The Wimbledon Championships are as much a part of British summer as strawberries and cream or Pimm's – both of which can be found in vast quantities on the famous grounds. In fact, it might just be the most British of sporting events. The world's oldest tennis tournament, it has been held at the All England Club since 1877 and is actually the only one of the four international Grand Slam events to be played on grass. This year's tennis tournament takes places from 3rd July for two weeks and is set to be quite the competition.
If you want to get in on this year's tennis action, there are a few things you should know. From how to score tickets to what to bring, here are 10 essential tips for this year's tournament. Have a read and make the most out of this wonderful summertime sporting event.
1. You can nab a ticket on the day for the show courts
Did you know that you can turn up on the day and buy tickets to one of the events? Yes, really! A limited number of tickets are available daily for Centre Court, Court 1 and Court 2 (except for the last four days on Centre Court, when all tickets are sold in advance). For the best chances of getting these tickets however, you'll probably need to camp out overnight – don't forget to bring a tent! If you're not bothered about getting court side seats, you can typically get ground passes for the day by queuing up just a few hours beforehand. Ground passes give ticket holders the use of unreserved seating and standing room in courts 3 to 19.
2. But there are other ways to get tickets, too
Ticketmaster releases hundreds of Centre Court and Court 3 tickets at 9am the day before play. Or you could try your luck with the ballot for next year's tournament – applications are due in December.
3. When to go
The best time to go to the Championships is actually during the first week, as this is when the most matches are on and presents the best chance to catch one of the seeds (the best players in the tournament) in action!
4. Where to soak up the atmosphere
Join the crowds at Henman Hill (also known as Murray Mound), a bit of raised ground by Court 1 that has a giant screen on the outside wall, allowing you to get great views of the action while enjoying the sporty atmosphere. You'll still need to buy a ground admission ticket but it's great fun.
5. How to get there
Located in the capital's south-west London, you can reach the Grounds by bus, tube or train from central London. It's a common misconception that Wimbledon is the nearest tube station to the Grounds but actually Southfields is closer. It's about a 15-minute walk from Southfields station, which is on the District Line, or you could hop on the shuttle bus (but by the time you've queued up for the bus, you might as well have walked).
6. The OTHER Wimbledon
The tennis tournament is actually held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Don't be confused by its lesser-known neighbour, The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club. But don't worry too much about it – just follow the crowds and you can't go wrong!
7. The strawberries aren't cheap
Strawberries and cream may be a must-have tradition but it'll cost you (about £2.50)! Save money by bringing your own picnic, complete with fresh strawberries and cream. But remember that only one bag per person is permitted into the grounds and it must measure no more than 40 x 30 x 30 cm. Also, no hard-sided picnic hampers, toolboxes, briefcases or flasks are allowed so bring your goodies in a plastic bag, which you can then bin or recycle once you’ve finished.
8. Bring your own bottle
Alcohol is allowed into the Grounds but is strictly limited to one bottle of wine or Champagne (750ml) or two cans of beer (500ml) or two cans of premixed aperitifs per person. Bottles of spirits or fortified wines will not be allowed into the Grounds. All alcohol must be consumed in dedicated areas, and glass is not allowed into the courts.
9. Bring rainproof clothing
The players may have a strict dress code (all white), but spectators can dress in comfortable and casual wear. But chances are that it will rain at some point, so don't forget to bring a waterproof jacket and a brolly!
10. Don't worry about the pigeons
Here's a random fact: Rufus the hawk flies over the Grounds throughout the year in order to scare local pigeons away, meaning that the event is pretty much pigeon-free. And it's a good thing too - pigeons can be a health hazard plus might distract the players!