After having such an amazing time at Wimbledon last year, I decided I wanted to do it again this year. Having failed to get tickets in the ballot, I decided I’d take my chances in “the queue”. If you’re not British you might not understand how much as a nation we love to queue, and being Wimbledon, there is nothing more civilized or well organised as this queue. They even give you a “Guide to Queuing” when joining.
I’ve had friends that have had very successful experience of the queue at Wimbledon so I didn’t think it would be as difficult as it was to get myself into the grounds on the day. So, I thought I’d share a few little tips and tricks that I’ve learnt from having done it, so that you don’t go home disappointed.
- When the stewards say get there early, they mean it.
Make sure you get to the grounds before the first tube. Wimbledon is on the district line, with the first train getting into Wimbledon at 6am. This seems pretty extreme and crazy early but it really ups your chances of getting in. People camp overnight, so before you even think about setting your alarm the night before there are already people in the queue. I am lucky enough to have family in London, living in Notting Hill. I woke up at 5am, got ready and left the house at 5:20am, booked an Uber – which took me 20 minutes at that time in the morning and cost me £14.61. I really think this is the only reason I got in early enough (12pm) to make the trip worthwhile.
- Pack everything in your fridge.
I made the rookie error of not taking enough food or water for the amount of time I was waiting. This year has been ridiculously hot in London. If your one of the unlucky people that suffers with getting “Hangry”, DO NOT SKIP PACKING BREAKFAST AND LUNCH, what’s the point in waiting that long to get in if you’re going to be in a bad mood for most of the day? Plus, the food inside Wimbledon is pretty expensive, £11 for chicken and chips! You’d be silly not to take advantage considering most events will force you to depose of your food and drinks before entering.
- Make friends.
I really struggle to talk to strangers, think this is from being taught “stranger danger” at school and it’s just stuck. The people in the queue around you are going to be there with you for hours so, ‘make nice’. I met a lovely bunch of guys that I actually stayed with all day when we got in. It’s all part of the experience so just embrace it, you might never see these people again anyway so why not? You might also meet some nice people that share their food and alcohol with you! Everyone is there for the same reason, so that’s a good conversation starter.
- DON’T LOOSE YOUR QUEUE CARD!
Although it seems pretty obvious, losing your queue card will completely ruin your day and lose you that place in the queue you’ve put yourself out for. You’ll need the card to get through 2 check points so keep hold of it even when you think you don’t need it anymore.
- Prepare for all weather eventualities.
The weather in England is sometimes ridiculous. When I arrived I was shivering and wishing I’d brought a jacket with me, 3 hours later I was using my hat as a fan and asking fellow queuers for sun cream. I was very lucky with the weather, despite my now red shoulders. Rain is always a possibility, so make sure you check the weather and pack appropriately, an umbrella is almost always a must. The rain will also affect how much tennis is played on the day. Games have been known to be rained off and if you are queuing, the likelihood of your day being worthwhile is pretty slim, but if you aren’t really that fussed about watching the tennis, and just want to go for the atmosphere and novelty that is Wimbledon, then go for it!
- Pick your day.
Certain days are harder to get in than others. Obviously the second week is harder because there are fewer games to be played, thus the capacity declines. We were told by one of the stewards that Thursday, Week 1 is the best day to come for the queue, not sure why, she just said it was a far quieter day consistently (she’d been working Wimbledon since 2009). Mid tournament Saturday (Super Saturday) is known for being pretty busy due to it being a weekend day, but games are also still played out on the outside courts so it’s really popular. This is the day I took my chances, so it isn’t impossible, but you need to really want it. Monday, Week 2 is again a difficult day to get into, when I was queuing to get in for Saturday, there were people already setting up camp to queue for MONDAY TICKETS! As you would expect, as you get closer to the end of the tournament it gets harder to get in. If you’ve also picked a day with lots of well-loved players on Center Court, you’ll struggle due to people not wanting to leave.
Despite being completely exhausted right now, I feel like I’ve been backpacking around Asia for 6 months, I would without a doubt do it all again. Being in the queue made my Wimbledon experience that much more interesting and fun, and it is something that I can now tick off my bucket list. The grounds and tournament are defiantly worth the wait and Pimms just tastes so much better when you’re sat on Henman Hill (Murray Mound).
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