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The first-timer’s guide to visiting Wimbledon Tennis Championships

A guide to visiting Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London in 2023: Everything you need to know for your first trip to Wimbledon, from how to get tickets to what to wear and take with you.

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The first-timer’s guide to visiting Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2022

It’s as much a British summer tradition as Pimms and strawberries and cream – both of which are in ample supply – as London turns tennis mad for two weeks each year for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The championships began at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 1877 and have become one of the world’s most famous tennis tournaments, and are the only one of the four Grand Slam competitions played on grass.

Wimbledon sign on the grass
Wimbledon sign

From the queue to the Royal Box, Wimbledon’s traditions are as much a part of the experience as the actual tennis. So whether you’re a Brit like me who’s grown up watching it on TV every summer (and still can’t believe we finally got our long-awaited British winner) or an overseas visitor wanting to experience a uniquely British tradition, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Wimbledon Tennis Championships this summer.

Glass of Pimms at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships
The obligatory glass of Pimms!

When do the 2023 Wimbledon Tennis Championships take place?

This year’s Wimbledon takes place from Monday 3–Sunday 16 July 2023. 675 tennis matches are played on 19 courts over the two weeks of the Championships. The main events are the men’s and women’s singles but there are also men’s, women’s and mixed doubles as well as junior events (boys’ and girls’ singles and doubles).

The grounds open from 10am each day, and matches start on the outside courts at 11am, at 1pm on No 1 Court and at 1.30pm on Centre Court (or 2pm during finals weekend).

Centre Court at Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Centre Court at Wimbledon

How do you get tickets for Wimbledon?

There are a few different ways to get tickets for the Wimbledon Championships, but the main way is through the ballot. There’s been a public ballot for the tournament since 1924, and UK residents can apply for a ticket in a lottery which is drawn at random. It’s really oversubscribed though so you might not get lucky, and you need to start applying early.

Until recently the ballot was done through paper forms, but it’s now run electronically. The ballot for 2023 tickets opened on 25 October 2022 and you need to apply using the myWIMBLEDON system by 15 November. If you’re successful, you’ll start to hear back from mid-February, and have a certain number of days to pay for your tickets.

Looking out over the site of the Wimbledon Championships
The Wimbledon site

Tickets range from £40–£240 depending on the day, court and where you’re sitting for Centre/No 1 Court. You don’t get any choice on what day or court you’re allocated, and tickets are non-transferable so if you don’t want them they’re put back into the next ballot.

Ballots for returned tickets continue right on up until the tournament starts and tickets are issued electronically via the myWIMBLEDON mobile app.

If you’re not a UK resident there’s a separate overseas ballot, but it only has a few hundred tickets so you might be better off trying another way.

The flower-filled grounds at Wimbledon
The gorgeous grounds

What if I don’t manage to get a ticket in the Wimbledon ballot?

If you don’t get lucky in the ballot, the other ticket options are debentures, corporate hospitality, Ticketmaster and the queue – or you can watch the qualifying sessions.

Wimbledon debentures

At the pricey end of the spectrum are debenture seats. Debentures are five-year season passes to Wimbledon where you get the best seats on Centre Court and No 1 Court for each day of the Championships as well as access to exclusive lounges and restaurants.

Debenture owners can sell off any unwanted tickets on the Wimbledon Debenture Holders website if they can’t make certain days. They’re the only freely resaleable tickets for the tournament so are in high demand. You’re looking at around £1000 plus per ticket for Court No 1 going up to £5000 for a ticket to the finals on Centre Court.


More reasonable are the tickets available on Ticketmaster, but there are only a few hundred so you need to get in there quick. There are a couple of different types – returned tickets sold off 48 hours in advance and reserved tickets sold off in the morning for the next day. Details for Ticketmaster ticket sales for 2023 are to be confirmed.

The order of play at Wimbledon
The start of the Championships

The queue

Otherwise there’s the legendary Wimbledon queue – an institution in its own right. A limited number of seats for Centre Court (except in the last four days), No 1 and 2 Courts are sold off on the day of play. But if you want one you’ll have to get there the night before and camp in the designated area of Wimbledon Park (you can store your camping gear in the left luggage facilities at Wimbledon Park Golf Course or Somerset Road).

You can only get one ticket per person, so if you’re going with friends you all need to queue up, but there’s a great atmosphere. And this is a queue with its own etiquette, where you get a ‘queue card’ to mark your place if you need to nip out.

If you don’t fancy camping, a few thousand ground passes are available on the day if you arrive early. These let you watch matches on the unreserved courts 3–18 as well as the big matches on screen from Henman Hill (or Murray Mound, depending on your age!).

Or the easiest way to get a taste of Wimbledon action is to come late in the day and pick up a resale ticket, where people who’ve left for the day let their tickets be sold on for charity. Tickets start to become available from 3pm and cost £5 per person.

Umpire on court at Centre Court at Wimbledon
New balls please!


If you’re not able to get tickets for the actual championships, you can see some of the players in action at the qualifying competition where unseeded players must get through three rounds to earn their place in the main men’s and women’s singles.

It takes place at the Wimbledon Qualifying and Community Sports Centre (Bank Lane, Roehampton SW15 5JQ – the nearest train station is in Barnes) over four days towards the end June (2023 dates are to be announced). Tickets cost £10 per person with the proceeds going to the Wimbledon charity foundation.

Spectators at Henman Hill/Murray Mound
Henman Hill (or is it Murray Mound?)

How do you get to Wimbledon?

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (London SW19 5AE). The roads get clogged up so the best way to get there is by public transport, but be prepared for queues. The closest Tube station is Southfields, an easy 15-minute walk away straight down Wimbledon Park Road. Or Wimbledon station is slightly further away. There’s a shuttle bus from either station if you need it.

Southfields Tube station near he Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Southfields station getting into the spirit

What should I wear to Wimbledon – and take with me?

Unlike the players – whose all-white outfits are strictly enforced – there isn’t a dress code if you’re visiting Wimbledon, unless you’re in one of the hospitality or members’ areas. Think smart casual though, especially for Centre Court and No 1 Court.

The site’s pretty big so you’ll be doing plenty of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. Also as this is the UK, you never know what the weather will do, so pack clothing for all occasions – bring a jumper, umbrella, raincoat and sunglasses with you.

If you’re lucky enough to get a sunny day, there’s limited shade on most courts (unless you’re underneath the roof overhang on Centre or No 1 Court) so bring a hat, sunscreen and water bottle. There are water refill points around the site as well as a decent array of other services like ATMs and a pharmacy. You can’t take bags bigger than 40cm x 30cm x 30cm into the grounds, but you can leave bigger items at left luggage (which costs £1/£5).

Dressed up for the tennis at Wimbledon
Wimbledon in the sunshine

And what if it rains?

This is England in the summer, so chances are there’ll be rain at some point during the Championships. But the days when everything ground to a halt in the rain and we had to rely on Cliff Richard to keep us entertained us are long gone.

If you have tickets for Centre Court or No 1 Court, both have a retractable roof which means play can carry on if it rains. It takes about 10 minutes to close the roof and another 20 to get the air conditioning conditions right so there is a short delay.

But on the other courts rain still stops play. You can hide out in one of the cafés, or there’s the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum on site which is the world’s largest tennis museum and tells the story of the sport from 1555 to today and is free for ticket-holders.

Tennis players at Wimbledon
Players on one of the smaller courts

Is there anything to eat other than strawberries and cream?

Pimms and strawberries and cream are an integral part of the Wimbledon experience – 23 tonnes of strawberries are served during the Championships. But they’re not cheap, with a punnet of 10 strawberries £2.50 and glass of Pimms £8.50. There are lots of other eating options though, from takeaway cafés to sit-down restaurants and Champagne bars.

Centre Court and No 1 Court have a few options each and there are also plenty of places to eat around the grounds. If you’re on a budget you can bring in your own supplies, including up to a bottle of wine or two cans of beer per person. If you don’t want to carry a picnic in with you there’s a handy M&S Foodhall opposite Southfields Tube station. You can’t take hard-sided coolboxes in but you can bring bags if they’re within the size limit.

Centre court action and Fred Perry statue at Wimbledon
Wimbledon icons – Roger Federer and Fred Perry

Where should I stay if I’m visiting Wimbledon?

Staying in southwest London makes things easiest – and if you’re within walking distance then even better as you can avoid the crush on the Tube. Hotels in Wimbledon* get booked up really early, so you might want to look at Wandsworth, Putney or Earlsfield too, or it’s easy to reach Wimbledon from anywhere in central London on the District Line.

Many local residents rent out their houses during Wimbledon. We rented a one-bedroom apartment 25 minutes’ walk from the grounds for £144 a night for two people. Check out VRBO* and AirBnB for listings, but again nearby places get booked up early.

Female tennis players on court
Game, set and match

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A guide to visiting Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London in 2023: Everything you need to know for your first trip to Wimbledon, from how to get tickets to what to wear and take with you | Wimbledon Championships | Visiting the Wimbledon Tennis Championships | Wimbledon tennis guideVisiting the Wimbledon Tennis Championships – a first-timer's guide for visitors featuring how to get there, where to stay, how to get tickets and what to wear and bring | Wimbledon Championships | Visiting the Wimbledon Tennis Championships | Wimbledon tennis guide

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Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Hi, I have tickets for the final Friday 8th July on court 1 but can't find any order of play. Do you know what matches will be played? Also, will I be able to watch matches on a big screen as the mens semi finals will be being played that day I think?

Great website. Very informative. Thanks.

Lucy Dodsworth

Friday 1st of July 2022

Hi, there's a provisional order of play on the Wimbledon website but it doesn't say which court has which games – you can go and watch on the big screen too though.


Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Do you know the schedule and how long matches will last on July 7th? I think the main ones are both at 1:30pm on center court and number one court? So there is really no re entry option that day right because those matches will be halfway or mostly over by 3 or 3:30?

From the U.S. and never been. Queuing is not an option for us and neither are expensive debentures.

Lucy Dodsworth

Friday 1st of July 2022

Hi, there's a provisional order of play on the Wimbledon website which shows quite a few games for the 7th July – the main ones will be at 1.30pm but there should be some afterwards. Chances are there'll be very few returns during the first games but there may be some later.

Steve Perkins

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

How many matches do I get to watch with my ticket

Lucy Dodsworth

Friday 1st of July 2022

It'll depend on what day and what ticket you have but if a seated one for Centre/1/2 you have the seat for the whole day, you can also watch matches on the outside courts.

Carole Herman

Monday 27th of June 2022

I have tickets for court 1 on the final Sunday - 10th July. What is likely to be on court one on that day? Is it permissible to go to Herman Hill to watch the men’a final on the big screen of you have court one seats?

Lucy Dodsworth

Monday 27th of June 2022

The last Sunday on Court 1 is usually the ladies' doubles final and some of the wheelchair and invitation events (with veteran players which can be really good fun to watch) – you can go and watch the men's finals on the big screens though.


Monday 27th of June 2022

Hi, Great website. Lots of info. Obvious question to some, but I've never been to Wimbledon before, I have tickets for my son and myself for Centre court. So which gate do we use to get into the grounds if you've got a ticket? e.g you don't join the wrong queue!

Lucy Dodsworth

Monday 27th of June 2022

Thanks! There are several gates ticket holders can use – the most convenient will depend on which direction you're coming from, but gate 5 is the closest to Centre Court, and make sure to avoid gate 3 which is for the queue.