If you don’t manage to get tickets to the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament through the Public Ballot, you could try joining the famous Wimbledon Queue. If you are prepared to start queuing early enough, this is one of the cheapest ways to get a Show Court seat at the Championships.
The Wimbledon Championships Queue
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) keeps a number of tickets in reserve for allocation to the Wimbledon queue.
For each day of play at the Championships, the following (approximate) number of tickets are distributed to people in the queue:
- 500 tickets Centre Court tickets
- 500 tickets No. 1 Court tickets
- 500 tickets No. 2 Court tickets
- A few thousand Ground Passes
How does the queue work?
The queue works on a first-come, first-served basis.
When you join the queue, you will be given a queue card showing your number in the queue. If your number is below 500, there is a very high probability that you will get a ticket for Centre Court. There are no guarantees however, as there may be more or fewer than 500 Centre Court tickets available for the day.
If you miss out on Centre Court, you could then get tickets to No. 1 Court or No. 2 Court. Again, no guarantees.
Miss out on the Show Court tickets and you could still get a Ground Pass and end up watching matches on the outside courts, or on the big screen on Henman Hill.
Can I leave the Wimbledon queue without losing my place?
Yes, but only for 30 minutes. If you need to leave the queue for any reason, you can rejoin the queue at the same point – as long as you return within 30 minutes.
The queue is actively monitored by Wimbledon Stewards who tend to take a hard line. If you are late in returning to the queue, you might get away with it but in all probability, you will be sent to the back of the queue.
If you lose your queue card you will lose your place in the queue.
How early should I start queuing for Wimbledon tickets?
Competition for tickets gets fiercer every year. Joining the queue as early as possible is the best way to increase your chances of getting a ticket.
It is generally held that to be in with a chance of getting a seat on Centre Court or No. 1 Court, you should join the queue before midday the day before.
And this means camping out for the night…
Camping overnight in the Wimbledon queue
If you are serious about watching play on the Show Courts, you should plan on camping out for the night before the day you wish to attend.
The AELTC provides a limited number of camping places within the Grounds. When you arrive at the Grounds, the Stewards will direct you to a pitch for your tent.
With your tent erected, you will need to stay put until you have been given your queue card. You could find yourself waiting hours before you receive your queue card as there is no schedule for this.
Once you have your queue card, you can then leave your place and get something to eat, locate the toilets or just have a wander.
The AELTC will usually lay on a heated marquee, offering catering, live music and television coverage.
The Stewards will start to encourage campers to quieten down at around 10.30pm. Most people retire to their tents at this point, but with the combination of snoring and excited chat about the next day, you might want to take some earplugs with you.
People typically start to rise as early as 5am. A lie-in is unlikely, as the noise of people getting up and taking down their tents will probably wake you up.
In any event, the stewards will start waking everyone up at 6am. You will now have until security opens at 9:15am to grab some breakfast.
Once the security gates open, it’s the moment of truth as tickets will start to be allocated.
Camping’s not for me…
If you don’t fancy spending the night under canvas, you could arrive early (think 5am) on the day and still stand a good chance of getting a Ground Pass.
With a Ground Pass you can access the Wimbledon Grounds and Unreserved Courts.
The Unreserved Courts (Courts 3 to 18) are outdoor courts that host a variety of matches throughout the Tournament. It is still possible to see highly ranked players on the unreserved courts – especially in the first week of the Championships.
Even if you cannot get a seat on an unreserved court, you can still soak up the atmosphere with a picnic near the big screen on Henman Hill.
What should I wear when queuing for Wimbledon?
Dressing appropriately for the weather is the best advice. Even if the forecast looks stable, you should expect the unexpected – this is Wimbledon after all. Even if the outlook is sun and clear skies, pack an umbrella and waterproof jacket in anticipation of the mercurial British summer weather.
You should also wear sensible shoes rather than flip-flops or sandals. There can be a lot of walking involved in the queuing process. If you do get a ticket you will end up covering quite some distance once you enter the Grounds.
What else should I take with me when queuing at Wimbledon?
Make sure you take plenty of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, as you could get sunburned when sitting around for protracted periods.
The night will be cooler so a sleeping bag is a must. You might also want to take a thermos flask.
If you will be waiting around for a long time, a cheap fold-up chair and a picnic blanket is a good idea.
Think about anything else that will help you get a good night’s sleep, but won’t be either too bulky to carry around or too valuable to throw away. For more information see our article on what you should take.
There are a few shops nearby if you need anything, but they can be expensive.
A mobile phone, charger and spare battery are essential
From 2021, the AELTC migrated to e-tickets. E-tickets are downloaded to a myWimbledon app which will need to be installed on an Android or IOS mobile phone.
You can also install the myWimbledon App on a PC device or tablet, but it must be capable of connecting to the internet to show your ticket on entering or reentering the grounds. Wimbledon will not accept an offline copy or screenshot of the ticket, and will not accept a printed paper copy.
What are the food options when queuing at Wimbledon?
The Queue Experience includes access to a service tent where you can buy snacks such as sandwiches, baguettes, pastries and drinks throughout the day.
You can take a picnic with you or order take-aways or food deliveries from local eateries.
You can also go and pick up food but remember, you must not leave your position in the queue for more than 30 minutes or you will lose your place.
Are there any toilets or facilities for people in the queue?
There are toilets and a few places to sit down along the queue route, but it can be quite crowded, so be prepared for a long wait.
Is there anywhere to wash or take a shower?
No, not on the Wimbledon Grounds. However, seasoned queuers will buy a day pass from one of the local gyms.