I’ve wanted to go to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships since I was five. My family traveled to London that summer and spent part of every afternoon watching the tennis at Wimbledon on TV. I was obsessed, and vowed to go in person someday. This week I finally got my chance, and now I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to Wimbledon.
What to Wear to Wimbledon
My biggest question before going to the tournament was this: what should I wear to Wimbledon? I put the question out to my Twitter followers, and got great responses. The bottom line is that standard dress for Wimbledon ranges from casual to smart casual depending on what kind of tickets you have.
Given that I was invited to Wimbledon by Hertz and was going to spend the day in a hospitality suite, I was advised to wear smart casual attire. Many people told me to bring a cardigan in case it got cold, and sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat in case it got hot (this is England; we can have four seasons in four minutes). Others said to wear comfortable shoes in case I walked around or stood to watch a match.
All of this advice for Wimbledon proved incredibly useful. On the day, the morning and evening were chilly, but the afternoon was blazing hot. I used all of my clothing and accessories at some point, and was happy to have them. And while I had tickets for Centre Court and Court 1, I also spent time walking around and standing, so flats were a lifesaver for my feet.
How to Watch the Tennis at Wimbledon
The next thing I wondered was whether I could only watch the tennis on the courts that I had tickets for, or whether I could watch on other courts as well. I had tickets for two of the most famous courts at Wimbledon, but there were a lot more dotted throughout the grounds.
As it turns out, a lot of the smaller courts have only a few rows of seating, and people without tickets can stand behind them and watch the players.
After viewing a quick match between Andy Murray and Blaz Rola on Court 1 and a long match between Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek on Centre Court, I wandered over to Court 19 and stood behind a short brick wall to watch former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis in a doubles match.
I also got to peer into a few other courts throughout the day, which was a nice way to get a broad picture of what goes on at Wimbledon.
What to Eat at Wimbledon
Given that food is never far from my mind, I wondered what to eat at Wimbledon. The first thing I learned was that no trip to the tennis is complete without strawberries and cream. A staple tradition at Wimbledon, this sweet treat is sold all over the grounds. Sugar optional.
Beyond the strawberries and cream, Pimm’s and champagne were flowing all day, and the food courts and restaurants had a wide range of cuisines to offer. I had lunch and afternoon tea in the suite, but if I hadn’t, I would have had a hard time choosing from among all the options.
Wimbledon Beyond the Tennis
I spent 11 hours at Wimbledon, and despite my love of tennis, even I couldn’t sit still for that long. Thankfully there was a lot to do at Wimbledon beyond the courts.
In addition to the aforementioned food and drink, there was a huge shop selling all kinds of clothing, tennis equipment, and souvenirs, and a Wimbledon tennis museum with a surprisingly large space dedicated to the history of of the sport.
Behind Court 1, there was a big grassy hill full of people watching the matches on TV. For those with grounds tickets to Wimbledon, it was a great place to watch the tennis even without ticketed seats.
How to Get the Most out of Wimbledon
Above all, I wanted to know how to get the most out of Wimbledon. After waiting more than 25 years for my chance to attend, I felt a lot of pressure to do it right. This was another question I put out on Twitter, and I got a lot of helpful tips.
As far as what time to get to Wimbledon, arriving at 10am was perfect. It allowed me to walk around and explore the grounds before the matches started. It was less crowded than it got later on, and I didn’t feel guilty for missing out on the tennis.
While watching the tennis itself, I was glad to have taken years of tennis lessons as a child. This was primarily because it meant that I knew the rules of the game and the scoring system. I would have been a bit confused if I hadn’t. For those with no knowledge of tennis, some quick research before going to Wimbledon goes a long way.
I also wondered how late in the evening Wimbledon goes. The answer really depends on what time the matches finish, so it can go quite late sometimes. I couldn’t tear myself away from the courts until 9pm, but even then there were plenty of matches still in progress. It was nice to leave late, though, because the tube wasn’t too crowded on the way back into central London.
Overall Impressions of Wimbledon
Despite my astronomically high expectations for Wimbledon, my experience managed to meet them. It was an incredible day overall, and seeing some of the best players in the world was an added bonus.
Getting tickets for Wimbledon isn’t easy; every year that I’ve entered the lottery I haven’t won. But in case I don’t get invited again next year, I will still apply. And if all else fails, I can always camp out overnight and try my luck with the same-day tickets queue. Regardless of how I get there, I already know it will be worth it.