6 or M1, or near Huntingdon from the A1.  If you are not sure whether to use the M1 or A1, we’d suggest that the A1 tends to be slightly less congested, and has easier work-arounds in the event of major delays. 

The A14 is a very busy road throughout the day, carrying most of the container traffic for the port of Felixstowe, as well as linking the M11 to the A1.  The section of the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge is always very busy, even at weekends.  If you are lucky enough to avoid delays, then beware of average speed cameras which cover about 25 miles from Huntingdon to the east of Cambridge.  Also note that there are long-term roadworks and speed restrictions on the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge, as the entire section is being rebuilt.  This is causing even worse delays than you would normally expect on that stretch, and occasional full overnight closures.

We generally recommend allowing at least an hour beyond the AA / Google / SatNav suggested journey time, to allow for possible delays. 

 

From London, the South-East, South-West and South Wales

The simple advice is to make your way to the M25, and then join the A12 near Brentwood (Junction 28 of the M25).  It then takes about an hour to the ground, subject of course to traffic delays, especially at peak times.  If you are starting in the South-West or South Wales, you do have the option of driving via the Birmingham area (M42 to M6), though this is usually a bit slower than the London / M25 route. 

We generally recommend allowing at least an hour beyond the AA / Google / SatNav suggested journey time, to allow for possible delays. 

 

The last few miles

Sat Navs vary in their recommended route into town, but whichever way you go, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes from the A12 or A14 to the ground. 

For those not using a Sat Nav, once you reach the junction of the A12 and A14, just south of Ipswich, take the A1214 (London Road) for a couple of miles into town.  As you approach the town centre area, there’s a Sainsbury’s supermarket on the left – at this point, go straight on past Sainsbury’s and then almost immediately right onto West End road.  Take the first left (after about half a mile) onto Sir Alf Ramsey Way and you’ve arrived.  

Note that the roads immediately behind the Cobbold and Sir Bobby Robson stands are closed about 90 minutes before the game, so to access the NCP car park on Portman Road you will need to continue on London Road, straight on to Handford Road and then turn right at a set of traffic lights onto Portman Road (if you miss the turning, just do a U-turn at the roundabout with Civic Drive, turning back onto Handford Road, then taking the first left into Portman Road). 

 

  • PARKING

There is no official stadium car park, but there is parking all around the ground.  The closest is a large NCP on Portman Road (right by the away end), which usually has spaces up to around 45 minutes before kick-off.  There’s also a large car park on West End Road (5 minutes’ walk away) and at the railway station (less than 10 minutes).  The town centre is less than 10 minutes’ walk, and has numerous car parks, as you’d expect.  Being a town centre ground, most streets are controlled (residents only) parking, so free on-road parking tends to be at least a 20-minute walk away.  As usual, the car parks nearest the ground are a bit slow to clear after the game – for a quicker exit, use the railway station car park (it’s controlled by cameras, and the pay stations are by the entrance to the station – it costs £5 all day at weekends), and exit left onto Burrell Road / Ranelagh Road (B1075), then (after about a mile) left onto the A1214.

Five car parking spaces are available for visiting disabled supporters.   Spaces can be booked by contacting Ipswich Town's Disability Liaison Officer, Lee Smith, on 01473 400556.  There is no charge for this parking but note that the spaces are on the opposite side of the stadium to the away turnstiles.

 

  • BY COACH

Away coaches usually park in the West End Road car park, 5 minutes’ walk from the ground. There are some exceptions to this rule, which tend to be the higher-security fixtures – these will be notified in the match-specific guide that we send out two weeks before the fixture to each club.  The Station Hotel (away fans pub – see below) is just a couple of minutes away – go towards the road bridge over the river, at the east end of the car park, turn right and you’ll find the pub the other side of the river, right opposite the railway station. 

 

  • BY TRAIN

For those travelling by train, Ipswich station is only 5 to 10 minutes’ walk from the ground.

For away fans, there are two main train routes into Ipswich, from London and from Peterborough.

The Peterborough option may be easier or cheaper if you are travelling from anywhere that passes that way – but trains are at best hourly, are a maximum of three coaches (can be two or even one), and there are limited options post-match (none at all after evening games).  We have been promised new rolling stock in late 2019 or sometime in 2020, which would at least mean the one- and two-carriage services would be replaced.  For now, you should note the existing capacity restrictions! 

From London, there are 2-3 trains an hour, all from London Liverpool Street.  The train company is Greater Anglia operated by Abellio East Anglia (www.greateranglia.co.uk).  The faster trains go on to Norwich, are air-conditioned and most have a buffet bar.  Some trains stop at Stratford for easy suburban rail, tube, Overground, DLR and bus connections – before planning to change at Stratford, please check that it isn’t easier or quicker to go via Liverpool St.

At peak times, trains out of London are very busy with commuter traffic – especially from 4pm – 6.30pm weekdays.

After evening games, the train options back to London are limited – there is usually a 21:43 (you’ll need to nip out early to get this one), a 22:23 and a 22:43.  Check carefully via www.greateranglia.co.uk and also www.tfl.gov.uk for any planned engineering works that might impact your journey.

If you have a Network South-East card, it may well be worth splitting your ticket at Manningtree (just a few miles short of Ipswich and the end of the railcard validity).  You do not need to get out at Manningtree, but you must be on a train that actually stops there. 

Many fans will use train-specific Advance tickets – from experience, you may miss your connection at Liverpool Street but if this does happen, then go to the Greater Anglia information point on the concourse where they’ll usually revalidate your Ipswich-bound ticket with a world-weary smile.

We’d recommend allowing at least an extra hour for your journey to Ipswich, as delays are by no means unknown.  There are ticket checks on all mainline trains, and barriers at London Liverpool Street and Ipswich stations.   

Note that there are long-term engineering works which affect the main line from London to Ipswich, especially at weekends.  These require the use of rail replacement buses for a considerable part of the journey, and add about an hour to journey times.  These have happened often enough over many, many years that the replacement buses tend to run fairly efficiently.  We advise that you check before buying tickets.  In many cases, your club’s official coach travel may be quicker than the train (and, of course, your official coaches will get you home after an evening game).

Any information on planned engineering works which will affect your game with ITFC be provided in your club-specific away fans guide.

Whatever your travel plans, it’s worth checking www.greateranglia.co.uk for updated times and any late changes to engineering works. 

 

OFFICIAL AWAY PUB

The Station Hotel (formerly the Riverside Hotel) is opposite the station, and is the official away pub.  It is roomy, has a garden and TV screens, and three beers on handpump from the Greene King stable. 

Most pubs immediately around the ground are for home fans only, and few pubs around the town, if any, will welcome groups of away fans, especially wearing away team colours.  As always, couples, families and older people will find it a bit easier to slip into a town centre pub for a quiet beer or two.  Note that, on a match-by-match basis, police may designate other pubs in the town centre as home fans only.  This is more likely nowadays as there have been a number of pub closures in the immediate area around the stadium.  In practice, the smaller and the friendlier the away following, the easier it is to enjoy our many great pubs on a matchday.  

There is a FanZone marquee and entertainment zone at the stadium, but this is strictly open to home fans only.  There are ticket checks at the door.

 

NEED CASH?

The nearest cash machines to the stadium are a 5-10 minute walk away, (a) at the railway station, (b) at the Cardinal Park leisure facility (which has a number of chain restaurants and pubs, plus a KFC & a McDonalds), and (c) throughout the town centre. 

 

STADIUM

 

  • MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

The matchday programme can be purchased outside the stadium from the blue, tardis-like kiosks.   Programmes cost £3.50.  Programmes are not for sale inside the ground.

 

  • SECURITY

As at most away grounds, you can expect to be searched prior to entering the ground.  Ipswich Town also uses a trained search dog and some stewards now wear body cameras.

 

  • BAGS

Large bags will not be permitted to be taken into the stadium.  By way of guidance, nothing larger than a standard carrier bag will be allowed.  There are no facilities to leave bags.

 

  • SEATING

Portman Road is a traditional ground, with 4 separate stands.   The away end is usually blocks V1 and V2 of the Cobbold Stand, with the adjacent block E being used for larger away crowds.  This gives you a good side-stand upper-tier view of the action, though it is an older stand, dating from the 1970s. 

Ambulant disabled fans will be seated within block S (lower tier) of the Cobbold Stand (note that U5s are not allowed in the lower tier).  As we do not have wheelchair spaces in the Cobbold Stand, wheelchair users will be located with home fans in the East of England Co-Op stand.

 

  • TICKETING

For League games adult tickets are priced at £27.00 (blocks V1 and V2) or £30.00 (block E) with concession prices available for Seniors over 65, under 23s and under 19s.  Any promotional games will be announced in advance of tickets going on sale.

Wheelchair and ambulant disabled tickets are priced at the Seniors over 65 price or the age appropriate price whichever is lower – these tickets include a carer. (See below for contact information for disabled fans). 

If tickets are available on the day you will be able to purchase these at turnstiles 10 and 11.  These are cash turnstiles with no debit or credit card facilities for away fans.  We will advise your SLO as soon as we know whether tickets will be available on the turnstile.

The Ticket Enquiry Centre in Portman Road (next to the away turnstiles) is open on a matchday to deal with any queries.

 

  • HUNGRY OR THIRSTY?

Food and drink facilities are what you’d expect (pies, hot dogs, confectionery etc).   Alcohol availability in the away end is determined on a match-by-match basis.  We will advise your SLO as soon as we have the relevant information.  Food and drink (alcohol if available) prices are as follows:

 

Bar Prices

 
 

Steak & Ale Pie

   

 £4.10

 

Chicken Ham Pie

   

£4.10

 

Chicken Balti Pie

   

£4.10

 

Vegetarian (Butterbean) Pie

   

£4.10

 

Sausage Roll

   

£3.00

 

Vegan Sausage Roll

 

 

£3.00

 

Cheese Burger

   

£4.30

 

Hot Dog

   

£4.30

 

 

   

 

 

Wine 187ml

   

£4.50

 

Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Coke mixer cans

   

 £4.50

 

Fosters PET 330ml

   

£3.50

 

Bulmers Original 4.5 PET 330ml

   

£3.50

 

Greene King IPA 3.6 PET 500ml

   

£4.10

 

 

   

 

 

Soft Drinks 500ml

   

£2.40

 

Hot Drinks

   

£2.40

 

Water 500ml

   

£2.00

 

Capri Sun 200ml

   

£1.60

 

 

   

 

 

Grab Bags

   

£3.20

 

Chocolate Duo

   

£1.50

 

Crisps

 

 

£1.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • SMOKING POLICY

Portman Road is a no smoking stadium.  This includes e-cigarettes.  Anyone found smoking will be ejected from the ground.  For anyone considering leaving the stadium, note that no re-admission to the ground is permitted.

 

  • FLAGS/BANNERS

Subject to space, flags and banners are allowed in the away end.  These will need to be fire certificated.  For questions relating to this contact Mick Warden on mick.warden@itfc.co.uk.

 

  • MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND SELFIE STICKS

Musical instruments and selfie sticks are not allowed in the away end.

 

  • PUSHCHAIRS

Pushchairs are not allowed into the stadium.  No storage is available so they will need to be left in your car.

 

 

DISABLED FANS

If you have any special requirements please contact Ipswich’s Disability Liaison Officer Lee Smith on disability@itfc.co.uk or 01473 400556. 

 

STAMP IT OUT

Ipswich Town Football Club takes a zero-tolerance stance on any form of racial, homophobic or prejudiced behaviour.  Supporters can report any incident instantly that they feel needs attention by texting the anonymous ‘Stamp it Out’ number on 07834 439429 (standard text rate applies).  All reports will be handled in the strictest confidence.  

You can also report any discrimination or anti-social behaviour to Kick it Out using the Kick It Out app which is available to download from the App Store or Google Play, or via: Facebook /kickitoutofficial; Twitter @kickitout; email info@kickitout.org; phone 0800 169 9414.

Alternatively, our customer services can be contacted on customerservice@itfc.co.uk.

 

IF YOU’RE SPENDING A BIT MORE TIME IN IPSWICH…

HOTELS

Ipswich has numerous hotels, many at the budget end of the market, within a comfortable walk from the ground.  Of the chains, the nearest are the Novotel and Penta hotels (5 mins), with the Premier Inn and Travelodge around 10-15 mins from the ground in the harbourside area and a newish lodge at the Mermaid pub (Marstons), also about a 10-minute walk.  For a more upmarket option, the Salthouse Harbour Hotel is on the harbourside, and Milsoms (Kesgrave) is in a country house setting on the eastern edge of Ipswich.   The Railway at Westerfield is about 3 miles out of town, but is a lovely traditional pub with great food and frequent trains that get you to Ipswich station in just a few minutes. 

(There are many other hotels in and around Ipswich – we have no connection with these listed, but suggest them for convenience as they are mostly close to the ground and have been well spoken of by many fans).

 

Hotel weblinks:

https://www.salthouseharbour.co.uk/

https://www.milsomhotels.com/kesgrave-hall/

http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-0995-novotel-ipswich-centre/index.shtml

https://www.pentahotels.com/en/hotels/ipswich/hotel-information/

https://www.travelodge.co.uk/uk/hotels-in-ipswich

http://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/suffolk/ipswich/ipswich-town-centre-quayside.html

http://www.marstonsinns.co.uk/inns/mermaid-ipswich

https://www.therailwaywesterfield.co.uk/

 

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

There is so much to do in and around Ipswich, making it ideal for a short break. 

Local attractions include:

  • Harbourside and marina, with numerous restaurants, cafes and bars
  • Town centre, with many independent stores dotted around a fairly compact area
  • New Wolsey Theatre, one of the UK’s leading regional theatres, with a year-round programme of great plays and shows, including their own productions and national tours. Their rock n roll panto runs from early December to early February, and is simply unmissable – even, or especially, if you don’t “do” conventional pantos.
  • Christchurch Park, Mansion and Gallery – a huge, 70-acre park just north of the town centre, including a Tudor mansion which houses a renowned (and free) art gallery (with a permanent display of local artist John Constable)
  • Pubs selling a wide range of locally-brewed real ales, with town centre options including the Fat Cat, Greyhound, Dove Street Inn, St Judes Tavern, Thomas Wolsey and Briarbank Brewery. Of these, the Dove, St Judes and Briarbank are also microbreweries, and the Dove has a fabulous dedicated gin parlour. 
  • Felixstowe is just 15 miles (15 minutes, via the A14) away to the east, and is both a traditional seaside resort (there’s a pier and the promenade stretches for a couple of miles) and major container port, which includes a fantastic viewing point, where you can see shipping movements and the loading / unloading of the world’s largest container ships.
  • The Orwell Bridge carries the A14 over the river to Felixstowe, and is an impressive sight from below. You get to it off the A137, which is a mile or so east of the A12/A14 junction.  The road under the Orwell Bridge then meanders for a few miles past Pin Mill (the Butt & Oyster is a lovely old waterside inn) and onto Shotley, which has loads of yachts and great views of the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich.
  • The historic little town of Woodbridge is just a few miles from Ipswich, with a tide mill, lots of little boutiques, some fine pubs, and an Adnams Wine and Beer store (next to the station)
  • Just a bit further up the coast you’ll find the beautiful seaside town of Aldeburgh with its famous fish & chip shop (it’s the one at the north end of the High Street, with the big queue outside), as well as some wonderful little shops and pubs.  You’ll pass the concert hall, antique, home furnishings and fine foods shops of Snape Maltings en route to Aldeburgh, and it’s well worth the short detour – no national chains here!

If you’ve managed to get as far as Aldeburgh, you may well be tempted to continue a bit further up the coast, past the impressive power station at Sizewell, to the beautiful seaside town of Southwold, home of Adnams beers, a pier, and lots of little shops and galleries.

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