Heading to London, we couldn't have been more excited about visiting the All England Club in Wimbledon. Travelling from Brighton to Wimbledon Station, we were quick to see the signs leading to the venue itself, although this turned out to be about a 20-minute walk. Luckily the weather was on our side until we reached our destination!
Meeting at Gate 4, Eric, our wonderful tour guide, welcomed us to Wimbledon and gave us a brief introduction while we warmed up in the Wingfield Cafe. The Fred Perry Statue was the first stop, which shortly led onto the score boards of previous Wimbledon players; the glowing names of Roger Federer and Garbiñe Muguruza still shining bright from their 2017 victory.
We then headed out on a tour of the grounds, perusing pictures and displays of the history behind the winners and competitors of previous tournaments. There was plenty to discover about the first men’s match in 1877 and women’s in 1884 – how far we’ve come! In the Member’s Enclosure we wandered through the eerily vacant rooms with tokens of tournaments gone by, getting a sense of the excitable atmosphere that fills the air during The Championships.
We were extremely impressed with the size of Centre Court; which Eric is showing us below. To imagine that royalty sit and watch the tournaments throughout the summer is an exciting thought!
Continuing the tour, we made our way to the broadcasting and news rooms, full of computers for news organisations to work from throughout the tournaments. There were also actual broadcasting rooms, where the BBC will film from directly onto live television! Here we got a quick picture to keep this great memory, doing our best Sue Barker impression.
Once we had finished the Wimbledon Tour, we decided to head back to the Wingfield Café. Here we enjoyed freshly made sandwiches, although there were plenty more options to choose from. Lunch is not part of the tour package, but the option is there and it’s a wonderful café to enjoy delicious food!
Our final stop was the official museum, where we received an audio tour guide to show us around the exhibits. Here we could listen to recordings of any section of the museum, which is great if you are particularly interested in specific stages of the tournament’s history.
We also highly recommend taking part in their recently added virtual reality experience. You’ll witness the winning matches of players such as Andy Murray and meet well-known characters, such a Rufus the Hawk, known for scaring birds away from the courts. It’s an extremely interactive addition to the museum, which is sure to gather lots of interest.
The museum finishes at the world-famous Wimbledon trophy room, where you can appreciate the intricate detail and beauty of the cups and plates. This brought us to the end of our Wimbledon Tour, with a walk back to the station.
Experience Days would like to thank Eric for his time and showing us ‘behind the scenes’ of an incredible yearly event. We will certainly be trying to get tickets for the upcoming summer event!