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Wimbledon Queueing Experience part 1

I wrote this last year when it was fresh in my mind, but thought it made since to post closer to the event. Last year, my husband and I queued for tickets to Wimbledon. If you are not familiar this is the process of standing in line to get same day tickets to Wimbledon. The first roughly 500 people get center court tickets, and then about the same number get Court 1 or Court 2 tickets. Then a certain number of people get grounds passes that have no reserved seat. I will explain later why I cannot put a number on the total number. No other tennis event, and maybe no other event, has a similar process. It is also very expensive to buy a ticket or you have to be very lucky to get one of the scarce ones that are released on ticketmaster. So, for a lot of people the queue is the only way to attend.
I, like most people here, am a serious planner and found the lack of Rick Steve’s level detail on the process very frustrating. While Wimbledon has a 40ish page guide on the rules, the practical information such as what time to show up, how many people will get in and when will I likely get in are missing. Hopefully if there is anyone else out there looking to do this, this post will be helpful.
So how do you get there? You can take the District Line out to Southfields station. Then it is about a 15 minute walk up Wimbledon Park Lane to the Queue. As you get close it is very well marked and you won’t have a problem finding it. Plus, there will be a horde of people going the same place. Do not take the Wimbledon stop as this is a further stop and a 20 minute walk.

If you want the best chance of getting a ticket outside of camping, take a taxi to the Queue before the first tube gets off. 6 A.M. should do the trick. (I did this in 2015 and from talking to the locals, the queue grows every year. So, this time could slide earlier.) It would have been a 40 pound taxi ride for us, but we should have done it. The queue builds really fast in the morning and the trains do not come as frequently when it first opens. Taking the tube the day we did probably cost us several hours in the queue. This isn’t a certainty, but the queue is a bit about luck and if you want to increase your odds of being the first group in, take the taxi.

Once you reach the queue you walk along a plastic, rail lined walk until you reach a large field. Then you will be shown to a line where they will quickly hand out your queue card. If it is a busy day there will end up being literally 10,000 people lined up in this field. There were 10 lines marked with over 700 people in each. The lines aren’t close together at this part and there is plenty of room to spread out.

The day we got there my queue number was 7066. Yes, there were 7000 people in front of me at 6:39 in the morning. I thought I was good because I had been following the twitter feed “view from the queue” (highly recommend for getting a feel for crowds) and these people were usually in. However, the day we were there they cut ground capacity to 6000. So, we were not going to be in early.

As you look around you realize that this is a giant party. A little posher version of an American tailgate. People bring blankets, picnics and even champagne. I suggest you do the same. The ground can be quite wet so bring something to sit on. One person near us brought a piece of cardboard that they could throw away. There are vendors that sell pizza, burgers, coffee and breakfast food. However, the lines are long and the food is expensive. I highly recommend packing your own food. You can bring it into Wimbledon if you don’t eat it all in the queue. There are bathrooms and they are clean and nice so no worries there.

Posted by
23 posts

How far away from Wimbledon did you stay? I'm wondering specifically about the taxi ride. You said it would have been a 40 pound taxi ride and I wondered how far away you were

thanks

Posted by
13 posts

We were near the Hyde Park underground station. I can't remember which website I used to determine the cost of a taxi. I do know at the time of day we would have been traveling we were pretty assured of a traffic free ride.