Wimbledon is on this week at the All-England Club in London, and as U.S. star Madison Keys said on the eve of the tournament, there’s nothing like it. This certainly seems to be the case for the athletes and analysts, almost all of whom approach Wimbledon with a sense of reverence. But it’s also true for the spectators, from local Londoners who make an annual event out of it, to visitors from abroad checking the tournament off their bucket lists.
There is no one reason for why Wimbledon is so special to seemingly everybody, but it’s fair to say it transcends the sport it belongs to. Wimbledon may be the world’s most challenging, high-level tennis tournament, certainly, and it seems to bring out the best in the most talented players on Earth every single year. However, it is also a cultural event, an exhibition in class, a celebrity hot spot, and a vacation destination, all wrapped in one.
Ultimately, a visit to Wimbledon is one of the most special and unique things you can do in London. And with the 2019 tournament now underway, we’ve written up a few years on how to enjoy it in class.
1. Where Your Whites
Wimbledon is famous for having a dress code for its players, which essentially dictates that they all wear white, with only the slightest accents. It’s a bit rigid, sure, but it actually adds to the image and mystique of the event. For fans, the same rules don’t apply, and in fact the dress code has gotten less strict of late. However, there are some restrictions (jeans aren’t allowed, for instance), and many if not most spectators still dress up at least a little. Our recommendation is to wear some white, in the spirit of the tournament. You don’t have to be decked out from head to toe, but embracing this tournament will make you look and feel like pure class.
2. Have A Wimbledon Hat
This is not a horse race, which is to say extravagant hats are not necessarily the norm. Furthermore, tennis seating is quite compact, which means too large a hat will be inconvenient, and will bother the people sitting around you. However, you do see men and women alike in more subtle hats at this event, and to some extent it’s part of the image. If you’re in it for the culture of the whole thing, rather than just the tennis, find yourself a hat for the occasion and wear it proudly (unless it’s obstructing someone’s vision).
3. Watch On Henman Hill
Henman Hill is a famous, grassy slope within the Wimbledon grounds, where spectators often sit to watch matches on large screens while they’re not actually attending in the stands. There are a few tables, some sit on picnic blankets, and some simply sit on the ground – but there’s something communal and festive about the experience any way you cut it. Being on Henman Hill for a big match, in particular, when everyone is glued to the screen hanging on every point, can really capture the spirit of Wimbledon. Plus, it’s fun to mingle with all the other people!
4. Place A Bet On The Action
Betting isn’t essential at Wimbledon if it’s not something that interests you generally. However, there’s something that feels somewhat vintage about having a bit of money riding on the action (even though you won’t be holding a betting slip up in the air as if you’re at an old-timey horse race). What’s more, you can place a bet for free on any of a number of UK bookmaking sites, which means at least in a fairly casual way you can enjoy this aspect of the event without having to risk much (if any) money. Wimbledon has a fairly busy betting market, so you won’t be alone, and the risk – even if it’s minimal – can add some excitement to the proceedings.
5. Indulge In Strawberries & Cream
We’ve saved the best for last, aside from the matches themselves, of course: Have some strawberries and cream! These tasty dishes have become a firm Wimbledon tradition, and make for excellent breaks between matches. Have a glass of champagne to top it off, and you’ll really be doing Wimbledon right!