A Guide for First-Time Visitors to Wimbledon

The All England Lawn Tennis Club holds the world’s biggest tennis championships between the 1st and 14th July this year. If you didn’t enter the ballot for tickets by the end of December 2018 you will not have been in with a chance of getting a ticket. With this in mind, you can enter your details from the 1st September 2019 to try to get a ticket for the 2020 Championships.

But for those who do not have a ticket, Wimbledon are proud to retain their tradition of selling premium tickets to the general public on the day of play, and it is only one of a very few top-ranking UK sporting events where this is possible. There is a strict queuing system, which is very organised, and where one ticket is issued to one person in the queue. Tickets are available for all courts each day, with the exception of Centre Court, which will not be available for the last four days.

Getting to Wimbledon

Wherever possible the best option would be to take public transportSouthfields Underground Station is the closest to the venue and is a 15-minute walk to Gate 4.

The No. 493 bus service links all Wimbledon Stations and Southfields Station. When arriving at the entrance to gate no. 4 the stop is announced as ‘Wimbledon Tennis Club and Museum’. Most of the buses have wheelchair access. There is parking available which will set you back £30 on the day with a 5 to 10-minute walk to AELTC. Park and ride is available for £15 at Morden Park with a 30 minute transfer.

Outside the entrances to the ground there are lots of twinkly-eyed old stewards who are more than happy to give you directions. Be prepared to walk for quite a while in order to get to the right ticket gate – the perimeter of the grounds is pretty vast.

Purchasing your ticket on the gate at Wimbledon

Unlike previous years, you are now able to purchase your tickets on the gate by credit/debit card. There are a couple of cash machines at the grounds once you get in but it is probably a good idea to make sure you have sufficient funds for incidentals.

The order of play

The order of play is normally drawn up the evening before. Get a copy of it from a daily newspaper and bring it with you to the grounds; it’s more important than any map as it will give you a good idea of where the best matches are occurring at any given time. The order of play is also on display on a scoreboard just inside the main gates of Wimbledon. You could take a photo of this on your mobile phone to refer to later.

Choice of courts

Unless you’ve got a seat with a good view on Centre Court or court number one, we would recommend paying a visit to an outside court. Top players hate playing on outside courts – they are called the graveyards of champions – but fans should love them as there really isn’t a bad seat at venues like Court 18. In our experience, the smaller the court’s seating area, the better the atmosphere.

Things you must take to Wimbledon

Always take one more layer of clothing than you think you will need. The outside courts really are open to the elements as they have no stand or roof to protect you from the rain and the wind. Pack a hooded top, lightweight waterproof and woollen hat just in case play is suspended due to inclement weather. Bring suncream just in case you are lucky with the weather!

Don’t forget to take binoculars if you have a seat way up in the rafters in Court Number One or Centre Court. When we first went in 2002 we had seats near the highest point on Centre Court and the players we watched (including Andre Agassi and Marat Safin) looked as small as matchstick men.

Cameras are allowed inside the grounds so long as you don’t use flash photography during play. Also take a bottle of water and something to eat for lunch, which brings us on to the next point…

Food at Wimbledon

The food can be very pricey at Wimbledon, as is always the case with events of this magnitude. A modestly-sized sandwich will cost around £6. You are permitted to take a small picnic and a bottle of wine, but this must be consumed in the picnic area. If you’re willing to shell out a little extra you can book a place at one of the posher indoor restaurants.

Things you must do at Wimbledon

There are some things you simply must do if you visit the All England Club. The first is to make a beeline to Henman Hill and stand in front of the giant TV screen (the picture clarity is surprisingly good). It is also good fun to find out the spot where John Inverdale and John McEnroe discuss the day’s play – just ask a steward where this broadcast takes place from.

Things you will never forget about visiting Wimbledon

Wandering around Wimbledon for the first time, you are struck by the things you never see on television. For instance, it is easy to assume that the posts and nets are on court all-year round but of course they are only erected (amid much crowd excitement) just before the start of play.

And then there is the thrill of seeing the lush green Wimbledon turf for the first time as you pass an outside court and think: “I’m close enough to touch that!” It’s a thrill you experience each time you return!

Updated from original blog by author James Christie.

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