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Essential guide to camping at Wimbledon for the tennis

It won’t be long before thousands of tennis fans descend on Wimbledon for the famous tennis championships. British number one Andy Murray will be hoping to defend his title - but he'll face tough competition from the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokavic and Roger Federer when the competition gets underway on June 23.

Meanwhile Heather Watson will be trying to make her mark in the ladies competition against stars like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Ever fancied catching the tennis superstars in the flesh? Well it's easier than you might think and the good news is you can combine it with a camping trip!

Here's our guide to doing Wimbledon with a tent.

Getting there
Depending on where you live, it may actually be easier to travel to Wimbledon by train – check out www.transportdirect.info/ for up-to-date travel news and to check out your best travelling options. Travelling by train is easy, as once you arrive in London you can just head for the Underground station and travel to Southfields tube station – plan your route at www.tubeplanner.com. Once you arrive at Southfields station it is about a ten minute walk up the road to Wimbledon Park. Camping in Wimbledon Park is free of charge, but the same cannot be said for parking your vehicle.

Daily charges:
• Cars £25
• Minibuses £30
• Motorbikes £8
The car park is open from 6am - 10pm daily.

What to expect when you arrive
When you arrive at Wimbledon Park you will be issued with a queuing card and a booklet about the queuing system, before being told where to pitch your tent. Wimbledon Park is extremely well organised during the tournament, and stewards patrol the park 24 hours a day. There are no shower facilities in the park, but a number of portable wash rooms are set up for the event. There are also several snack vans and a couple of newspaper stands. Plenty of litter bins are available too, which are emptied daily.

Wimbledon Park is in a great location, and facilities include a large boating lake, tennis courts, crazy golf, a children’s play area, a café, and woodland. You can also walk into Wimbledon town centre, which takes about 25 minutes, or you can go into Southfields.

A great place to make new friends  
Wimbledon Park is also a great place to make new friends, and it attracts people of all ages from all around the globe – many of whom return year after year. People are encouraged to socialise, but no wild parties or loud music are permitted in the park. 

An early start
The day starts at around 5.30am when the stewards begin waking everyone up. If you are hoping to see a match that day, then you will have to pack up your tent and belongings. If you want to secure Centre Court tickets, however, you will need to stay a second night and re-position your tent once you are told to do so – new queuing cards will also be issued. Some people actually stay for several nights to enable them to see a selection of matches on different courts.

Storing your belongings
You are only allowed to take one bag per person into Wimbledon, so all other luggage has to be stored in the indoor luggage area in Wimbledon Park. Once you have packed up all your belongings on the day you are going into Wimbledon, you will have to take it to the luggage area where you will be issued with a ticket. Costs are £5 for tents, and £1 for each additional item; although if you tie things together they will actually be classed as one item (keep that one to yourself though!). The luggage area is open all day and only closes when Wimbledon finishes for the evening.

Getting your Wimbledon tickets
Queuing for tickets starts at around 6.30am, and each person has to queue up in the order of their queuing card. Before entering Wimbledon, you will be issued with your chosen court tickets and corresponding wrist bands. The first 500 people in the queue will be guaranteed to get Centre Court tickets at £56 each.

You will then have to go through an airport-like security system before reaching the Wimbledon turnstiles, where you can select your desired seats. You will easily be able to get good seats with no viewing restrictions.

Inside Wimbledon
Once you have your tickets, you are then free to wander round Wimbledon. When the matches start on your allocated court, you are free to come and go as you please - just make sure you don’t lose your tickets! There are plenty of places to purchase food and drink, and there is a Wimbledon shop.

You can also walk up to Henman Hill and have a wander round the practice courts. The practice courts open around 10.30am, and if you can get near enough to the front of the crowd you may even be able to get a few autographs. Large novelty tennis balls are available to buy in the Wimbledon shop, and these tend to be very popular with young autograph hunters.   

When it’s time to go home
However long you spend at Wimbledon, you are sure to leave with plenty of memories and photographs from the trip. It is safe to say that a trip to Wimbledon is sure to rank high on your list of camping experiences!     

Babies and children
Baby changing facilities are available in Wimbledon. No tickets are required for children under five years of age. Children under five years old are not allowed into the show courts (Centre, court 1, 2, 3, 12 &18). 
Pop-up tents are recommended.
Travel light
Only take essential items.
Take plenty of cash
Cash is required for everything, except the Wimbledon shop. Cash points are available, but they do get busy. 
Food and drink
Consider taking your own refreshments into Wimbledon, food and drink is expensive
• Sandwiches £5
• Meals in the food court £9
• Tea, coffee, and all soft drinks £3
You should never go camping without them!
Comfortable footwear
Sensible footwear is essential, as you will be doing plenty of standing around.
Folding chairs
These are perfect for sitting outside your tent.

For more information see the A-Z Visitors guide on the official Wimbledon Championships website

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14/06/2013 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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