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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Heart of Midlothian, commonly known as Hearts, are a Scottish Premier League soccer team based in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Tynecastle Stadium has been the club's home since 1886 and now has an all seated capacity of 17,420. Three sides of the stadium have undergone major redevelopment since 1994, with only the main stand of those designed by Archibald Leitch remaining. The Wheatfield, Gorgie, and Roseburn Stands are the new additions and make the stadium a fine venue to watch football.
The record attendance for the stadium was achieved in 1932 when 53,396 watched a Scottish Cup tie against Rangers. Uncertainty of the club's future concerning their ownership has seen discussions take place over the past five years with regards to a move to Scotland’s National Rugby stadium, Murrayfield, located just down the road. The club have occasionally played the odd European game there. Hopefully, this will never happen, as Tynecastle would be a great loss to Scottish sport.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Choice of food on offer within the stadium is limited to Scotch pies, chips, hot dogs, and snacks. Hot and cold drinks, including Bovril, are also available. Food kiosks are situated in each of the stands, with standalone hot dog sellers also located in the vicinity of the concourses.
Despite major redevelopment, Tynecastle has retained its superb atmosphere and is regularly voted the top stadium in Scotland for its atmosphere by football supporters. The steep stands keep you close to the action, and Edinburgh Derby games, as well as those against Rangers and Celtic, produce hostile atmospheres that are a joy to be sampled.
Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city and has plenty to offer the visitor. It is also handily placed for exploring other parts of the country. The city's most famous attraction is Edinburgh Castle. If visiting in August, a trip to the famous Edinburgh Festival and Military Tattoo is a must. The city also hosts the Royal Botanic Garden, while the city's main shopping area is located on Princess Street.
There is little on offer around Tynecastle other than fast food outlets and public houses. The Tynecastle Bar and Station Bar, both within a five minute walk of the stadium, are recommended for a pre-match pint. There are coffee bars and a McDonald's also in the vicinity of the ground.
For accommodation, the King Malcolm Hotel in Dunfermline, a twenty-five minute drive away, is recommended, but the city has a wide range of hotels to suit all budgets if wishing to stay nearer.
While Hearts supporters are both passionate and vocal, other than their 2012 Scottish Cup success over city rivals Hibs, they have had little to cheer about over the past few years. Off the field issues with their Lithuanian owners have put the club's future at risk. However, despite this, supporters have remained loyal, and look forward to cheering against their biggest rivals, Hibs, Celtic, and Rangers.
Tynecastle is located in the district of Gorgie, which can be reached by car by taking the A720 and A71 off the M8 motorway. Street parking is available, but restrictions apply. If travelling by train, Haymarket Station on the main line is a fifteen minute walk. Regular city centre buses also pass the stadium. Edinburgh International Airport is a fifteen minute drive away from the city.
Admission prices range from Ł28 to Ł35 depending upon the opposition, with reductions for O.A.P's and children. Tickets purchased on the day can cost up to Ł2 more. Although the Scottish attendances are on the decline, and the quality of football is not of the same standard as the English Premier League, the pace of the game is fast and furious, and this offers good value for money.
The club shop is located adjacent to the main offices and sells a wide range of souvenirs. Betting shop booths are located within the stadium and match tickets can be bought on-line with a print at home facility. The club's match day programme sells for Ł3 and fanzines are also available.
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