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Joe Cole picks top 10 London attractions ahead of Champions League final

Tens of thousands of football fans are set to flock to London next week ahead of the Champions League final.

Unfortunately, the showpiece event will not feature any English clubs, but the national stadium will host the showdown between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, June 1 where a bumper 90,000-capacity crowd is expected. There will be some local interest, with England duo Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho facing off for the biggest prize in club football.

The capital is braced for an influx of supporters from Spain and Germany, and Expedia has enlisted the help of London local Joe Cole to offer visiting fans inspiration on where to go and what to do during their trip. West London-born Cole, who was raised in Camden and spent the majority of his career in the big smoke with West Ham and Chelsea, has given his expert advice on how to make the most of the footballing weekend.

He said: “As a born and bred Londoner, I really think my city offers one of the best matchday experiences anywhere in Europe, so it’s great to be partnering with travel experts Expedia to offer top tips about my hometown.

“London has some of the most beautiful parks for a kick about, Regent's Park is my favourite, I play padel there. I grew up in Camden, so Camden market is also a must visit. I love cycling around the city, there is so much to take in. Fans need to see the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace as they are so iconic, but don’t miss the Natural History Museum or the Science Museum."

Cole, who has a Champions League runners up medal from 2007-08 when his Chelsea side lost to Manchester United on penalties in Moscow, has been fortunate enough to travel around the globe during his glittering career, adding: “I played over 50 games in the UEFA Champions League and the European away journeys were some of my favourite trips.

"The focus was always on the football but occasionally we got to experience a destination like fans. Rome was a personal favourite, I travelled there with Chelsea and visited the Vatican City, the Colosseum and the food was simply incredible.”

Cole picked Wembley as his favourite London attraction, and it's no surprise given the silverware he's lifted at the stadium, while Hyde Park and Regent's Park complete his top three. However, Expedia Live’s 'Travel the Beautiful Game' report has seen a 60 per cent spike in searches for Wembley for the Champions League final.

The report delves into the most dedicated away fans, this season’s most in-demand Champions League journeys and favourite matchday cities, with Borussia Dortmund's famous yellow wall taking three spots in the top 10 most in-demand games.

Michele Rousseau from Expedia said: “If European football fans have taught us anything this season, it’s that Dortmund and Copenhagen need adding to your travel wish list. That yellow wall of Dortmund, along with the well-travelled fans of Real Madrid, will descent on London for this year’s final, and nothing beats being there to experience matchday in the city.

"Our Expedia study showed that fans are most looking forward to visiting the iconic Tower of London and Big Ben but also want to check out London’s foodie scene – the number one activity fans like to experience when travelling to away games.”

London artist Kelly Anna is also collaborating with Expedia and has curated a special artwork and limited-edition jersey that brings to life travelling the beautiful game across Europe, all the way to London. The artwork will be unveiled at Expedia Live’s activation at the UEFA Champions Festival in Trafalgar Square, taking place from May 30 to June 2, with the limited-edition jerseys up for grabs during the weekend.

Joe Cole’s top 10 London attractions

1. Wembley Stadium

2. Hyde Park

3. Regent's Park

4. The O2

5. Camden Market

6. Borough Market

7. Natural History Museum

8. Science Museum

9. Tower of London

10. Buckingham Palace

For a London city guide, visit Expedia Live — the destination for fans to book travel and experiences.