Here’s what you need to know about getting tickets and enjoying a day at Wimbledon.
Nothing says British summertime like the Wimbledon tennis tournament. We’ve all seen it on TV, but actually being in the vicinity of the All England Club at this time of year is a very special experience. There’s the atmosphere, the traditions, the hopes and of course, the rain. Book yourself into one of London’s serviced studio apartments and make your way to Wimbledon. Every year history is made and you could be there to see it.
Need to know info
Wimbledon runs from June 27th to July 10th 2016, with no matches being held on Sunday July 3rd. The action kicks off with the reigning men’s champion playing on Centre Court, with men’s singles and ladies’ first round heats following on. The reigning ladies’ champion graces Centre Court on the second day of the championships to face her competition. Doubles matches don’t get started until the third day.
The ladies’ singles, men’s doubles and doubles finals will be held on Centre Court on July 9th. The men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals take place the following day.
How to get tickets
If you are super organised, then you will have entered the ballot for tickets in December. Do not fear if you do not possess that kind of forward-thinking or if you were unsuccessful in securing tickets. There are other ways to get your hands on them.
Hundreds of tickets for matches on Centre Court and Court 3 go on sale through Ticketmaster the day before each match. Be aware that there is always far more demand than there are tickets, so you need to get in fast. To increase your chances, sign up for the Wimbledon newsletter and register with the site in advance.
Some tickets can appear for resale on secondary ticketing website, but expect to pay an inflated price for these and always ensure it is a reputable company before purchasing.
Indulge yourself in the great British pastime of queuing to get your tickets. Camp out all night, sing silly songs and bring folding chairs and union flags to make the experience all the more enjoyable.
A limited number of tickets are released each day for matches the following day on Centre Court, as well as Courts 1 and 2. This rule does not apply on the last four days of the tournament for fixtures on Centre Court.
The queue opens at Gate 3 Turnstiles at 8am. Be aware that payments for these tickets, if you are lucky enough to reach the front of the queue, is in cash only. There is also a strict rule that tickets are one per person in the queue, so make sure the whole of your party is alongside you.
Make sure you keep your queue card safe. This is issued to you upon arrival and is stamped with a number and date to ensure your position in the line is retained. It will be checked when you enter into the Wimbledon grounds.
At 7.30am, those at the front of the queue are issued with wristbands for the show courts. As the number of these exactly matches the amount of tickets available, this will dictate whether you are heading to Centre Court or Courts 1 and 2.
If you do not receive a wristband, do not be despondent, as there are thousands of ground passes up for grabs each day. They offer unreserved seating and standing room in Courts 3 to 19, which can represent a fantastic day of tennis.
Wimbledon is a wonderful event to share with clients or colleagues, so you could turn it into a business trip. This can be an especially good idea if you know that any of your contacts are particularly into their tennis. Hospitality packages do not come cheap, but represent an opportunity to impress clients unlike any other in the UK.
Anyone with a grounds pass can decide to join in the fun on Murray Mound. This area to the north of Court 1 was affectionately known as Henman Hill for a while, but is now referred to in reference to Andy Murray. Its official name is actually Aorangi Terrace, with Aorangi meaning Cloud in the Sky in Maori.
It’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere and watch the action unfold on the big screen. If you haven’t got tickets for one of the show courts during the finals, then this is the place to be.
Going to Wimbledon is about more than just watching the tennis. It’s a great British tradition and there are plenty of practices associated with it. To fully embrace the experience, make sure you enjoy some delicious strawberries and cream. Long associated with the summer tournament, two million Elsanta strawberries are consumed at Wimbledon each year, accompanied by 1,820 gallons of cream.
Wash down your strawberries with a glass of Pimm’s, which has been served at Wimbledon since 1971. More than 80,000 pints of Pimm’s and lemonade are enjoyed during the tournament each year. They wouldn’t be complete without a garnish of mint, cucumber, apple and of course, a strawberry.
Getting dressed up is another element of Wimbledon that can be embraced. This generally means showing your allegiance to players of your home nation. You can go as big and bold as you like, with union flags all over your outfit or you could go for something a little more subtle.
Checklist for a day at Wimbledon
It’s best to be well prepared for a day at Wimbledon, as you will be out of your London serviced studio apartment for a long time. This, coupled with the changeable British weather, means you should bring a bag with a wide selection of things inside.
· Tickets – if you secured them in the ballot
· Sunscreen and a hat – it could be a hot day
· Umbrella and lightweight raincoat – on the other hand it could rain
· Flat shoes – for walking and queuing
· A picnic – best enjoyed on Murray Mound