As the All England Lawn & Tennis Club prepares to host the world’s greatest racket competitors at The Championships Wimbledon (June 24 to July 7), the city of London has arranged plenty of activities to keep you at the top of your travel game between matches. Whether you’re perusing prized memorabilia at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum or honing your skills on the court at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf, there’s no shortage of ways to make your time at Wimbledon a grand slam.
What To Know
While the French Open in Paris heated up the Grand Slam season with American Serena Williams securing her second title there (11 years after she won her first) and Spain’s Rafael Nadal taking his eighth title at Roland Garros, Wimbledon will test the mettle of those champions and the rest of the top field hungry for a slam win, and if last year was any indication, it’s going to be a battle to remember. In 2012, Swissman Roger Federer reclaimed his No. 1 ranking by defeating the United Kingdom’s Andy Murray, while Serena matched her sister Venus’ five Wimbledon titles by taking down Agnieszka Radwańska of Poland.
This year on the men’s side, Federer and the two other members of the “big three” (Nadal and Serbian Novak Djokovic) stand out as favorites. But watch out for home-country powerhouse Murray again this year, who sat out of the French Open to rest from a back injury, but took home Olympic gold on these courts last year. Serena Williams is a contender on any surface, but there’s also Russian Maria Sharapova (who beat Williams in 2004 to win the tournament) and only has Williams standing in her way to another Wimbledon Championship this season. And don’t count out Australian Open Champion Belarusian Victoria Azarenka or the crafty Radwańska, who could both fight their ways into the final.
What To Do
It’s no surprise that tickets to Wimbledon’s show courts (Centre, No. 1 and No. 2) are tough to come by—but you can still get them. A limited number of tickets can be purchased on the day of play at the turnstiles, but you better get there early if you expect to get any. And several hundred Centre Court and No. 3 Court tickets are sold online the day before play via Ticketmaster, but they sell out almost as soon as they go on sale.
If you don’t make it in those main arenas, you can still experience the tournament with Grounds Admission tickets, which grant you access around the All England Club and to unreserved seating and standing at Courts 3 through 19, where plenty of high quality action will take place. Make sure you check out the Aorangi Terrace, also known as Henman Hill and Murray Mound, where you can join other fans to watch big matches on an even bigger screen. Just keep in mind that entry is subject to capacity, so on particularly crowded days, you might only be able to get in as other people exit.
Away from the serving and volleying of the pros, you’ll find The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which is open daily to ticket holders from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m during The Championships. You’ll find tennis memorabilia (including some artifacts that date back to 1555), clips of some of the most celebrated highlights from tournaments past, championship trophies and more. You can even get in some tennis action of your own at the Lawn Tennis Association’s British Tennis Experience, where you can play interactive games (including touch tennis and tennis on a Nintendo Wii) and see just how fast you can serve.
Where To Stay
Forbes Travel Guide just launched its inaugural Star Ratings in London, so we know there are plenty of luxe hotels where you can retreat from the Wimbledon crowds, like Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Dorchester. The stylish Art Deco hotel features chic furnishings, contemporary amenities and Italian marble bathrooms, and will host Wimbledon Afternoon Teas from June 22 until July 7 during the tournament. Guests can enjoy pastries inspired by the sport, as well as tea, champagne and, of course, strawberries and cream.
InterContinental London Park Lane used to be a private royal residence and today’s guests have views of Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. But book a room here and you might also run into another type of royalty—tennis royalty (the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel will host the Wimbledon Champions Ball on July 7). Whether you do see any kings or queens here, at least you’ll feel like one thanks to the hotel’s great Mayfair location, spacious rooms and luxurious bathrooms.
Want to stay and play? Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf has got you covered. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel offers guests access to Virgin Active, a sports and health club adjacent to the hotel, and after being inspired by the pros, Wimbledon fans will enjoy hitting a ball around themselves on the luxury club’s floodlit tennis courts.
Photos Courtesy of AELTC and Neil Tingle