WIMBLEDON QUEUES

Queuing for tickets at the Wimbledon Tennis Championship has become an event in itself. The organisation of the queues has changed and now there is camping in Wimbledon Park with facilities, quite different from the tents lined along the roads a few years ago. The Wimbledon Stewards are helpful and knowledgeable so don't be afraid to ask for help. Wimbledon campers never let wet weather dampen their spirits - don't think it won't be busy because of rain!
Camping in Wimbledon Park
There is a good guide to queuing on the official Wimbledon website but our roving reporter Helen Duffy gives an insight into the real experience of The Queue.  She regularly queues for tickets at Wimbledon and gives her top tips to make it an easy and pleasant experience.

Helen's Queuing Tips
  • Get there early! Lots of people ask 'when should I get into the queue?' I always answer 'as early as your can'. If you can arrive in the early morning before the day you want to attend then do, the day goes by so quickly camping and it's a comfort to know that you'll definitely get the ticket you want.  As a rule anytime before midday and you will get centre or court one (although the second Wednesday of the week, men's quarter finals does attract lots of campers).
  • When you get into the queue you will be handed a queue card with your number on it showing your position. This means that everyone who wants to attend the tennis has to be present as they will not give you a card for anyone who isn't there yet - it's strictly one per person present to avoid queue jumpers. By knowing your place in the queue you can tell what tickets you can get the next day.  In the morning wristbands are handed out from the front of the queue, 500 for centre court and 500 for court one, also some for court 2, so if you are number 340 in the queue you can rest easy knowing you will get whichever ticket you want.  If you're number 540 and are desperate for centre court tickets you'll have to cross your fingers that 40 people in front of you opt for court one tickets instead. 

  • The wristbands are handed out at about 10am so make sure you are in the correct place in the queue!  Do not go wandering off because they will simply miss you out.  When you reach the grounds you simply show your wristband and pay for your ticket.  This ticket is for a specific seat which is yours for the day and you can come and go as you please.  If you want to see a whole match get there 10/15 mins before it starts to be sure.
  • Go to sleep early! You will be woken up at 5.30/6 am.
  • Wake up early! Make sure you get up promptly and pack up your things quickly, then head straight over to the left luggage to put your tend and bags into storage for the day. It's £1 for bags (no matter how big) and £5 for tents, so it is a good idea to bring a tent that will fit into your bag to save money (an time hunting for it later). Left luggage queues can be lengthy so get there quickly to avoid stress.
  • Although you do need to spend most of your queuing time near your tent you can walk into Southfields or Wimbledon Village to get a pub dinner if the people camping next to you will keep an eye on your tent.
  • Remember, you can't buy centre court tickets for the last four days of the championships and think about who's playing on the day - if it's Andy Murray playing things tend to get much busier, so get there even earlier!

WIMBLEDON WALKS

The best way to see Wimbledon is by walking around the area and immersing yourself in the feel of the place. Most visitors do not have much time to discover the best places themselves so we are preparing guided walks to take in the best of Wimbledon. These are walks designed for those who like regular stops for lunch and tea! They take in the best restaurants and pubs as well as history and nature. Even if you have only a few hours to spare it is worth following part of our suggested routes. Highlights include the Buddhapadia Temple which has lovely grounds within which to wander and contemplate - the temple and grounds have a serene feel about them.

The Buddhapadia Temple Wimbledon

Walking attaches you to the history of a place, stepping over ancient tracks where others have walked before. There are areas of Wimbledon Village and the Common that have remained unchanged and would be recognised by our ancestors. The Museum of Wimbledon has a wonderful website with oral history from local people which gives us a glimpse of the past (see Culture section).


Maps are a selective means of showing us the way. At the Windmill Museum you can purchase a lovely illustrated map of the common showing the footpaths and bridle ways. It also shows you the area of golf course which should be walked with caution to avoid flying golf balls! Maps give layers of information showing us different aspects of a place - what you see depend on their focus. Also at the Windmill Museum is a map of the bomb sites from World War 2 - a sad reminder, but useful to the historian looking at the architecture of  Wimbledon. There is also an accompanying  booklet on sale both produced by Norman Plastow a local architect and historian, as well as many more interesting books on local history.



Another popular way to view Wimbledon Common is on horseback which gives you a different aspect of the landscape. There are two stables in the Village that have rides suitable for all skill levels along the bridlepaths that cross the common. You will notice that the traffic lights in the Village have signal buttons at riders level to help the horses cross the road.

The Wimbledon Village Stables are tucked behind the Dog and Fox Pub off the High Street in the heart of the Village.  There have been riding stables in this location for over 100 years and before that horses were stabled here when there was a coaching in for travelers. The other stable is adjacent to the Swan pub at 93 Ridgeway, both are a stones throw from the common and Richmond Park, 3,000 acres of wonderful riding.

Contact Wimbledon Village Stables on 020 8946 8579 and Ridgeway Stables on 020 8946 7400

TEATIME IN WIMBLEDON

Wimbledon Village is a great place to visit and while away an afternoon browsing shops and stopping for afternoon tea. There are the more typically English venues as well as the wonderful French cafes with their patisserie.  A short walk  along West Side Common from the Village will work up an appetite and take you to the Cannizaro House Hotel where you can indulge in a formal tea on the terrace overlooking the park. In complete contrast go east past Rushmere Pond and you will find the Windmill Tea Rooms and the Windmill Museum for a more rustic teatime.

The Windmill Museum and Tearooms
It became fashionable to have afternoon tea in England in the early nineteenth century. It is said to have originated with the 7th Duchess of Bedford creating a light snack to fill the gap between breakfast and dinner, with the custom spreading down to the middle classes of London as the height of social sophistication. The paraphernalia  of the occasion became important with a demand for fine porcelain cups and tea pots for the lady of the house to show her good taste to her friends. The choice of tea, selection of cakes and scones as well as the setting were important.

Cath Kidston Rose Teacup



Cath Kidston has a shop at 3 High Street, Wimbledon Village, SW19 5 DX

The Paul's patisserie French chain has a lovely cafe in Wimbledon Village with tasty baguettes, salads and of course a selection of cakes. There is some seating outside on the pavement but mostly downstairs, however it is worth visiting or taking away for a picnic on the Common.

Paul's Patisserie Counter



Take a walk out of the Village across the Common to Cannizaro House Hotel for a more formal teatime in a lovely setting.  A classic and truly English experience, tea is served daily between 3pm and 6pm (3.30pm on Sundays) with delicate sandwiches, cakes and pastries - you can also add strawberries and champagne for a special treat!

For a hearty tea more like grandma might make, visit the Windmill Tearooms.  After a walk across the Common you will be ready for a big slice of their famous bread pudding or scones and cream, all washed down with a mug of tea. The cakes are all home made as are the soups and other savoury dishes.


The tradition of tea sets is kept alive by contemporary designers such as Cath Kidtson, Mini Moderns and Emma Bridgewater.  We love the latters teapots especially, designed to fill four cups, the shape of all her china is unique to the brand and makes an occasion special. Bridgewater's pottery is hand made and decorated in Stoke on Trent, an area with a strong tradition for British pottery.  She has also made a glorious and witty range of mugs and plates to celebrate this summer's Diamond Jubilee.

Emma Bridgewater's Sweet Pea Teapot

Mini Moderns specialise in objects inspired by 1950s British design and original contemporary patterns. Their Festival range of porcelain celebrates one of the biggest influences on their work, the 1951 Festival of Britain which was an exciting post-war exhibition of the new wave of British design.  Created to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the exhibition the range includes a tea set with a wonderful cake stand for a vintage teatime!


VINTAGE WIMBLEDON

Wimbledon is rich in history, a leafy London suburb and home to the Tennis Championship. Wimbledon is made up of two distinct areas, the Village and the Town Centre. The Village, on the edge of beautiful common land, originated in medieval times and grew through the 18th Century when wealthy and titled people found it an attractive location to settle in. The Town Centre is located down the hill and developed later in the 19th century following the construction of the railway.


The mix of design influences over the centuries can be seen around the town by following our suggested walks. There are beautiful Georgian and Victorian houses and also note worthy Arts and Craft style housing to the east of the village on the walk down to Wimbledon Park.  Contemporary architecture sits alongside the period buildings with some impressive additions to the area including the Garden Hall to St Mary's Church, which sits at the top of Church Road that leads you down to the All England Tennis Club.

Explore the history of the tennis Championships in the Wimbledon Museum which has great memorabilia and a 200 degree cinema experience relating the history of tennis from a garden party pastime to a professional, world-wide sport. The Museum is open all year round and there are guided behind-the-scenes tours of the grounds by Blue Badge Guides which must be booked in advance at www.wimbledon.com




Tennis memorabilia has been collected over the years and reproductions of posters and other original items are available from many sources. We love the range of  London Transport posters circa 1930 available from www.art.co.uk and the mugs from the LT Museum Shop


Tennis Collectables is a great online shop based in England stocking a wide range of Lawn Tennis Memorabilia from old tournament programmes to signed items and original Christy's famous Wimbledon towels made especially for each year of the Championships. Another item we like is this delicate vintage silk scarf with a Wimbledon theme is available from Wonderful Stuff a website dedicated to quality vintage scarves. 
With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics coming this year the quality gift market is strong from the Love London items created from Barbara Chandler's photographs to Mini Moderns new range of London themed mugs shown below. The boxes themselves are beautifully designed and they make a great gift to take home. Also have a look at their Festival of Britain collection which are particularly fine - derived from the original designs for the furnishing of the Festival Hall and other memorabilia that the designers had collected over the years and had a major influence on them.