Also check out our guide to watching Wimbledon 2023 on the big screen around London.
Lawn tennis. Strawberries and cream. Sun hats. Pimm's. Add a well-organised queue to the mix and you've reached peak Brit.
The Wimbledon Championships — taking place from 3-16 July 2023 — is one of the few major UK sporting events where the public can get their hands on premium tickets on the day of play itself. And yes, we have a good-old fashioned queue to thank for that. So iconic is this queue, in fact, Wimbledon itself now refers to it as 'The Queue'.
If you haven't been fortunate/organised enough to get tickets through the Wimbledon ballot (which closes by the end of the previous year), then The Queue is your best chance of getting to see some world class tennis in SW19.
What day tickets can you queue for at Wimbledon?
Each day of the tournament, there are around 500 tickets each for No. 1 Court, No. 2 Court and the much-coveted Centre Court (except for the last four days on Centre Court, where tickets are only sold in advance). These are known as Show Court tickets.
In addition, thousands of Grounds Passes (AKA Grounds Tickets) are also available daily. These give you access to the unreserved seating and standing room areas on Courts No. 3-18. If you just want to see some good tennis and soak up the atmosphere, we'd suggest plumping for one of these — they're cheaper, and easier to get your mitts on. Naturally, as the tournament progresses, the competition is thinned out, so you've got more choice on, say, Day 1 with a Grounds Ticket than you have on Day 11.
How much do Wimbledon tickets cost?
It's a sliding scale. For example, a Day 1 Centre Court costs £80, whereas a Day 10 ticket costs £185 — because by this time, the stakes are higher.
Grounds Tickets work the other way. They start at £27 (for us, still the bargain of the century) on Day 1, and cost just £8 on Day 14 — because by then, there's not much to see. Here's a full list of tickets prices for 2023.
Can I buy with cash?
Nope, debit or credit card only.
Where do I join the Wimbledon queue?
The queue for on-the-day tickets starts in Wimbledon Park, eventually winding its way towards the Gate 3 turnstiles, where the tickets are sold. It's about a five-minute walk from Southfields station. (Other Wimbledon stations are not so close to the tennis.)
Here's a handy queue map area map. Transactions can be made by credit or debit card, one ticket per person, non-transferable and on a first-come-first-served basis.
What's to stop me other people from pushing in?
Such unbecoming behaviour is thwarted by the Queue Cards which are divvied out daily to each arrival to represent your exact placement in the queue. They'll only be given to bona fide humans, so don't rely on getting a friend to collect one for you. Queue Cards are dated, numbered and will be checked on entry to the Grounds.
So, now you know the basics, it's time to ask yourself... what kind of Wimbledon queuer are you?
Overnight Wimbledon Queuer
Kudos. You are the unwashed, slightly smelly king/queen of the queuers. Turn up the night before with your sleeping bag and tent (maximum size permitted is a two-person) and pitch up just metres from the front of the queue. Note that barbecues, gazebos, smoking, loud music and generally being a drunken so-and-so are not permitted — nor is any noise at all after 10pm. You are, however, permitted to order yourself a takeaway to Wimbledon Park Road gate. One person must remain with the tent at all times. A smattering of bottle stations, toilets, first aid tents and food stalls in the park mean you don't need to be Bear Grylls to survive the night.
Expect to be woken by a steward around 6am to dismantle your camping gear, drop it off at the left luggage facility (there's a charge of £5 for overnight equipment) and — this is possibly our favourite bit — "close up into a tighter formation" to allow for those mere early-morning queuers to join the queue behind you. Speaking of who...
Morning Wimbledon Queuer
If camping isn't your (sleeping) bag, joining the queue by 5am-6am should still put you in good stead for some top-notch tickets. If you arrive at 6am there will be roughly an hour of hanging around with the recently-roused campers before the stewards come along from 7am to issue wristbands to those queuing for those premium Show Court tickets.
Turn up later in the morning and you'll join the back of a sizeable queue. It's unlikely there’ll be many, if any, Show Court tickets left, but there should still be some Grounds Passes remaining. Our advice: join that queue as early as it's comfortable for you to do so.
You'll receive your Queue Card to dictate exactly when you arrived, and then it's time for some serious hanging around. This is the most organised, best-behaved queue we've ever had the pleasure of joining: you can sit on the grass, read the paper, have a picnic... enjoy it!
Tickets are sold from 9.45am, and the full grounds open at 10am. Once Wimbledon is full with ticket holders, on-the-day queuers are subject to a one-in-one-out policy, meaning spectators are only admitted as others leave.
Afternoon Wimbledon Queuer
By mid to late afternoon, the main fixtures of the day will be in full swing, or otherwise have already happened (matches typically start on the outer courts at 11am and Number 1 Court/Centre Court at 1/1.30pm), and there is little to no chance of a Show Court ticket. But if you simple want to experience the buzz of Wimbledon, catch some of the later games and cram some strawberries down your gullet, it's possible to join the queue after 5pm for late entry. Grounds Passes are slightly cheaper, and by this time, many morning visitors will either have left or be leaving, so the queue should move swiftly.
And if a plucky Brit is slogging it out in a five-setter, you can always pick a spot on Murray Mound/Henman Hill, and cheer on from there. If you're already inside the grounds, post 3pm, there's the chance to bag yourself a return No.1 Court and No.2 Court ticket (£10) or Centre Court ticket (£15) for the remainder of that day of play, from the Ticket Resale Kiosk north of Court 18. Given that both courts now have roofs — and sometimes host nail-biting clashes long into the evening — this could be quite the steal.
Other useful info
Those with accessibility requirements should call the Ticket Office ahead of time, as there are certain queue/car parking facilities available for mobility-impaired visitors. Stewards on the day will also be able to help. Check out Wimbledon's accessibility page for more details.
If you're considering bringing a giant-sized, hard-edged bag emblazoned with political slogans and filled with knives, you might want to read Wimbledon’s Conditions of Entry.
If you're not up for picnicking, here's a list of places to eat and drink around the grounds.
Do bring: sunscreen, umbrella, water, food for a picnic, books or activities to keep you occupied while you wait, credit/debit card for your ticket purchase and cash for Pimm's or strawberries and cream.
Do not bring: selfie-sticks (they’re counted as a prohibited item), barbecues, gazebos, large quantities of alcohol (Wimbledon allows you to bring in one 750ml bottle of wine, or two 500ml cans of beer per person), or a bag larger than 40cm x 30cm x 30cm as this is the maximum size permitted in the grounds. There are a number left luggage facilities just outside of the grounds for anything larger, which cost £1 per item or £5 for overnight equipment. See all prohibited items here.
For any other queue-related questions, this 35-page (!) Wimbledon Queue Guide should provide you with the answer. If it doesn't, what on earth are you asking??