The annual extravaganza at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is not just a sporting occurrence. Wimbledon, or The Championships as it is called, brings with itself a variety of celebrations – from food to fashion. While many make their Pilgrim’s Progress to London, lawn tennis is not the sole attraction of the tournament played on rye grass. You get to appreciate more than just the rallies and volleys when you visit Wimbledon. Eventraveler finds out five must-dos while you are at the Mecca of tennis.
Strawberries and Cream:
Wimbledon’s love affair with strawberries-and-cream is stuff of folklore. BBC News once found out that the delicacy can be traced to Tudor roots, credited to one Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Centuries later, the two have become synonymous as Michael Bay and explosions. If a news report is to be believed, Great Britain might soon have an acute dairy shortage. Before that happens, make sure you claim a share of 28,000 kg of English strawberries and 7,000 litres of dairy cream that will be sold at this year’s Championships. The harvesting of fresh strawberries and scheduling of the event brings with itself the arrival of summer. With the hope of clear skies and fluffy clouds, dig into your tubs/bowls/cups (as you please) of strawberries and cream.
Don’t be surprised to find it being called Henman Hill, for this name-changing Wimbledon feature has also been called Rusedski Ridge. Officially known as the Aorangi Terrace, which takes its name from the highest mountain in New Zealand, this open area outside Court No 1 has a carnival-esque atmosphere throughout the length the tournament. It is named after whoever is the local men’s favorite of the year. No prizes for guessing if the tennis fan in you instantly recollects Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman. If you are without a ticket, worry not. Kind authorities have put up a huge screen for you to watch the match. Many spread out their picnic baskets, soak in the summer sun and enjoy the games on the giant screen. You can literally camp it out here.
Although the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum isn’t particularly far away, Wimbledon will probably give your more chances of rubbing shoulders with the famous lot – the only in blood and flesh. The Who’s Who and YouNameIts are ubiquitous. It has also come about to be a status symbol to be present at the Centre Court. Ignoring that, do not be surprised to see Sachin Tendulkar admiring a delicate volley in the stand opposite yours or Richard Branson discussing a point with legend Martina Navralitova. Hollywood stars – past and present, rock musicians, politicians and sport stars all shed their celebrity status and come to Wimbledon to enjoy the beauty of tennis. Do not forget to carry your autograph books! (You might also be able to take a selfie!)
More Sporting Treats:
London is one of those cities which take their sports very seriously. It remains the only city to have hosted three Summer Olympics – 1908, 1948 and 2012. Although we hope long hours of tennis do not bore you, you can actually use the Rest Day (the middle Sunday) to travel to the many stadiums in the city. London’s favorite sports are actually football, cricket and rugby. The home of British football is at the Wembley Stadium, which has hosted many iconic FA Cup finals. If you are so inclined, you can also visit the Lords cricket ground, which is probably the dream of every cricket nut. Much like Wimbledon, the Marylebone Cricket Club stands by its rules and long history. London is also home to some two of most popular football clubs – Chelsea and Arsenal. Other prominent clubs in the city are Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Crystal Palace. There’s also the Twickenham Stadium – the home of British rugby.
Playing by the rules takes a whole new meaning at Wimbledon. Not only are you are expected to maintain utter silence during a game, but also the players have to ensure they wear only whites. Roger Federer was once pulled up for wearing colored sneakers! The event remains rooted to its origins and even refers to its female players as ‘Miss’. Absence of sponsor advertising around the courts has further added to the aura of tradition at Wimbledon.
Experience events live with eventraveler.com.