Wimbledon

A Guide to Camping and Queuing for Tickets at Wimbledon

Those of you that read my blog often will know this year I attended Wimbledon to see Federer play Mannarino in the fourth round. I camped for the tickets for the first time since 2013 and whilst not much has changed in terms of the tips I posted here, I thought I'd do a dedicated post to all things camping and queuing. So without further ado here are some things you might want to know if you're planning on joining the queue and camping for Wimbledon tickets in 2019.

Why should I queue?

If you haven't won tickets in the public ballot and don't fancy paying debenture prices then queuing is one of your only options to land Wimbledon tickets be it for the show courts or just a grounds pass. It's also quite fun, assuming the weather is good!

How many tickets are available in the queue?

Numbers can vary slightly each day but generally, there are 500 tickets for Centre Court, 500 tickets for Court 1, 500 tickets for Court 2 and then a large number of Ground Passes available.

Where is the queue located?

Smack bang in the middle of Wimbledon Park. If you're coming via the London Underground then get off at Southfields and it's a 10-minute walk up the road. I've marked the entrance on the map below:


What items should I bring?

pop-up-tent

Queuing for Wimbledon tickets brings out all manner of campers from the pros who have every item under the sun to the complete amateur with virtually no equipment. This year I saw people turn up with just a mat to lie on πŸ˜€ but whilst I recommend you travel light due to left luggage restrictions I would still bring the following:

  • Tent (the max size allowed is a two-man tent but as long as you're not bringing some huge holiday home style thing then it won't be a problem). The most popular tent you'll see and my favourite is this Quechua pop up tent.
  • Sleeping bag
  • Blow up mattress or foam mat – sleeping on the hard ground just isn't fun
  • Inflatable pillow or camping pillow
  • Toiletries – you don't need many items just the essentials. For me, it was a toothbrush, toothpaste, bacterial cleanser for hands and deodorant.
  • Microfibre towel
  • Sun Cream
  • Power bank for keeping your phone charged. I use a Rav Power and it's pretty good. The only flaw is that if it runs out you can't charge that either. A couple of Swiss guys in the tent along were using a foldable Solar Charger to avoid that problem and one of them told me it did a pretty good job for keeping his iPad charged. I've not used one to know which is any good but this guide outlines some of the best choices.
  • Playing cards
  • Hat – it can get a bit unbearable if you're sat in the sun on Centre Court
  • Rain jacket
  • Picnic Blanket – you need something to sit on outside your tent as you'll be spending a big chunk of time there
  • Many people bring a cheap fold up a chair along which is a good idea. Although a lot of people just leave them behind as they can't be bothered taking home which I think is rather lazy.  I noticed this year blow up chairs and air loungers were popular which are a bit easier to carry around, just make sure you practice filling it up beforehand.

How does the queuing system work?

how-queue-works

Upon your arrival at Wimbledon Park, you'll join the back of the queue (usually there'll be a flag marking it like the pic above) and be given a numbered queue card showing your position in the queue.

The queue card is effectively your ticket to the Championships and is numbered to show your position in the Queue. Keep good care of it as you'll need it to get your wristband and to get in to buy your actual ticket. Once you have the card, you will pitch your tent and are all set for spending the night in the park.

What happens on the morning of play?

the-queue-wimbledon

In the morning you'll be woken up around 6.00am by the Honorary Stewards. You will be instructed to take down your tent, pack away all other camping equipment and store it away in left luggage.

Once everyone is packed up you'll move into a queue (in order of queue cards) where you'll be stood around for an hour or more before slowly working your way closer to the venue via the golf course. At around 7.30am/8.00am the stewards will work their way down the queue and issue wristbands for Centre Court, No.1 and No.2 courts. Like I mentioned above there are usually 500 tickets/wristbands for Centre Court and so on. So if your queue card is between 1 and 500, you're in luck if Centre Court was what you were after.

After the wristbands are handed out, you will continue the walk to the gates where at around 10.30am you will be allowed in to buy your tickets ready for play which starts at 11.30am.

What do I do with my tent and other luggage items?

left-luggage

When you pack up on the morning of play you can leave all your gear in the Left Luggage facilities. They open at 5.30am and close 1 hour after play has ended. For tents and camping gear it costs Β£5 and other items cost Β£1.

They say that ‘Proceeds are donated towards improving facilities in Wimbledon Park' which to me must be false as the facilities have not improved since I first camped in 2010, they're the exact same if not worse. The only thing I would say has improved is the organisation and queueing protocol, but that's been achieved by trial and error over the years, not by investment.

One thing you should be aware of is that the maximum size for bags in Left Luggage is 60cm x 45 cm x 25cm in size which is about the size of a hand luggage / carry on bag for an airline.

I'm queuing for more than one night, how does this work?

Whenever there's a popular player involved i.e. Federer then a lot of fans choose to camp for more than one night in a bid to guarantee they'll land Centre Court tickets. So if Federer is playing Thursday and you decide to camp out on Tuesday and Wednesday then the process works as follows:

You will arrive Tuesday and join the back of the queue for Wednesday's play, receiving a queue card for Wednesday. When the Stewards instruct you to pack away your items on Wednesday morning, you will be moved to the side whilst everyone else packs their items away.

Once everyone who is entering the grounds for Wednesday's play has packed away you will be moved to form Thursday's queue in queue card order. So if you received queue card No. 1458 when you arrived on Tuesday and the 1457 people before you were all queuing for Wednesday, then you'll be receiving the No. 1 queue card for Thursday's play.

I want tickets for Centre Court when should I arrive?

Wimbledon Queue

Demand varies massively on both a yearly and daily basis. It really depends on the scheduling and the players left in the tournament. Sometimes you'll need to be there 24 hours before play starts on your chosen day, other times you can get away with arriving in the evening before play. Your best bet is to check the Twitter profiles that provide ongoing updates which I've linked below:

How can I pay for the tickets?

Up until 2018 it used to be cash only on the gates but you can now pay via credit or debit card as well as we move towards a more cashless society πŸ™

What are the facilities like?

Wimbledon Park Facilities

Piss poor is the answer. I first camped in 2010 and there have been zero improvements in 8 years. There are a small number of toilets and sinks for a quick ‘wash'  and brushing your teeth. The council do try to keep them clean but when you have a few thousand people descending on a handful of toilets per day the result is as you'd expect.

There are no shower facilities on site, but there is a gym that people use about 10 minutes walk away on Church Road. It requires the purchase of a gym day pass so it will probably be the most expensive shower you ever take, but depending on how long you've been camping or what you've been up to in your tent it might also be the best.

You'll also need to keep hydrated and luckily there's a water bottle refill point near the front of the queue. It really should be monitored though with stewards informing people it's a potable water supply only used for refilling water bottles as I saw some sket washing her hair under one of the taps this year ?

How long can I leave my tent for?

The queue rules state you should only leave your rent for 30 minutes at a time. When I first camped in 2010 there were quite a few people who rocked up, pitched their tent and left it for hours on end. Since then the Stewards have started doing random queue card checks to weed out the piss takers which I think is a good idea.

This year we had 3 or 4 queue card checks where the Stewards go around each tent making a note if nobody is present. I believe a couple of people were ejected after missing multiple checks and nobody in nearby tents had seen or spoken to them. Fine by me πŸ™‚

As mentioned 30 minutes is the recommended time limit, but if you've been at your tent for 8 straight hours and decide to disappear for 90 minutes to get some food in Southfields then I don' t think it's too big a deal especially if the tents next to you will vouch for you. Obviously do so at your risk and don't think you can be away from your tent for 2,3,4+ hours at a time without it being flagged.

What are the food options for the queue?

franco-manca-southfields

You have four options for food:

  • Bring your own (please note camping stoves and BBQ's aren't permitted)
  • Use the food trucks that set up in Wimbledon Park
  • Buy from the takeaways that walk around leaflet dropping (must collect at the gate to Wimbledon park)
  • Go into Southfields and buy something

This year the fourth option on the list was my choice. There are a couple of restaurants in Southfields that do takeaway Pizza options. You can ring through your order and then go collect it when they say it will be ready. It was about 20 minutes wait and the restaurant is about a 10-minute walk just by the Underground station.

That would be my recommendation as I personally thought the on-site options looked like dog food. Cheap burgers, frozen pizza etc. that kind of stuff. There is also a Sainsbury's and Tesco Express in Southfields with plenty of snack options. Using one of the local takeaways that leaflet drop would be my second choice and I saw plenty of people tucking into a Chinese Takeaway which looked pretty good.

Final Thoughts

I think I've covered just about  everything you'd need to know about queuing above but if you have any questions or have a suggestion for any information I might have missed then please leave a comment below.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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57 Comments

    1. Thanks. The tickets for people in the queue are pretty good, there’s a choice and it depends which turnstile you go to when you are let through the gates. In general, they are in the first tier either behind the umpire or across from the umpire.

  1. Great post! If only I was 20 years younger and had no bad back.
    Such a detailed advice for anyone who wish to see Fed live in Wimby. Thanks to you, 1000 more people would queue next year! πŸ˜†

  2. Of course, if the player you want to see is on last and on one of the show courts, you could take the risk and show up during the day and queue for a 5 pm entry and then get a returned ticket from ticket resale. The 5 pm appears to be flexible, depending on the number of people who leave so they can allow more in, and I suspect the admission prices may have turned dynamic based on how many matches there are still on (and who’s playing?). I turned up on the only day that Fed was on third on Centre Court, just to see how it worked, and was surprised to see an awful lot of people leave after the preceding Serena match. I mean, really??? Trouble is that the queue was sufficiently long that it would have taken ages to get in, and then you’d have to queue again for ticket resale, so I didn’t try – and just as well, because it was a short match.

    If you really want to get in regardless, and don’t mind too much who you see, Ladies’ QF Day, the second Tuesday, is usually one where you can more or less do a walk-up – but bear in mind that there are usually no men’s singles matches on that day, unless they are overrunning.

    1. True but this post is more about camping specifically. Not just getting tickets. I wouldn’t chance 5pm if Fed was last match on Centre, it’d be chaos in the resale queue.

  3. BTW, my packing list for a day trip to Wimbledon:

    Most of these, depending on weather forecast:
    – Umbrella
    – Something waterproof
    – Sunglasses
    – Sun hat
    – Sun cream
    – Some sort of cover-up, especially a jumper

    Plus:
    – Binoculars
    – A large plastic bag. Very useful for sitting on, especially if it’s been raining and the seats are wet, plus can be used for an overflow to put anything else in
    – Camera
    – Food and drink, including a water bottle
    – A puzzle book, book, Kindle or something else to kill time in the queue.

  4. I guess you Brits are used to the idea of camping to get a ticket for a sporting event. I find it very strange. Looks like fun if the weather is fine? I wouldn’t want to be out there during a lightning storm!
    What are the ticket prices? Can one go on-line a buy a grounds pass without camping?
    I would suggest Wimbledon has a “swap” area where people can pick up lawn chairs etc that people have left behind.
    btw, I see Roger is now promoting a luggage company?

  5. Just recently I was thinking if I could attend Wimbledon with my dad next year, because I really want to see Roger play live before he retires :'( We’re both huge fans, so I started by learning how much It would cost to go there. The thing is I’m from PerΓΊ (South America), so when I saw the tickets price to travel there, I almost started crying lol. It’s so expensive and I’d have to get the visa first, so yeah.. I kind of gave up lol. But I really want to see Roger playing!!! I don’t know what to do. I’ll still have Wimbledon as an option though, let’s hope I’ll be able to go.
    Thanks for the info!

    1. I would recommend Basle.Fed is contracted there until 2019 so you don’t have much time.But it is Feds
      home town and the atmosphere is wonderful.You can book tickets online,none of this camping and
      queuing malarky.If you book quarter finals day you get to see four matches,so eight very good players.We saw Fed,Delpo,Goffin,Cilic,Mannarino,Baptista Agut,Fucsovics.Quite a good days tennis.Catering very good,and as you would expect in Switzerland,toilets immaculate.Hope you make it to see Fed somewhere.?

      1. It’s a good tournament, but I’d prefer to go to a Grand Slam or Master 1000. Although, I’m not sure If I’m in the position to be picky lol. But reading Jonathan’s reply, I think It’s just too expensive πŸ™
        Thanks for the recommendation, though πŸ™‚

      1. That’s actually not a bad idea. Although those are in March so I don’t think I’ll be able to save all the money I need to go there. Do you know how much are the tickets? I’d like to have good seats, I mean maybe not right beside the court, but at least where I could have a decent view. OR maybe I could go to Cincinatti!! I’d have more time to get the money haha!
        Besides, to go to the US I need a visa and to get the visa I need to have my passport for at least 6 months and I don’t have it because I’ve never traveled! I’m poor! LOL. But that one’s cheap so no problem with that. The visa is a little hard to get, just because not everyone qualifies for it. But at the end, It seems like It’s my best option, It’s cheaper to go there than to Europe I guess πŸ™

        Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll think about those.

      2. I don’t have the prices, but they’ll be on the website I’m sure.

        I would imagine Cincinnati is cheaper tickets and general expenses to stay, eat etc so maybe that is best, gives you time to sort your passport out…

  6. Another good article to fill in the void USO has become, thanks Jonathan . The luggage sponsorship seems another perfect fit for endorsements in every aspect of life, this one seems very late to the party given the global life.

    Go Delpo!

  7. Before long, people will camp on a queue to buy tickets to gain access to another queue where you have to camp to buy tickets to some event. Look, I have no right to pass judgement on what people do with their time, and the lengths they go through to watch what they will, but… Really?… I think that least a little reflection wouldn’t do any harm.

    1. Trouble is that camping has become self-perpetuating now. People start queuing overnight for good tickets, then other people start thinking they *have* to do that just to get any sort of ticket, and it gets worse and worse, even with 2-day queuing, and you have to get there earlier and earlier in the morning if you even want a ground pass. Gone are the days when people could just come in from out of town in the morning and get a ticket (unless they go for ladies’ QF), and I don’t see it changing unless and until the “big 4” retire.

      OTOH, “all” it would take would be for *everyone* to decide “Okay, I’m not going to camp any longer”. Then people would just turn up on the day and take pot luck. In my dreams …

  8. @ Claudia, go to Indian Wells. To see Roger for sure, get tickets for all the 2nd and 3rd round matches on Stadium One. The single tickets go on sale Sept Oct sometime. Then you are guaranteed to see him. Wimbledon and Basel will be too expensive from SA.

    I was dreaming last night I was lining up for something. It was impossible because they kept changing the line around. I’ll take that as a sign, lol.

    1. Yeah, Jonathan recommended me the same thing, but I don’t think that’s enough time to save all the money and get all the papers I need πŸ™ And yeah, Wimbledon or Basel seem to be too expensive for me πŸ™ BUT I HAVE TO GO TO ONE!! I have to see Roger playing live!!

  9. Great comprehensive write-up, Jonathan, thanks. Sounds quite arduous even to see Fed.
    It made me remember how I went to Wimbledon in the sixties (that’s the 1960’s!). We went twice over two years.
    After a leisurely breakfast at our Β£1 a night B&B, run by a virago, we strolled down, maybe between 9 and 10 a.m. to stand in the queue in the street. As far as I can remember we were given a number by 12 noon. We got court-side seats on the centre court every day for the fortnight. At the men’s finals day we had to be in the street queue by about 1 a.m. the same day, maybe a bit earlier. We didn’t need sleep, we were young..
    I don’t remember taking much, a sandwich, some cheese, juice and a banana possibly. We just chatted in the queue and always got into the site reasonably early. We couldn’t afford any of the food except for ice-cream. Don’t even remember drinking water – we certainly didn’t carry it in those days. We supported Mike Sangster and Roger Taylor – these were the days when we supported British players, but we weren’t too heartbroken when they lost and we had other favourites as well. I remember being scolded for liking Bungert, a German.
    Several years later I went out with someone whose father was something in Scottish tennis and we got Centre Court seats higher up for four days. I enjoyed the earlier two fortnights more and really I preferred seeing it on TV which we used to watch avidly for the whole fortnight at home.

    1. Thanks, cool reminiscing story. So queued from 1am to watch the final on Sunday afternoon? That’s a long time too.

      Camping is fun, but bit of a mission. Part of me says it’s cool and everyone should do it once, but I do think they could make it more accessible with a general sale.

  10. Hi jonathan..so informative! And reading through the comments is fun awell..i am travelling with 5 elderly folks, who probably cant camp outside..is it possible for me alone tocamp in the queue andbuy tickets for all 6 of us? Do u know if this is allowed? Have u ever travelled with folks needingassistance or unable tocamp overnight as suggested by you? I just turned 40 and travelling with 5 others close to 70-80 yo. O would appreciate any advice on this matter! Travelling from all over the world!

    1. Hi,

      No, it’s not allowed to do that. 1 person camping is entitled to 1 ticket. So you can’t camp on behalf of others.

      You don’t have many other options to be honest. Other than swallowing debenture prices if they are desperate to watch.

      Did yu do the overseas ballot?

    2. This is my big bugbear about Wimbledon’s setup at present (not its fault – nobody started forcing the fans to queue overnight, but now so many people do it you can scarcely avoid it – and it’s really unfair on those who are unable to camp for whatever reason).

      Okay, my recommendations: if you’re just there for the experience, go for the second Tuesday. This is normally Ladies’ QF day, with no men’s singles scheduled (unless of course there has been an overrun), and demand is far lower. I did a walk-up about midday last year and got straight in. Of course, if it’s rained a lot and they are behind schedule there may be (even significant) men’s matches on, in which case what I said probably goes out of the window.

      Otherwise: you could try the Ticketmaster online sales the day before at 9 am sharp. I’m sure those must be limited in number, probably to 2, though, so that wouldn’t cover everybody. The only other alternative I know of is that there is a mobility tent for the elderly, infirm and disabled where you can sit on chairs down by the bag search area, with a golf buggy service to take you there (ask the stewards at the gate to the park). However, this doesn’t give you any priority over anyone else, so you would still have to queue for a long time, and wait until your queue number came up before being allowed in (so queuing overnight wouldn’t really do you any good if you had to wait for them and all go in together).

      I think the queue is generally shorter in week 2, too – but everything’s relative!

  11. Hi, Jonathan. Thank you for the detailed and helpful info. I am also a huge fed fan. I want to watch him live at Wimbledone. Do I need to start the queue on the day he is playing in order to get next round ticket? Do you know anywhere I can rent the camping gear? I am coming from overseas so it would be nice to rent instead of bringing with me or buying. Thank you!

    1. Hi,

      Yeah you’d need to arrive the day before.

      So if playing Tuesday, then start camping on Monday. Not sure what time as depends on schedule, weather etc. Probably Monday afternoon.

      Renting camping gear – I don’t think that is going to be viable. You can get a tent from Argos for Β£15 and a sleeping bag for Β£10 so you may as well just buy then leave it. Just don’t be one of those people who dump their gear without packing it away first…give the sleeping bag to a homeless person on your way back into London.

      1. Thank you very much for your reply. So if roger is playing on Tuesday, will it be kind of late to camp on monday in order to get center court tickets? Thank you for the tips on camping gear as well.

  12. Hi John I’m camping three days ahead at what point do you tell the stewards that I m now queuing for the days ahead? I guess they take the queue card they gave you and replace it with the next days one and so on? Arriving Thursday night for the following Monday’s queue for centr tickets ! Hope to hear
    Peter

    1. You don’t really need to inform them. They’ll tell you on the morning that if you are queuing for another day, move your tent over to a holding area. You keep your queue card until they hand out the next days, by which point you will have already moved and pitched your tent to the front of the queue.

      Queuing from Thursday for Monday’s play is madness though. People arrived on Saturday afternoon last year and still got centre tickets.

  13. Hi, Jonathan. Thank you for the detailed information. I am planning to queue and camp with my friends. As we are traveling from overseas, we plan to bring two camps, i.e. two persons sharing one camp, but all four of us will stay in the queue. Just want to check if the queue card will be handed to us per person or per camp? Thanks.

  14. The boating lake has a shower facility at the bottom of the field. Starts at 05:00. Was Β£5 per person last year. Never used it but it’s not a bad price if you really want to have one. Only limited numbers obviously

  15. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for this lovely blog. Its very informative. My sister and myself are huge RF fans and we are planning to camp out for tickets this year at Wimbledon. From what information we have gathered, we are planning to start camping on Saturday morning if Fed plays on Day 1; And from Saturday eve if he plays on Day 2. Does that sound good enough to fall within the first 500?

    Regards,
    Vidya

      1. I read that the Wimbledon park gates will be opened on Sunday only. Is it so? If so for Saturday eve where can we pitch our tents?

      2. On the street. That’s what a handful of people did last year.

        Tbh it’s getting out of hand is the camping thing, having to arrive Saturday for Monday is far too extreme.

  16. Hey thank you so much for this info. I am planning to go this year and was just wondering something. Probably a dumb question but I have never camped before in my life and was wondering about the shower situation you mentioned. Does one have time to run to the gym showers on the morning of the match day they intend to see? Would it be dumb to just bring some disposable wipes made for camping to wipe down with and a good deodorant? Sorry for the funny question but I’m not exactly an outdoorsy person but I really want to get center court tickets haha.

    1. Probably doable but you’d need to up before everyone else, pack up your stuff and then go. Also, I’m not sure if the staff will be at the gym at 5/6am for you to buy a 24-hour pass. Maybe someone reading this can comment who has used the gym.

      Tbh going without a shower for a day or two isn’t the end of the world so wipes and a quick was down in the sinks is fine. If it’s a hot day in the grounds then you’ll be sweating in no time anyway, so that freshly showered feeling quickly disappears.

      1. OK, cool thanks for the info. I am thinking I might be spending two nights because I want to see Roger (of course). I might check with my AirBnB as well to see if that is doable because it is only two tube stops away I believe. Otherwise I guess I will just bring a change of clothes and plan on roughing it haha. I suppose I won’t be the only one in the same boat.

      2. You might be able to go back to the Airbnb on the night before play to shower then back to the tent to camp/sleep. It will be too difficult to do that on the morning of play.

        Always takes longer than you think these things though. I parked my car on Ravensbury Road which is a stone’s throw from where you camp but by the time you’ve walked to it and got what I needed 20 minutes was gone πŸ˜†

        So depends how far walk it is from the tube. The official rule is you can’t leave the tent for more than 30 minutes. But you can obviously bend that rule slightly. There are queue card checks now though as they have gotten wise to people trying to take the piss and leaving camp for hours.

        I think the gym pass is a 24-hour thing, so maybe you can get it the day before? I would email the gym and ask. It’s the one on Church road.

  17. Thanks for the write up, I have a question.
    I’m thinking of queuing this year with my 16 year old. I live not far so was advised to take my card to dump my stuff in.
    My thinking was great queue, get tickets, drive home, dump car, SSS, return via train.
    This means I can have a beer and feel clean. However I have been told I have to enter once I have ticket and then cannot escape.. is this right…

    1. Nah you won’t have time to do that. You can use the gym for a shower night before if you really need to.

      Get train in with camping gear, camp, pack up and store in left luggage, watch tennis, have a beer, collect gear, train home. Done.

      Hilarious how people can’t go 1-night camping without a shower. No wonder the UK is falling to pieces.

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