If you're visiting London at the end of June, you can't miss the Wimbledon tennis excitement that takes over the whole city. Wouldn't it be great to go?
The usual way of getting a ticket for Wimbledon is to register for the ticket ballot before the end of the previous December. But don't worry if you didn't. You could still be in with a chance to see the world's biggest Grand slam lawn tennis tournament.
It's one of the few great international sporting events that makes reasonably priced tickets available to the public every day.
And standing in the queue is a very British tradition. The Duchess of Cambridge - you might know her as Princess Kate (née Kate Middleton) - takes over from Her Majesty the Queen as patron of the tournament in 2017. But in 2004, she and her sister Pippa queued with everyone else from 5am to score Center Court tickets. Like her, all you'll need is patience, stamina and a smile.
Queuing for Tickets
- Anyone willing to stand in line (or queue as we say here) can buy tickets on the day of the matches. The atmosphere in the queue is friendly and visitors enjoy the opportunity of meeting and talking tennis with other fans.
Every day, except the last four days, 500 tickets for each of the Center and No.1 and No.2 courts are reserved for sale to the public at the turnstiles. The cost varies, depending on the day and the court, from between about £41 and £190 (in 2017).
Another 6,000 Grounds Admission tickets are sold every day. They're good for No. 2 court standing and unreserved seating and standing on Courts 3-19. Tickets cost between £8 and £25, depending on the day. You have to pay with cash and prices change every year so check the ticket website to be sure.
- Tickets are sold on a first come, first serve, cash only basis at the turnstiles. The ticket queue is a single line to Gate 3, starting in Wimbledon Park, parking lot 10. From the park, the queuers (including overnight queuers) progress through Wimbledon Park golf club, through security checks, over a bridge and on to Gate 3.
- The queues are long. If you want a Grounds Admission ticket, you should arrive several hours before the grounds open at 10:30 a.m. If you are angling for one of the show court tickets, plan on camping out overnight. People in the queues bring folding chairs, picnics and non-alcoholic drinks. Plan on bringing rain wear too - the lines snake along, rain or shine.
- When you get in line, you'll be given a Queue Card that is dated and numbered to show your place in the queue. Hold onto it, it will be checked when you enter the grounds.
- You'll also be offered wristbands marked by the court, with a detachable court tally, if you arrive early enough to score one of the 1,500 Court Tickets. When you hand it in to the cashier, you'll get a ticket for the court named on the tally. Don't worry if you don't get a wristband and tally - you might still be able to get one of the 6,000 Grounds Admission tickets.
- Camping in the Wimbledon queue In the past, if you wanted to get a night's sleep in the Wimbledon ticket queue, you had to take your chances and set your tent up in or near the queue.
In 2008, the process became easier. Queuers can now camp in Wimbledon Park, near Parking Lot 10 where the queue begins. At about 6:00a.m.volunteer stewards will wake you up, ask you to dismantle your camping equipment, move your cars to the car parks and close up into a tighter formation to make room for those joining the queue on the day. At 7:30a.m. the Stewards will hand out the 1,500 court-specific wristbands from the front of the queue.
- Toilets Don't worry, facilities in Church Road and Wimbledon Park Road are open for 24 hours daily.
- Mobility impaired visitors Mobility impaired visitors can wait nearer to the Grounds, but entry to the grounds will still be in queue card number order. Ask a steward for help and for directions to the end of the nearest queue.
- The best way to get to Wimbledon is by public transportation. Trains leave from Waterloo Station to Wimbledon Station every 4 minutes and there is regular District Line service on the London Underground to the rail station as well. A frequent shuttle bus travels to the All England Lawn Tennis Club from the station. There is also bus service, from Marble Arch in Central London, every 30 minutes.
Whatever you do, don't try to drive to Wimbledon. Traffic during the tournament is impossible and you won't find anywhere to park.
Buying Tickets Online
Several hundred tickets for Center Court and Court No. 3 are sold online through Ticketmaster.co.uk the day before play. No other online ticket sales are authorized or honored so don't be tempted by offers that look to good to be true. You will probably be turned away at the gates.
You must register by signing up for the free Wimbledon newsletter to receive notifications and full details about the online ticket sales. Like any popular tickets sold online, once you're notified, you have to act fast, because they go in seconds.
If you have very deep pockets, you could try to get your hands on some debenture tickets. And I do mean deep - last year a pair of center court tickets for the Wimbledon finals were reportedly sold for £83,000, and a price of £15,000 a pair is pretty average.
Debentures to major sporting events or venues are like shares in a company. In exchange for an investment that - in the case of Wimbledom - goes towards ground maintenance and upkeep - the holder of the debenture gets a fixed number of specific seats for a fixed period of time. The debenture holder can then sell the seats they don't plan to use. There are brokers and marketplaces where debentures are bought and sold.
Camp out at Wimbledon and Queue for tickets. It's much more fun - and a lot cheaper.