skip to main content


December 28 2023

The Biggest Football Derbies in London


Football is London’s biggest sport. With so many clubs packed into the city, matches have an extra layer of tension and excitement when two local teams play each other. Old grudges, player transfers and club ambitions contribute to a long rivalry, battled out in a 90-minute football match. Here’s an overview of all London derbies. 


The North London Derby 

The rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur began in 1913, and today, it’s the best London derby in the Premier League. Just four miles apart, these two teams have played each other over 200 times, but right now, the rivalry is at its peak. 

Close scores and talented young teams mean every North London derby with these two is a match for the ages. There’s little between them, making it an exciting, adrenaline-fuelled experience for fans. 


The North West London Derbies

Chelsea has become one of the biggest football clubs in the world. With that status comes rivals keen to knock them off their pedestal in a London derby. Chelsea’s biggest rivals are Arsenal, who they’ve been playing since 1907. When these two teams get together, it’s not uncommon to see the flash of the red card from the referee. 

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea is another popular London derby, with both teams and their fans sharing a dislike of Arsenal, but also frequently competing for titles and qualifications. The 1967 FA Cup Final between these two teams began a rivalry that continues today. 


The Dockers Derby

Named after the two teams’ connection to the shipbuilding industries, West Ham and Millwall have one of London’s fiercest rivalries. It began in 1926 when London and Surrey workers broke the Dockers Strike. This rivalry intensified into violence in the 1960s, thanks to London’s gang culture, and then with football hooliganism in the 1980s. These teams are in different leagues, so it’s been more than a decade since they played each other. 


West London Derbies 

West London teams Chelsea, Brentford, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers (QPR). Loyal fans create a tense atmosphere for the players when they play their football neighbours. Matches are infrequent because the teams are often in different divisions, so on the rare occasions there is a London derby with these teams, matches come with added pressure, passion and intensity. 


West Ham vs Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur signing away top players to West Ham and a 2006 match between the two when West Ham beat Spurs, preventing them getting into the Champions League, has kept this historic rivalry alive and often actually kicking. Matches between the two date back to 1898 when Spurs beat West Ham 3-0. Today, when they get together, there’s usually something big at stake, creating must-see matches. 


With Thistle Hotels across London, you can stay with us before or after you watch a match. With a great night’s sleep in our top hotels, you can feel like a winner whatever the final score.