How can I avoid the crowds at the Wimbledon Championships?
By Ed C
Updated 27th January 2022
Crowds are an unavoidable feature of Wimbledon, with over 40,000 tennis fans in attendance on each day of the Tournament. If you’re not a fan of crowds, what can you do to avoid them?
How bad do the crowds and queues get?
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) play hosts to over 1/2 million tennis fans a year over the Tournament fortnight.
To some extent, your experience of the crowds at Wimbledon will be affected by the type of ticket you have, when you arrive, when you move around the Grounds, and when you decide to leave the Tournament.
Regardless of the type of tickets you have, however, for many the hustle and bustle of the day is part of Wimbledon’s charm.
Arriving at the Tournament
If you are planning on braving the much-loved Wimbledon Queue, you will probably have to camp out to stand a real chance of seeing the action on the Show Courts. You will be camping with hundreds of other like-minded people, and for many, that’s part of the fun.
The Public Ballot
If you won your ticket in the Public Ballot or Overseas Ballot, you will need to access the Grounds via one of the public gates. Whatever time you arrive, you can expect there to be queues to get into the Grounds.
Many people arrive before the Grounds open at 10am, as play starts on the outside courts at 11am, 2-3 hours before play starts on the Show Courts. As there is a real chance of seeing some of the World's top seeds on the Outside Courts (particularly in the first week), the queues to enter the Grounds between 10am and 11am can be long.
Once you have made it through the gates, expect a stampede to the Outside Courts, with more queueing to get into the courts.
If you have a Wimbledon Debenture Ticket, you can book a parking space in Car Park 8 which is reserved for Debenture Ticket Holders only. There is also a dedicated Debenture drop-off zone for Debenture Ticket holders inside Car Park 8.
Debenture holders can then access the Grounds through any public entrance. However, Gate 4 (in Church Road), is reserved for Debenture holders, allowing you to bypass the crowds and queue.
Once in the Grounds, if you are hoping to catch the morning's play on the Outside Courts (accessible on a first time first served basis) you will need to join the queue.
Moving around the Tournament
The Wimbledon Grounds will be busy throughout the two weeks of the Tournament. Crowd density ebbs and flows throughout the day, however, with certain times of the day being particularly busy.
After the initial surge between 10am and 11am, there will be a second wave as people start to think about lunch after 12pm. Thereafter, the Grounds will remain busy as the lunch rush blends into the crowds moving to the Show Courts, where play starts at 1.30pm.
After 2pm there is usually a lull until the first set break, when there is a stampede for the toilets. Those in the know tend to wait until after the second set!
Leaving the Tournament
The Grounds close 45 minutes after the end of the last match.
In practice, matches can continue well into the evening. There is an 11pm deadline set by Merton Council. This deadline was famously tested in 2012, when Andy Murray beat Marcos Baghdatis in a gruelling 3 hour 13 minute marathon that ended at 11.02pm. In this example, the Grounds would have closed at 11.47pm.
Successfully avoiding the bottlenecks when leaving the Grounds will, to some extent, depend on when play concludes on your court and how many other matches are end at the same time.
If you have a Debenture Ticket, you can exit the Grounds via any public exit. You can also choose to leave through the Gate 4 Debenture holders exit which will not usually be busy.
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