Greyhound Dog Racing
If you want to experience something fun and I think traditionally a London experience I would recommend a trip to the Wimbledon Dogs.
The admission is GBP5 which includes a racecard. There are several races every 15 minutes I tended to only bet on every second race. The bet minimum is GBP1 so your option is
WIN GBP1, PLACE (first or second) GBP2 REVERSE FORECAST (your first & second in any order) GBP2 or FORECAST.
The rabbit goes first and the dogs chase like mad not that they ever catch the rabbit. The dogs are paraded before the race so you can make your selection also on the racecard it provides details or their previous races and possible predictions. I say ignore all this and go with the name that tweaks your fancy.
This makes a great day out for a group doors open at 6.30 with the first race starting at 7.30 and ends around 10.30pm Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays.
There is a charity set up to find retired greyhounds suitable homes they make lovely pets.
Drinks are roughly GBP3 and there is fast food available but be warned there are usually long queues. Free parking is available.
We took a taxi from Wimbledon station which cost about GBP8 when you exit the stadium make sure you take a black cab as the normal taxis will charge more suprisingly.
Getting tickets - Public Ballot Stage 3
If you have been successful you will hear from the Club from February, asking you for immediate payment. You will need to send a personal cheque drawn on a U.K bank for the full amount in pounds sterling.
If you have not heard by March please assume that your application has not been successful in the main ballot.
However, declined and returned tickets are re-balloted up to the day of play, so you may be offered tickets at a later stage.
The tickets themselves, together with a booklet about the Championship which gives directions, maps, details about parking, public transport, opening times, security, rainfall policy, plus lots of other useful information, are usually sent out in about mid-late May, quite close to the tournament.
Getting tickets - Public Ballot Stages 1 and 2
The A.E.L.T.C (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club) run a public ballot which allocates a percentage of tickets for the Show Courts (Centre, Courts 1 and 2) for each day of the tournament. First, you need to send an S.A.E to:
A.E.L.T.C. PO Box 98, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5AE. England.
You don’t need to include a letter.
You will receive a straightforward form which you complete and return to the same address BEFORE 15 December. Allow a margin for Christmas post – I sent it too close to the date once and it was returned.
The club will send you information which explain how the ballot works, prices, dates and what you do, and do not do. This is an outline of the details.
Tournament dates: 2008 - Monday 23 June - Sunday 6 July inclusive.
The categories of tickets available are explained, for example: Centre court:
- one pair of tickets
- two single tickets (ie the seats will not be adjacent)
- one single ticket
Successful applicants will be offered one category for one day of the event. Single or two single tickets are balloted once all the pairs have been offered.
Prices vary according to the Court and the day of the tournament. Court 2 tickets on the first Monday will be approx £27 per head, Court 1 tickets on the second Wednesday (quarter final day) will be approx £65 per head and a pair of mens’ finals match tickets on Centre will cost you in the region of £87 per head.
Wheelchair ballot – There are wheelchair spaces on Centre and No 1 Courts and there is a separate form for this ballot.
Once you have returned the form you wait – fingers crossed ! The ballot is always very over-subscribed, but you might be lucky.
British Lawn Tennis
The Wimbledon Tennis Championships is played at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, one of the most prestigious tennis clubs in the whole world.
People come from all over the world to see a game.
I have been fortunate enough to see the men's semi finals and the women's finals in 2004, and the mens and ladies semi finals in 2005. I have also seen a couple quarter final matches. In 2006 I saw Agassi play his last game ever at Wimbledon prior to his retirement, against Nadal. That was an emotional game! We saw 3 other matches too in 2006.
I have seen players and have to say Federer is my favourite - not only because heis half-South African (his mum), but because he is a fabulous player and is an absolute gentleman in manner and play too. Go Federer!
The atmosphere is electric, the applause thunderous and the entertainment thrilling.
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Public Ballot - Do's and Don'ts.
This is detailed on the form, so I will just provide an outline.
You need to apply for tickets from your permanent residential address, not a business or “Care of” address. Only ONE application for tickets per address / household can be accepted.
Tickets from the public ballot are NOT transferable – they are intended for the sole use of the original applicant and, if applicable, their guest. So please don’t buy a ticket as a gift for someone.
Do not advertise tickets for sale on the internet, newspapers etc.
The A.E.L.T.C. are “very hot” on these points as you will see from the warning on the form.
If you are lucky and do get tickets, I can assure you that it is worth it. It really is an excellent event – held in lovely surroundings – and makes a great day out.
The big screen behind Court 1
Wimbledon is not just about the high pressure matches – a mixed doubles match on a long sunny summer evening is every bit as enjoyable.
Wimbledon is a lovely place to visit - You can buy a ground pass and watch the tennis on the big screen behind Court No 1, stroll around the grounds, buy a pizza, or a pimms or whatever, and have a laugh with friends. There is a choice of eateries, ranging from the really smart to the very casual and if you like flowers, they are everywhere – all in the Wimbledon colours of purple, green and white.
The tournament is very well run, by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), who combine the buzz of a world class event and yet retain the atmosphere of a club – with not an advertising hoarding in sight.
Andrew has written some Wimbledon pages and there is an extensive website – details given below.
The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
If you have not been to Wimbledon since the new museum opened in March 2006 then you should experience the much improved facility along with a grounds tour. The museum is an ace for tennis players and fantastic for fans of the game, with interesting exhibits about the history of lawn tennis and Wimbledon's championship tournament. There are audio guides in eight languages, including Mandarin Chinese!
Upon entering the museum you are introduced to the history of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which actually began as the Croquet Club. The evolution of rackets, clothing, and traditions from the Victorian era to last year's championship is all on interactive displays. Young scientists will appreciate the cinema showing a film that uses special effects to demonstrate detailed aspects of tennis physics. In a separate exhibit, one can also see how the "ghost" of John McEnroe is created while listening to him talk about his Wimbledon experiences. (See photo #4) Finally, you'll have a chance to get up close to the championship trophies and imagine yourself lifting them over your head. (See photo #5)
- Family Travel
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- Museum Visits
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis museum
I have not actually visited the grounds or the museum before but it is on my list to do and if you are in Wimbledon something you should do as well.
The new musuem opened up recently and is very interactive - you get a guided ghosted tour of the Gentleman's dressing rooms in the 1980's by John McEnroe, also you can test your tennis grip. The musuem houses the Mens & Ladies Trophies as they are not allowed to take them home when they win, instead winners names are engraved and the players take home a replica of the trophy.
The mueum is open daily except during the championships
Adults GBP7.50 or 14.50 incl tour
Children GBP 6.25 or 11.00 incl tour
- Museum Visits
Beckham from the half way line
Not a must see, more a should have seen!
David Beckham while playing for Man United on 17th August 1996 against Wimbledon, took the ball from inside his own half and let fly (seeing the goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line).
You know what happened next!
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.
Extract from the Museum's website:
"Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum offers a glimpse of how the original medieval real tennis, has now become a multi-million dollar professional sport, played all over the world.
Open all year round, the Museum includes memorabilia from many famous players and includes a state of the art Audio/Visual Theatre showing highlights of great players in action, and views of Centre Court."
- Budget Travel
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Ball Kids, and Refreshments
The tournament is run so well, everything is ready, and the players get to play their best, just remember to keep quiet :()