With the Wimbledon happening, FACES’ travel focus moves to this popular destination in the sports calendar
‘There is a certain beauty and majesty to Wimbledon. The elegance, the way the grass looks on TV…” stated John McEnroe, and we could not agree more. After an up close and personal look at the prestigious tennis destination, we can easily recommend it as a neat tourist destination, even for the non-sporty traveler.
Here are our reasons:
For one, you can dabble in the game, even if you are a novice. At the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) Play Tennis Zone near Court 12, you could take part in activities including interactive tennis games and competitions to win prizes, or simply chat to friendly and knowledgeable LTA representatives about how to get more involved in tennis.
And, for another, you could avail an opportunity to meet your favourite players in person at the Fanzone, located just outside Aorangi Pavilion in the north of the Grounds. Keep a watch on their Twitter page @Wimbledon to check out which tennis celebrity is going to make an appearance. According to the roster, every day, one or two players visit the booth to meet fans and sign autographs.
With practice sessions on in the north of the Grounds, you could view players practicing on the Aorangi Park courts. The area is awash with players hitting balls, stretching or just hanging out. This hidden gem allows you to get up close to players in a more relaxed setting.
But if eating and drinking is on your agenda, be ready for a culinary spree. There are many restaurants, cafés and on-the-go eateries throughout the Grounds to suit all tastes and needs. There is ‘Tea Lawn’ for a cup of afternoon tea, Wingfield Restaurant for a leisurely lunch and/or afternoon tea, Food Court for a selection of refreshments, Court 18 for light refreshments, Conservatory Kitchen for a wide range of contemporary and traditional hot English-inspired dishes, Canyon Coffee & Ice Cream for cold and hot drinks, Food Village for a range of culinary delights, The Bakery for baked goods, Court Buffet for grab-and-go food, Play Tennis for light refreshments, Cafe Pergola to enjoy a range of salads and handmade sandwiches and Wimbledon Picnics for a perfect picnic at the grounds.
What to see at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
The Museum: Experience the history and traditions of ‘the Fortnight’ in the Museum. Get up close to the Championships Trophies, feel the fabrics of tennis fashions from the Victorian period, test your skills on the Batak wall and learn about how The Championships has developed since 1877. With clothing and equipment donated by tennis’ top stars, you’re certain to see something from your favourite player.
Exhibitions: The Museum has run several special exhibitions over the years, including one dedicated to tennis at the Olympic Games, another charting the evolution of the racket from the 1870s to present day, and a showcase of the spectacular tennis posters in the Museum’s collection.
Sculptures: There are a number of bespoke sculptures around the Grounds, the latest addition of which is the Alchemilla Sculpture at the top of St Mary’s Walk near Ticket Resale. This sculpture was created by internationally renowned sculptor William Pye, and was unveiled by HRH The Duke of Kent at The Championships 2016. There is also a Fred Perry sculpture by David Wynne at the north-east corner of Centre Court, and at the front of the Clubhouse (south concourse) there are head and shoulder sculptures by Ian Rank-Broadley of the five British Ladies’ Singles Champions: Kitty Godfree, Dorothy Round, Angela Mortimer, Ann Jones and Virginia Wade.
The Tour: Wimbledon’s behind-the-scenes tours of the Grounds are the perfect way to see this world-famous site. Expertly led by a friendly Blue Badge Guide, you will learn about how Wimbledon’s distinctive grass is cared for and how the site is improved and developed each year. You will see facilities provided for the press, broadcasters and of course, the world’s best tennis players.
You could even join the Virtual Reality experience, a 360˚ show experienced using the latest Virtual Reality technology. The experience will take you on a fun and informative journey through the history of The Championships at Wimbledon, shrink you down to the size of an ant to learn more about the science behind the famous grass, sit you in the umpire’s chair to watch some magic moments from your favourite players unfold and be voiced by former Wimbledon semi-finalist and British No.1 Tim Henman.
However, if you are visiting Wimbledon to watch the championship, here are a few dos and don’ts to follow when you are on the court – switch off your mobile phones, tablets and other communication devices in the stands and around the courts, and keep any camera flashes suppressed; enter or leave a stand only at a change of ends and never during a tie-break; do not make a noise during a rally; and never applaud a net cord or double fault.