Wimbledon, or the Championships, held annually at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, is the world’s oldest tennis tournament. It is one of the 4 Grand Slam Tournaments (the other being the US Open, French Open and Australian Open) in which the the world’s best tennis players enter. The All England Club is one of the most prestigious member’s only clubs in the UK. If you are a tennis fan or sports enthusiast, a trip to the club’s museum is absolutely something you should consider on your next trip to England.
Wimbledon is a suburb of London and lies about 7 miles from the city center. London’s vast public transit system makes the journey fast and easy. If you are planning to take the London Underground, take the District Line towards Wimbledon to the Southfields station. There is a stop called Wimbledon Park,but don’t let the name deceive you. Wimbledon Park is an not close to the club’s facilities.
Your other option is to take a train (South Western Railway) from London via Waterloo station to the Wimbledon Rail Station. Both trips will cost you around 3-5 Pounds depending on the time of day and type of pass you purchase. Total travel time is between 25 and 40 minutes.
Once you reach either station you have the option to catch the 493 bus towards Tooting to the club or walk. The bus from Southfields is about 5 minutes or a 15 minute walk and from Wimbledon Rail station the bus direction is towards Richmond. It is about a 30 minute walk or 20 minute bus ride. The bus will cost you 1.50 Pounds.
When I last took the journey, I took the London Underground to Earlsfield, paid for the bus and walked back. I didn’t realize exactly how close the club was to the Underground stop. If you take the same route, keep in min that Church road is mostly uphill there and downhill back. It’s a nice walk if it’s not raining.
Use the Transit for London or TFL page to help you plan your journey to figure out the best means for you to reach the destination. This resource will help you figure out journey times and fares.
Note that if you are driving to the Museum, there are less than 5 parking spots available on a first come, first serve basis. I would NOT recommend this option.
When you purchase tickets to the Wimbledon tennis museum you should be aware that in summer the venue is extremely popular! It is highly recommended that you buy tickets in advance so you are not disappointed if you go all the way to the club and find tickets have been completely sold out for the day. You can book advance tickets on the official Wimbledon website here.
There are two types of tickets: museum only tickets and tickets that include a 90 minute guided tour of the grounds. The museum alone is worth the trip, but I can not recommend the tour of the club’s grounds enough! More on this in the next section.
Tickets are sold as of 2019 as follows:
Adults (aged 17-59): 25 pounds (includes tour)/13 pounds (museum only)
Children (aged 3-16): 15 pounds (includes tour)/8 pounds (museum only)
Seniors/Concession (60 and above and students with IDs): 21 pounds (includes tour)/11 pounds (museum only)
**There is a family offer where children are free with each paying adult.
**Contact the All England Club for specific information, Disabled Tickets and group tickets.
If you are using the London Pass or another pass that includes admission, and you want to book your tickets in advance, you must contact the All England Club at least 48 hours in advance here.
Check In and Tours
When you arrive at the All England Club, you are asked to check in at Gate 4 off of Church Street. The museum and Shop are open everyday from 10 am until 5:30 pm. You can pay for your tickets at the museum shop if you didn’t book ahead of time. Once you have your tickets in hand, you can either start with the museum or wait for your tour (assuming your ticket includes it). You will be doing a lot of walking! Wear comfortable shoes!
There isn’t really a place for you to store any of your items so keep that in mind if you plan to shop before hand or are carrying coats or heavy bags. The tour of the grounds is typically offered twice per day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The tour begins outside the museum where you have a very knowledgeable guide.
You will see the world famous Centre Court, Number 1 Court, outlying courts and be taken into some of the back areas typically only accessible to members of the media during the tournament. You will see the player’s entrance and learn about how all of the grass courts are gown and maintained. If the weather is inclement, parts of the tour will be modified. The guides are all very knowledgeable and try to interject their stories and knowledge into the tour to cater the experience to the group. Each tour will be slightly different.
The tour is available in multiple languages, however, you will need to contact them in advance for availability. If you have a group of more than 15 you can also book a private tour. We saw a big family reunion group have their own private guide during our tour.
Cafe and the Museum
The Wingfield Cafe is one place that I would recommend having lunch or a snack at before you check out the museum. I personally was a little overwhelmed and wanted to sit and refresh at the cafe. The food is not the best food, but its decent. I enjoyed their tea service (of course) with a turkey panini. The cafe has a beautifully placed glass windows where you can sit and enjoy a view of the club.
You are allowed to bring in your own food and drink, but the cafe did have a decent amount of options to enjoy if you have any food allergies. They are famous for their strawberries and cream from the local area. If you want one thing that is cheap this is it as it will run you only 2.50.
After lunch, the museum awaits you. The museum in itself can easily take you over an hour to walk through if you enjoy all of the information and displays. If you have a young family, however, I don’t think the museum will keep their attention too long after the tour. You will find displays and information all about the history of tennis to present day.
There are fashion and jewelry displays and, my personal favorite, the player memorabilia. I loved seeing some of the outfits worn over the years from greats like Serena William, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In the glass cases at the end, you will find the detailed winners trophies awarded each year to the champions of the tournament. The originals always are kept in the display case and winners receive a copy of them,
The Wimbledon Gift Shop has a huge assortment of items to choose from in all price ranges. The most popular items are typically their towels, keychains and hats. I was very tempted to buy grass seeds used on to grow the court, but I didn’t want to take a chance on carrying it back with me on the plane with customs. The prices are on a lot of the souvenirs are inflated, but you are paying essentially for a highly sought after product. If you buy a lot of items, ensure you ask about duty free shopping so you can receive some of the tax back at the airport. It can add up.
The tournament itself is always fun to watch on television, but the experience of seeing the All England Club in person puts everything into a whole new perspective. If you are planning a visit, I would personally book a morning tour and start with the tour first before you visit the museum.
Be aware of when you are going to visit as the museum and tours are unavailable during the tournament (usually the last week in June until the first week in July). Always check on the Wimbledon website for the most up to date information. Hope this quick mini guide helps you get excited or make up your own mind about visiting Wimbledon! Happy travels!