If you’re in London over Wimbledon, you can’t really avoid tennis fever. This year, things are a little bit different. There’s a little thing called the World Cup that seems to be taking over (not for me, I’m not really a football kinda gal). But, Wimbledon is still huge and just because there’s a bit of footy going on, that doesn’t mean you’ll just be able to rock up to the gate and hope to get in straight away. I thought that my first year of going. I really wasn’t expecting the queue to snake for miles. I wish I’d brought a more interesting book.
So if you do want to get in on the action, how do you go about it?
Firstly, decide what you want to see and do. Are you happy just getting into the grounds and eating strawberries on Henman Hill, or do you want to get really great seats? How much action you want to see pretty much determines what time you should arrive. Wimbledon is one of the very few sporting events that still sells tickets on the day. That’s about 6000 tickets to enter the grounds and then 500 tickets for court one and two. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get evening tickets quite easily, but if you’re hoping for weekend fun, you’ll have to be a bit savvier. And you might need to camp.
Camping?! To see tennis? Yes indeed. If you want to see the good matches, make sure you’re there the night before otherwise you’ll miss out. Luckily, they’re pretty fair so you can camp up throughout the night, and then go to the pub. You’ll be woken up the next day (usually around6am) when it’s time to queue up so you should get a good spot without having to sit in a line all night. Most people who queue go back every year (we do love to queue, don’t we?), the queue itself is as much a part of tradition as the event itself. I can’t think of a more famous queue. This coming weekend is the most popular time so be prepared to wait it out and cross your fingers. There’s shuttle buses from the tube to and from the grounds, but remember you can only take in one bag. It doesn’t matter how big that bag is, but you don’t want to be lugging around anything enormous. You’ll have to put your have in your pocket and get yourself some strawberries and cream at some point. Centre Court tickets prices go up to £65 on important days of play, but you can pick up a ground ticket for under a tenner.
Not a fan of queuing? You’ll need super speedy fingers, but you can buy tickets for the next day through the website (sign up to the newsletter to make sure you get the information first). These are returns and they’re usually gone very quickly. Make sure you’ve got the day off work and hope for the best. You might just get lucky. Otherwise you’ll have to wait for the 2011 ballot – you’ve got until December to get your postal application in. Which I always forget to do.
Don’t fancy queuing but still want to watch some of the matches? Most Wimbledon pubs will be showing them, but the Woodman is showing the main matches on a 52″ screen and that’s got to be worth a look. Other pubs worth keeping an eye on are Ye Olde Leather Bottle, The Prince of Wales and The Fest in Fulham. You should also be able to catch the final on Southbank. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Andy Murray, but whoever wins, it’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks!
Check out for special offers for hotels in London otherwise, here’s our
Top 3 London Hotels this Week!
- Euro Hotel – 3-star hotel in Covent Garden
- Dalmacia Hotel – 3-star hotel in Keninsgton – Earl’s Court
- Guest House Anchor House – good-value-for-money accommodation near Golders Green Station
Photo by Bruno Girin.