Okay, so you got lucky and scored tickets to Wimbledon
in the public ballot draw. Or you've decided to brave the uncertain British weather to camp and queue for last minute tickets
to the world famous Grand Slam tennis tournament.
Before you head out for your day at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, here's a list of things you don't want to forget to bring - and a few you want to remember to leave at home.
Yes, I know, it's hard to believe after years of watching a rained-out Wimbledon, but the sun does shine on London during the tennis fortnight. Only center court is roofed over and the roof is only closed when it rains. We like this combination sunblock and insect repellant - from Sawyer. There may not be any mosquitos at the tennis club but this could be handy when you're camping out or enjoying a riverside pub later.
Look for a sun hat that will stand up to a drizzle. But leave the big number with the floppy brim at home - large-brimmed hats are a Wimbledon Don't. A canvas bucket hat, an outback hat or a baseball cap would work well. And Panama hats have been seen in the stands - just make sure the straw will hold up if it rains. The Tilley AIRFLO Vented Hat may not be the height of fashion but it offers +50UPF protection, and it's crush proof for packing and repels rain and mildew.
Do Bring a Bottle of Water
If the weather is good enough for tennis it could be a hot and dry day. Drinks - including alcoholic bevvies - are sold at Wimbledon, but the last thing you want to do in the middle of a tense match is bounce out of your seat to stand in a queue for thirst quenchers. Tuck a few small bottles of water into your bag.
A waterproof rain poncho will come in handy for sudden downpours - since only Center Court has a roof. I think a lightweight, foldable poncho, big enough to cover you and your stuff, is more useful and considerate to others than an umbrella in the crowded grounds and stands. Besides, if the weather clears, you can use it as a ground cloth while you stretch out to watch the big screem from the Aorangi Picnic Terrace - more commonly known as Henman Hill.
Seeing a match at Wimbledon is once in a lifetime event for most people so you'll definitely want some pictures to show the folks back home that you were there. You are allowed to take pictures for your personal use. Cameras, movie cameras and video recording are all permitted as long as they don't interfere with the competitors or anyone else and as long as your pictures/movies/video are for your private, non-commercial use. Go for something compact and quiet. The Nikon Coolpix S630 is a clever compact that packs 12 megapixels and a 37 -260mm Nikkor optical zoom lens and motion detection technology into camera small enough to pop into a pocket and available for less than $250.
Do Bring Munchies
Food and drink is available from several different catering facilities
. But it can be expensive.
You can bring your own small picnic or supply of snacks, as well as one bottle of wine per person or two cans of beer. But don't expect to consume alcoholic beverages, or anything more substantial than snack foods in the stands. For proper picnic meals, there's the picnic terrace, with lawn tables and chairs if you're lucky, room to spread a picnic on the grass if you're not.
eBags has some neat and discreet insulated totes that look like summer handbags and are just right for the job.
If you like to follow the action on more than one court, or follow another game or sport while you watch a match at Wimbledon, you may want to bring your radio along. That's fine but make sure to bring along some noise reducing headphones so you can listen without disturbing everyone else in the stands. And, while you're at it, do remember to turn off your mobile phone while in the stands. The Able Planet Sound Isolation Earphones are a neat, pocket sized set with good noise reduction and three different sized earplugs for a good, comfortable fit.
And Don't Bring...
- anything that might be taken for a weapon - big kitchen knives, large corkscrews, pepper spray.
- noisemakers, rattles and klaxons
- signs bigger than 2' square
- alcoholic beverages into the stands
- active mobile phones into the stands
- "ambush advertising" merchandise. That's free hats, ponchos, suncreams, umbrellas and other goodies you may have been given while waiting in the Wimbledon queue, heavily branded for the purpose of getting free exposure on television inside the grounds. Normally branded foods and clothing that you've purchased for yourself are allowed but if the items you have are considered to be part of an ambush campaign, they can be temporarily confiscated or you can be refused entry.