Tennis: the cheapest ways to get Wimbledon tickets
Wimbledon is just a matter of weeks away. We look at the cheapest ways to get to see the elite of tennis up close.
SW19 becomes one of the most desirable postcodes on the planet for two weeks every summer when it plays host to the Wimbledon Championships. But if you're not lucky enough to get an invitation to the Royal Box here's how you can still see those big matches on a budget.
Centre Court seats
Tickets are available on the day for Centre Court and No.1 and No.2 courts. But with the majority of tickets allocated in the public ballot, numbers are limited. For Centre Court 500 tickets are available each day at the turnstiles, except for the final four days which are all pre-sold.
However, there are 500 tickets available each day for both No.1 Court and No.2 Court each day (or for as many days as there's a full programme of matches for the latter).
For the cheapest Centre Court tickets, go along on the first two days when you'll pay £45 a time with prices up to £74 by the end of the first week. Tickets are sold at the turnstiles but it's one big queue for both ground passes and seats so if you want to stand a chance of getting tickets on the first day join the queue as it opens.
And make sure you pop to the cash machine before you joining the queue, (you can find banks near Southfields tube station, which is where you get off for Wimbledon) as ticket payment is strictly cash only.
Several hundred tickets are sold off on the day for play on Centre Court and No.3 court through the Ticketmaster website. Sign up for the Wimbledon email newsletter for the latest information, before tickets go on sale at 9am each day. Prices start from £37 for No.3 and £45 for Centre Court.
Get a ground ticket
This is brilliant value for money as it gets you through the gates where you then can take your pick of matches on the outside courts with standing room and unreserved seating across courts 3 – 19.
Ground tickets are more expensive during the first week, at £20, but this is when you've more chance of seeing the big name players on the outside courts - with so many matches to get through, not everyone can play on the main show courts.
There's several thousand on sale every day, and if you go after 5pm prices are cheaper still at £14 during the first week.
The cheapest ticket into Wimbledon
For the ultimate cheapest ticket into the Wimbledon grounds, turn up on the last Sunday after 5pm when you can get into the grounds for just £5.
While you may only be in time to catch the end of the mens' final on the big TV screen at Aorangi Terrace (first known as Henman Hill and more recently Murray Mount), there should still be match finals on the outside courts, depending on the schedule, which may include the veterans' finals and boys' and girls' doubles finals.
Snap up early returns
And with a ground ticket you're in with a chance of getting a Centre Court seat for £10 if you head for the ticket resale kiosk.
Any tickets handed in are sold off from 3pm onwards and profits donated to charity. If you're thinking it's unlikely true tennis fans would give up their seats so early on in the day, remember there's lots of people go to Wimbledon on corporate trips.
I've seen people leave mid afternoon, well before the day's play is done.
Don't buy from touts
This should go without saying. However much you want a ticket, don't do it.
You'll get ripped off as you'll pay over the odds and they may not be genuine or accepted on the turnstiles.
Be first in the queue next year
If you don't make it this year, be first in the queue for next year. Most of the showcourt tickets are allocated via the public ballot and anyone can apply by writing to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, PO Box 98, London SW19 5AE
Ask for a ballot application form and enclose a stamped addressed envelope. Forms must be returned by the end of December and you'll get to hear around February time if you're successful.
Join a tennis club
You can double your chances of getting tickets with a second ballot if you join the Lawn Tennis Association as some Wimbledon tickets are allocated for tennis club members.
However membership costs £25 a year, so if you don't play for a club and are only joining on the off chance of securing tickets this could prove an expensive option.
Apply for a job at Wimbledon
While it may mean serving the strawberries, rather than eating them, you will at least get inside the grounds for free.
FMC is the official caterer for the Championships and employs around 1,800 people to cover Wimbledon. For more check out the FMC website.