The 9 golden rules of camping at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is almost upon us bringing with it two more of Britain’s great traditions, camping and queueing. Here’s everything you need to know about camping at the Wimbledon Queue, from what to bring to when to get there

1. Get there early

Especially if you want centre court tickets. Just how early depends on a number of factors, from who’s playing to what stage of the tournament is at, but a good rule of thumb is to get there before 5pm for show court tickets (Centre Court, No.1 and No.2). If you want to see Andy Murray or any other big crowd pleasers then get there as early as possible.

Arrive at the Queue early for your best chance of centre court tickets

Arrive at the Queue early for your best chance of Centre Court tickets

2. Learn to love The Queue

Make no mistake, this is the most organised queue you’ll ever come across. From the moment you walk into Wimbledon Park Golf Course, the home of The Queue, you’ll be directed by Stewards telling you where to pitch your tent, where to store your gear and waking you up. There’s no need to stress about line jumpers; your place in The Queue is guaranteed as soon as you have your Queue Card, and although there’s plenty of standing around, it really is a smooth an operation as it could possibly be.

3. Choose your tent wisely

You can check your tent into left luggage before entering the grounds (there’s a £5 charge), but that doesn’t mean you should pack your palatial family one. The Queue guidelines restrict anything bigger than a two-man tent, to fit in with their baggage size restrictions.

Tents of all shapes and sizes in the Wimbledon Queue

Tents of all shapes and sizes in the Wimbledon Queue

4. …and know how to pitch it

No one wants to be the person struggling to put their tent up with 1000 eager tennis fans looking on, so practice pitching your tent at home first. Trickier still is packing it away, especially if you have a pop-up tent; many a Wimbledon camper has been known to give up on packing them up and thrown them away instead. Oh, and if you do know your fly sheet from your ground sheet, be a good samaritan and help your fellow campers with theirs.

5. Bring company

The wait is a long one and you won’t make it into the grounds until about 10am the next day. A good friend will make the hours fly by, and also makes pitching your tent and packing it away again that bit easier.

Friends and beer = queueing success

Friends and beer = queueing success

6. … and food

There are a few food stands in the golf course, but if greasy burgers aren’t your thing then plan ahead with a hearty picnic. Same goes for the following day; the food at the grounds is horrifically overpriced with long queues for the best grub (as if you need to stand around in a line a second longer).

7. …and drink

Make no mistake, this will make the whole sitting in a park in London thing feel so much better (and help you sleep through the racket of trains, planes and automobiles). Remember to save some for Wimbledon itself — you can bring the equivalent of one bottle of wine or two cans of beer per person, far superior to paying £8 for a weak glass of Pimm’s.

Wimbledon Pimms: tasty but pricey

Wimbledon Pimm’s: tasty but pricey

7. Earplugs are a godsend

This isn’t tranquil countryside camping and even though campers retire to their tents at 10pm, there’s still just a thin bit of tent between you and seven million people. Expect to be woken by trains rattling by and cars roaring past, as well as the occasional aeroplane overhead.

8. Be prepared for an early start

The stewards start waking queuers up at 5.30am, after which you’ll have an hour or two to get yourself ready, pack up your tent and check in your luggage. At 7.30 stewards start dolling out wristsbands for the main courts, and you’ll start the long process of queueing for the turnstiles, which open at 9.30am.

Receiving wristbands after a long night of queueing

Receiving wristbands after a long night of queueing

9. Don’t forget cash

You can’t pay for your tickets by card, so be sure to bring ample amounts of cash (tickets start at £15). No one wants to be the muppet who queued all night just to get turned away because they only bought a Mastercard with them.

Court No 1, at long last

Court No 1, at long last

Find out everything you need to know in the official guide to queueing at Wimbledon