Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to score tickets to Wimbledon?

Where you love tennis or not, this is an experience in itself. If seeking Britishness is what you're after on your next trip to Blighty, this is the place. As you may know, it takes place during June and July, and if you're lucky, you may even get a sunny day or two. No, it needn't cost an arm and a leg. Another popular misconception about London.

What you have to have is a willingness to line up for a while. About 5 hours, maybe 6. Your chances are higher earlier in the tournament and on a weekday. I have managed to be at Wimbledon and see great matches for 5 years, and cannot wait to get back. If you get there really early, the box office may offer you tickets to Center court and Court No 1; otherwise just the ground pass.

But don't knock the ground pass just yet - apart from Center and No 1, it offers you access to all other courts, and early in the week, you're bound to see some big names at the smaller courts. The cost is between 5 and 20 pounds, depending on the day of the week and time of entry - check the Wimbledon website for more on this. A pretty good deal.

Also, being in the line is part of the experience. Everyone's there for the same thing. People of all nationalities feel bonded because of this common goal. There are mobile hot dog and burger stands, kids selling the paper and Wimbledon T-shirts, policemen and volunteers sharing good-natured banter with the people, and groups playing frisbee when the line comes to stand still.

I believe that they open the gates around 10 or 11, so after that, the line moves along nicely.

So, if you're on a shoestring budget (and especially as an American feeling the pinch of the weak dollar), here's what you do:

1)Make sure you're in London during Wimbledon!
2) Take cash with you - I'm not sure if the ticket office accept credit cards.
3)Get there on a weekday, and around 5 am - YES, 5 am. Believe me, there will be about five thousand people before you still, but you will have a good chance.
4)Have fun!

Check their website as well for more details. The nearest tube station is Southfields, zone 3.

No comments: