Wimbledon for First Timers: How to Get Tickets, What to Wear & More!

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Taking place since 1877, the prestigious Wimbledon Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.

But how do you get tickets? What is it like in the infamous Wimbledon Queue? And of course, what is it actually like once you get inside? 

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know about attending Wimbledon as a first timer with must know tips from my own personal experience attending on the first day of Wimbledon 2024!

Save this Guide to Attending Wimbledon for Later!

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Wimbledon Basic Must-Knows

Now let’s get started with some basic Wimbledon must-knows.

First, the tournament is one of the four famous “Grand Slam” tournaments, and the only one still played on (meticulously maintained) grass courts.

The event place every year at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) in Wimbledon, a district of Southwest London. Event dates very slightly year to year, but always takes place over two weeks in late June or early July, usually on the last Monday of June or first Monday of July.

Every year, hundreds of the world’s top tennis players compete in the following events:

  • Gentlemen’s Singles 
  • Ladies’ Singles 
  • Gentlemen’s Doubles 
  • Ladies’ Doubles 
  • Mixed Doubles

There are also the following Junior events: 

  • Boys’ Singles (64)
  • Girls’ Singles (64)
  • Boys’ Doubles (32)
  • Girls’ Doubles (32)

… And some invitational events as well!

The grounds open at 10am daily, with play beginning on outdoor courts at 11am and play on No 1 & Centre Courts typically beginning later from 1pm onwards (with adjusted times for Finals weekend).

Of course, since there’s no set duration for tennis matches like there may be in other sports, exact start times for matches later in the day cannot be provided. Instead, an Order of Play is released (usually the evening before) with the list of players and matches that will take place at each court.

With it being Wimbledon though, you can expect weather related disruptions. In some cases, matches will be delayed (even until the next day), or sometimes players will get switched to different courts, so being openminded and flexible is key to enjoying yourself. 

All in all, attending Wimbledon is a dream for many tennis lovers, not just for the high calibre of tennis being played, but also for the event’s many famous traditions, including the players’ all white attire, the infamous Wimbledon Queue, and iconic concession staples like strawberries & cream. 

How to Get Tickets to Wimbledon

Next let’s move onto how to get tickets for Wimbledon. The main methods are as follows!

NOTE: Apart from tickets printed with ‘Debenture’ instead of the price, tickets to Wimbledon cannot be legally sold or transferred, so if you see anybody selling Wimbledon tickets online, it is likely a scam.

Option A: The Wimbledon Ballot & Ballot Resales

The most popular but least predictable option is entering the Wimbledon Ballot, which has now officially been around for 100 years.

With the ballot, you essentially enter your name in a lottery. If you are one of the lucky ones chosen, you’ll be offered tickets to a randomly allocated day and court.

The ballot typically opens in the Fall between September and November so this route is for those who are able to plan ahead. In any case, it makes sense to apply just in case because then you can look for tickets on the Resale page.

You can learn more on the official page here.

And if you are a lucky ticket holder for this year, you can learn more in the official ticket holder guidebook here.

Option B: The Wimbledon Queue

Another popular option for securing Wimbledon tickets is joining the infamous Wimbledon queue which is quite possibly the most British thing to exist.

In sum, Wimbledon is one of the few sporting events in the world that gives fans a chance to purchase premium tickets on the day-of.

Every day of the tournament, there are about 1500 show court tickets available for queuers (with assigned seats), as well as several thousand Grounds Passes that give attendees access to the grounds and all courts apart from Centre Court and No 1 and No 2 Courts.

To secure these tickets, hopefuls must wait in a queue that often begins the day before, or even two (for centre court hopefuls!).

Luckily, the Queue is a civilized affair – with each Queuer given a numbered Queue Ticket that designates their spot in line, as well a number of fair policies like a 30 minute absence limit and the strict one ticket per person policy which prevents people from queueing for absent friends.

Camping overnight in the Queue is how I managed to get No 2 Court tickets for 2024’s opening day! You can learn more about my Queue experience (along with tips) in my full Wimbledon Queue guide.

NOTE: For an idea of when to arrive, this X account retweets people in the queue and their queue numbers, along with arrival times.

Option C: Hospitality Packages

Another option for tickets (for those with the cash to spend) is purchasing a Hospitality Package.

These are basically packages that not only include (guaranteed premium) tickets, but also a huge array of extras like fine dining, chauffeur service and access to all sorts of exclusive areas. As you might expect, the prices are quite steep, starting from £900 for the more basic packages. You can have a peep here on the official Wimbledon Hospitality Provider website if you’re curious!

And it’s fairly competitive as well. According to the official Wimbledon hospitality package website, this year’s packages sold out by the end of March.

Option D: Debenture Tickets

Finally, if you are a UK resident that has a casual £116,000 to throw around, another route to the best Wimbledon tickets possible is through buying a Debenture, which is valid for a set five year period (e.g. 2026-2030).

Wimbledon Debenture holder benefits include…

  • A premium reserved seat for Centre Court or No 1 Court (depending on which you buy) for every day of the tournament
  • Exclusive luxury facilities like private dining areas and bars
  • The ability to sell or give away tickets for days you cannot attend

To clarify though, a ‘Debenture’ is not simply a fancy class of ticket, it’s essentially a giant loan you’re giving to the AELTC and instead of dividends or payment back, you are given wildly exclusive Wimbledon perks. As such, this is more of an investment than just a ticket purchase, especially when you consider that Debenture tickets are the only ones you can transfer/resell.

Of course, as with all things Wimbledon, securing a Debenture isn’t as simple as just buying one – you need to either apply or purchase one being resold either via a stockbroker or privately. DowGate Capital also does a weekly auction.

In case you’re interested though, you can learn more here and take a chance at one of the following:

  • Centre Court: 2520 Debenture Seats
  • No 1 Court: 1250 Debenture Seats

What to Bring to Wimbledon (And What Not to Bring)

As per the official rules here, “all ticket holders and guests should pack their personal items in a bag which is no more than 40cm x 30cm x 30cm (16″ x 12″ x 12”).” So you can actually bring a fair bit of stuff with you to prepare for the day!

You can find a list of prohibited items here, including…

  • Selfie Sticks or equivalents
  • Hard-sided containers/bags e.g. picnic hampers or cool boxes
  • Vacuum flasks or dual skin liquid containers over 500ml
  • Camping chairs or other items of dual skin or tubular construction
  • Any items that pose a hazard to safety et.g. sharp or pointed objects, personal protection sprays, fireworks, flares, spray paint, etc.
  • Excessive electronic devices/accessories e.g. camera lenses more than 300mm in length, tripods or monopods
  • Large flags (over 60cm x 60cm (2’ x 2’)), banners, rattles, klaxons or oversized hats;
  • Items w/ political, objectionable or offensive statements
  • Items w/ intended for ‘ambush marketing’
  • Wheeled footwear & equipment e.g. scooters and bicycles
  • Erected tents or equivalents

I would strongly suggest you bring…

  • A portable charger 
  • Sun protection 
  • Rain protection 
  • Food/drink 
  • Blanket to sit on (if doing the Hill)

Navigating the Wimbledon Grounds

With 18 courts, the tournament is absolutely massive, and roaming the grounds is as much part of the experience as watching tennis and an overzealous enthusiasm over strawberries.

You can access all the official maps on the Wimbledon website here.

As well as the seating plans here.

The Courts

A main distinction in terms of courts is whether they have reserved or unreserved seating.

At Wimbledon, the main show courts meaning Centre Court, No 1 Court and No 2 Court all have reserved seating, meaning you need a ticket to enter and watch,

Courts 3-18 however have unreserved seating, meaning seating is first come, first serve, with some even offering standing room.

So, anyone with a ticket, whether that’s a Grounds Pass or a seated ticket has access to Courts 3-18, with space going to those who get there first.

NOTE: Courts 12 and 18 are also considered show courts, with 12 offering a unique view over the grounds, so long queues can be expected for these.

That said, we had a lot of fun watching matches on the smaller courts, some of which have standing space, so it’s nice to mix things up. 

To help decide where to go on the day of, keep an eye out for the Order of Play which is released usually the evening before. This will inform you of which players are playing on which court, and in what order.

A very helpful resource for this is of course the official Wimbledon app where you can even favourite players to keep tabs on where they’ll be. Downloading this app is a must, so be sure to do it in advance!

Sponsor Activations

Across the grounds, you’ll also find special pavilions from the tournament’s sponsors, with plenty of fun activities and freebies to enjoy.

The American Express Fan Experience for instance had everything including fun games (like Find Andy, a Wimbledon twist on Where’s Waldo ft. Andy Murray) and free massage chairs/sunglass cleaning.

There was also a Ralph Lauren store where you could get customized gear.

As well as a Barclay’s Lounge with meet and greets and opportunities to win prizes.

So, make sure you don’t miss exploring a bit beyond just the courts!

The Hill

The Hill (often referred to as Henman Hill or Murray Mound) is an iconic part of the Wimbledon experience where you can watch Centre Court as well as live highlights of the tournament on a (you guessed it!) hill.

This is a great place to enjoy your picnic or relax a bit between matches. Definitely don’t miss it (though bring a blanket if you plan to stay a while!)

Food & Drink at Wimbledon

An important must know for Wimbledon first timers is that you are allowed to bring your own food & drink in, which I would strongly recommend to reduce costs and more importantly, reduce time spent waiting in queues! 

But of course, there’s plenty of options on site if you want something else.

The most iconic staples of Wimbledon’s food & drink scene are…

  • Strawberries and cream (sugar optional)
  • Pimm’s (Or more accurately, Pimm’s Cup cocktails made of the gin-based liqueur Pimm’s, mixed with what Brits call lemonade but is really a fizzy citrus soda like Sprite or 7-Up, plus fruit) 

There’s also many other options, ranging from sit down meals to quick to-go options. If you are hoping for a nicer sit-down meal, then making reservations head of time is strongly recommended.

NOTE: Alcohol is limited to one bottle of wine or Champagne (750ml), two cans of beer (500ml) or two cans of premixed aperitifs. No spirits are allowed.

Other prohibited items include…

  • Cool boxes 
  • Picnic hampers 
  • Hard sided containers 
  • Vacuum flasks over 500mL

What to Wear to Wimbledon 

This was a point of stress for me when I was planning, mainly because people seem super dressed up on TV and social media.

But honestly – apart from things that are expressly prohibited like clothes with offensive slogans or ‘ambush marketing’ intentions, you can wear whatever you want to Wimbledon.

Throughout the day, you will no doubt encounter attendees from across the clothing spectrum, from gym shorts and t-shirts to full on suit and tie. 

So, my best tip is to wear whatever you’ll feel comfortable and confident in. 

Most importantly, be sure to prioritize…

  • Sun protection e.g sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat 
  • Rain protection e.g a waterproof jacket, poncho or umbrella 
  • Comfortable shoes (as you’ll be walking a lot)

Of course, if you are at Centre Court or attending a more prestigious match closer to the end, then you might want to consider dressing up a little more. 

Final Tips for Attending Wimbledon

Go to the Resale Queue ASAP if you want Show Court tickets 

Historically, Wimbledon has always allowed ticket holders to return their tickets when they leave so that they can be resold at a discount (15 GBP for Centre Court, 10 GBP for No 1 and No 2 Court), with proceeds going to charity.

But of 2024, the Resale process at the tournament has changed, so now instead of waiting in person for Resale tickets, you join a virtual queue.

So, don’t make the same mistake as I did, and make sure you join the queue as soon as you can! The Ticket Resale kiosk can be found above Court 18, and all you need to do is get your myWimbledon ID QR code scanned, then you can apply for resale tickets through the home screen on your app.

Download the Wimbledon app 

The app is filled with great features like maps, player profiles, the Order of Play, as well as the new virtual queue for Resale Tickets, so make sure you have it downloaded!

Bring photo ID

Ticket holders need this to get in!

Bring proof of accounts if you’re a customer of any sponsor 

It may be a good idea of course to also bring any cards with you that show your connection to main sponsors, as often they have exclusive perks for their customers.

In the Queue Village for instance, there was…

  • Free ice cream & affogato if you had a Barclay’s Card 
  • Free radios if you had an Amex card (available all around the grounds)

As well as a special lounge for Amex cardholders. 

Respect spectator etiquette 

If you’re new to live tennis, there are a few additional considerations to make when it comes to etiquette at Wimbledon.

Some things to keep in mind while you’re watching matches include…

  • Keeping your phone on silent
  • Not using flash
  • Only entering/leaving at the change of ends or between matches (never during a game or tie-break)
  • Not chatting too much during the match so your neighbours can enjoy it
  • Bringing in only plastic/cardboard cups and uncorked bottles

Prepare for queues and crowds

The grounds at Wimbledon can be incredibly crowded, so budget additional time for getting between courts, grabbing food, heading to the toilet, etc. It will no doubt take longer than you expect!

Brace yourself for a long commute home

Wimbledon is a busy event so leaving is bound to be a bit of a mess. If you’re really hoping to get a seat on the tube it may be a good idea to walk to a station farther along the line like Wimbledon Park or Wimbledon Station, or even take the train the opposite way to the end station to maximize your chance at getting a seat. 

Did I Miss Any of Your Top Wimbledon Tips?

Let me know in the comments!

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🏨 Booking.com: For searching hotels

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✈️ Google Flights: For finding flight deals

🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance

🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities

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