Wimbledon is the coveted annual tennis tournament held each year at the end of June and into early July at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, just outside of London.
Tickets for this event can range in the thousands of dollars easily, and unlike the US Open where you can purchase your tickets in advance via Ticketmaster, Wimbledon’s tickets, outside of those purchased in a re-sale environment are only available day-of via the infamous “The Queue.” The Queue is the cheapest way to attend Wimbledon.
What’s The Queue?
To purchase tickets for Wimbledon day-of, you’ll wait in an infamous line called “The Queue.” The line stretches several miles out from the Wimbledon complex, and it’s the only way to get cheaper tickets to access the day’s events. The Queue is so famous it’s even a proper noun (to the Brits anyways).
Getting to Wimbledon
If you’re headed to Wimbledon, don’t make the mistake I did and get off at the Wimbledon or Wimbledon park Underground stations. Oddly enough, those aren’t the closest ones to where you’ll need to line up. Get off at Southfields station, and from there it’s about a half mile or so to the start of The Queue.
Once you see walk towards the Wimbledon complex, you’ll see plenty of signs directing you to the start of The Queue. If you get lost, there are stewards along to way to guide you in. Once you find the end of The Queue, you’ll receive a numbered card from a steward indicating your place in line. The Queue card doesn’t guarantee your entry to Wimbledon. It’s simply a card to count your spot in line, though you aren’t allowed to leave the line.
While you’re standing in line, a steward may come along offering you a wristband for one of the larger stadiums and one of the special matches for the day. If you see this available, ask for one. These are numbered, and they’ll be placed around your wrist and will guarantee you seating in the match that’s specified. The price will be higher for this wristband than getting into the grounds on its own, and you’ll be obligated to purchase the price of the wristband (so, once you say yes, you can’t go back to just waiting for the general queue, since your queue card will be punched). You’ll also notice that as The Queue moves along, if you have a bracelet you’ll be separated from the general line and move into a shorter line for that Court.
The line is long. Don’t expect it to be short. Take the time to talk to the folks around you, read a book, or munch on some snacks. There are a few interactive displays along the way, though it’s not a lot to keep you occupied, so I would suggest brining material to keep you from going insane for at least three hours worth of time.
As you’re standing in line, depending on what court you’ve purchased tickets for via the wrist bracelet, or the general queue, you’ll be separated as you wait for security. At security, you’ll go through the standard metal detectors. Following that, you’ll again wait on a line (now shorter) that leads you to the ticketing booths. There, you’ll purchase your tickets. It’s cash only here, so don’t be disappointed having to be turned away by just bringing a credit card. It’s not accepted.
Once your past ticketing, you’re in! Enjoy Wimbledon now that you have access to the grounds. If you have a ticket for one of the specified courts, you have access to that court and the grounds courts (so, Centre Court and all the grounds courts, for example). If you’ve waited in the general queue line and don’t have a wristband, you just have access to the grounds courts. Either way, it’s sure to be a fun time if you’re a tennis fan.
Have you ever waited in The Queue for Wimbledon? What was your experience like? Any tips for first time attendees?
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