Summer is in full swing here in London! Well, aside from the lack of lakeside BBQs, convertibles with their tops down, ability to dress like Malibu Barbie and 80+ degree sunny weather in general. Other than that, the activities happening in London all point to summer! One of the most well known summer kick-offs is the yearly Wimbledon Championship tennis tournament. This is a must-do of the highest caliber. If you have a chance to see some of the tennis greats at this world-famous venue, take it. Trust me.
Wimbledon’s Centre Court is where it’s at. The best of the best play here and it’s where history is made. If you can’t get into the Centre Court, however, the grounds are still worth the visit, hosting lower level matches in a clean and beautiful setting. Since it’s all so great, the tickets have become very difficult to obtain.
Wimbledon tickets are sold four different ways. The first chance to acquire tickets, over the two week championship period, is through the yearly lottery. The association will send an application to you, only after you have sent a written request for one. Then you send that back and hope for the best in a few months. They say 1 out of 10 win tickets, but I have yet to meet someone who has actually won this way, but who knows. Tickets can next be purchased through Ticketmaster and again through third-party exchanges, like Stubhub, where the prices can get into the tens of thousands for the Championship matches. Hospitality packages are also offered (details on the Wimbledon website) and include packages for large groups and corporate events. The last way to get into the oldest tennis tournament in the world is by waiting in line in the famed Queue. Millions have waited in this line that includes overnight camping for a last chance of getting into one of the courts for the next day’s play.
This year, however, history was made with Wimbledon opening up an extra day of play, known as Middle Sunday. This was only the fourth time in the Championship’s history that weather required a day of play on what is usually a day of rest. To fill the court seats, Wimbledon held a flash sale on Ticketmaster at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon. The tickets sold out within 27 minutes and were offered between £22 and £70.00 for Centre Court, Number One Court, and Grounds Admission, all unreserved, making any seat in your purchased area available. Because of the fair prices and accessibility to all, this day, is informally known as People’s Sunday.
Whatever your method of acquiring tickets, you will be extremely pleased once you find yourself within the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club grounds. The lawns are well kept in the perfect shade of green, and the buildings and walkways are adorned with beautiful, bushes, shrubs, flowers, and ivy. The care and cleanliness continues in the restrooms and at the concession stands.
As for the concessions, they really offered a little bit of everything, but everything fell flat. I had to have the traditional Strawberries & Cream sweet treat, because it was Wimbledon after all. I would next time pass on that dessert because it just seemed lazy. Whip your cream. Who wants to slurp it up loose by the spoonful? I didn’t get it. I was also disappointed with their sandwich selections. They were very traditional English choices, so if you’re not a fan of English sandwich pairings, go with the pizza. It was fine.
While I wasn’t a fan of the food, I couldn’t complain about the prices. Everything was so, so reasonably priced. My Strawberries & Cream, £2.50! Less than a coffee in London! The day’s program was £3.00, as was the Wimbledon used tennis ball 3-pack keepsake! I could not believe it and wanted to buy fifty of them just to sell on eBay. This was a testament to London’s lack of commercialism. Coming from the US, where every event and holiday is exploited and inflated, this was nice to see. The people coming together and having a mutual respect for the grounds, the game, and the merchandise.
It really was a great day. The sun was shining, the fans were happy, and the players were on point. I had amazing Centre Court seats with a full view of three matches. While the men put up the best fight for one another, the women’s matches were the highlight for me. Watching two U.S. players dominate their competition was exhilarating. Coco and Serena made me feel closer to home over Fourth of July weekend, cheering on my country all the way from London. No matter which country you hail from or who is on the courts, though, you’ll have a great day. The intimate silence and abilities of the athletes is surreal, as is the energy in between play. So, whether this week, or in years to come, head to Wimbledon for a one of a kind experience.
Happy Fourth of July!
The Championships Wimbledon
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
London SW19 5AE