A day of tennis, casual drinks, and excitement, a trip to Wimbledon may be a once in a lifetime experience.
Below are tips on tickets, prices, food, alcohol, fashion, and entertainment to help you make the most of your first visit to the Championships.
You have several ticket options for getting into Wimbledon:
- Centre Court
- Courts 1, 2, or 3
- General admission
Centre Court is where the big names and matches are. The facility rises like an ivy-coated, elite club in the middle of the Wimbledon action.
Meanwhile, Court 1 hosts the second tier games, and sometimes (if you’re very lucky) major matches if rain delays occur. It is also an impressive facility, standing as the slightly smaller counterpart to Centre Court with an equally impressive retractable roof.
Courts 2 and 3 follow suit but are housed in open-air, smaller venues. By the end of the tourney, entry to these two are free, as the number of games dwindle.
Grounds admission gets you into the Wimbledon complex, where entertaining matches await on courts 4 through 18 and a big screen on Henman Hill shows the day’s sports broadcasts of the main matches on Centre Court.
As the Championships go on, the price brackets vary for each. To spill the big bucks, centre court gets pricier the closer you get to the final (when the price hovers around £190).
Meanwhile, grounds admission starts higher at £25 (due to the amount of matches you can see on ‘free’ courts) and goes down as the tournament progresses, ending around £8 for championship day.
Any of the tickets for Centre through Court 3 can be purchased in advance. This also means you get to enter the Wimbledon complex through a specific gate without waiting in a queue.
If you aren’t planning to see anyone specific and just want to enjoy the atmosphere of Wimbledon, grounds admission will do just fine.
But, expect to stand in line.
The grounds open at 10:30 am on any given day, though you’ll find dedicated fans in line for tickets starting around 4 or 4:30 am.
Of course, if you aren’t that serious, you can join the queue anytime, but for the best seats on Henman Hill, earlier is better (we met a few lads who joined it at 6 am and finally got in at 11).
Reselling of tickets
Wimbledon does re-sell tickets as people leave the grounds, so you can get into the courts. For this, you still must pay for general admission, and then wait in line by the ticket office for court tickets to come up for sale.
Potentially worth it if you really want to see a certain game, but if you hate queues and/or want to just enjoy the atmosphere, skip this.
As with almost anything British, alcohol consumption is a standard part of the day.
Wimbledon is excellent in this regard because visitors can bring in one bottle (or 750ml) of wine or champagne or two cans of beer per person.
I highly recommend bringing in the limit, because the cost of one glass of Pimm’s (pictured here) is £8.50. Yikes.
Like any event venue, Wimbledon knows that people get hungry and don’t want to leave in search of food.
Thus, a sandwich that would cost £1.00 in Tesco or Waitrose costs £4.50 to £6.00.
If you must buy food inside, go for a hot meal, like a burrito or fish ‘n’ chips. These at least fill you more than a sandwich for just a bit more (a burrito, for instance, is about £8).
Your best option is to bring as much food as possible into the grounds with you. You are allowed one bag per person, so make it a large picnic basket or backpack, and jam that thing full of crisps, treats, and meals to sustain you (plus, your bottle of wine or cans of beers).
Wimbledon is an excellent place to have a nice picnic, but it’s an expensive day out if you don’t.
Classic strawberries & cream
Eating strawberries and cream has somehow become synonymous with a visit to the Championships, so it’s one of those ‘must-do’ things when here.
Inside the venue, a tiny pot of cream and about six strawberries costs £2.50, so enjoy the tradition without extortionate prices by bringing your own as part of your picnic.
What to watch
The beauty of Wimbledon is the variety of tennis events to watch.
Pop in to some of the outer courts for interesting matches, such as:
- Wheelchair tennis — a seriously impressive feat that is very fun to watch
- Senior (male & female) invites — usually, these players put on a show while they play that keeps the crowd laughing and the mood light
- Mixed doubles — whether you see this on a major court or any of the outer ones, it’s excellent
- Big screen — the atmosphere on Henman Mill (or, informally, Murray Mount) is exciting and sociable… everyone has come out for a day of sun, drinks, and tennis, so it’s a great place to simply sit and people watch
What to wear
While not as posh as golf or polo, tennis ranks with sports like cricket as far as fans go. What that means for your Wimbledon wardrobe is: not too shabby, and as chic as you want.
You’ll see men in full suits and women in heels and long summer dresses. Of course, you’re free to go that stylish if you wish.
But a toned down look is also fine, within parameters. A good rule-of-thumb is to dress as if you’re meeting your partner’s family at a picnic and want to look good but be comfortable.
Also, bring sunglasses and a sunhat to block the rays… you’ll thank yourself. Sunscreen for those prone to burning and a refillable water bottle (that can be topped up at one of Wimbledon’s handy filling stations) are also great things to bring.
If you are visiting England in late June/early July and get the chance to spend a day here, it’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.
Do you have any Wimbledon tips? I’d love to hear them below!