In Depth

Wimbledon: How to survive The Queue

Here's what to expect when two of Britain's great hobbies come together

For most of us, the Wimbledon fortnight often means Pimms, strawberries and the now barely-humourous refrain of "C'mon Tim".

But for an ever-growing number of hardy souls it also means a pilgrimage to SW19 and the inevitable queue.

This is not just any queue - to borrow from another great British instititution - this is The Queue.

"The signs, and their capitalisation, tell a story," says The Independent's Damian Burchardt.

"Two of Britain's great hobbies; tennis and queuing, united."

This year fans began queuing on Saturday for Centre Court tickets to watch Andy Murray open the tournament and on Monday "there were 1,000 more people waiting in Wimbledon Park than on the same day last year," says the Daily Mail.

Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis said: "So many people enjoy queuing. I don't think it will ever be unsustainable but it's a victim of its own success at the moment."

So with more people turning up this year than ever before, here are some top tips for how to survive and beat The Queue.

Social media is your friend

There is nothing worse than getting yourself down to Wimbledon at 6am in the morning on the District line only to find out 8,000 other people have got their first and you've wasted your day off by getting up at 4am for nothing.

In the past, reconnaissance missions by friends of friends who live somewhere near SW19 would have had to be done but these days a smartphone and Twitter is all you need to let you know whether it's likely you'll get in or whether it's best to leave it for another day.

Follow the unofficial accounts ViewFromTheQ and TheWimbledonQ as well as the official Wimbledon account for up to the minute Queue news.

Queue monitors reign supreme

Immaculately presented in full Wimbledon regalia and ready to expel anyone who even thinks about skipping ahead - these are the kind of people who you once despised at school but at The Queue they are your best chance for quick entry. 

Queue monitors or "Honorary stewards", to give them their official title, will hand out queuing cards that confirm your place in the queue and will tell you where to pitch your tent if you're staying overnight.

Look for the yellow flag when you first arrive, it's the end of the queue and will be the domain of the honorary stewards. But remember, the queue monitor's decision is final.

Later can be better

Although aficionados of The Queue - and there are plenty - will tell you overnight camping is the only way to guarantee Wimbledon access, it's still possible to join the queue after 5pm for late entry. That way you still get all the fun of the fair but you don't feel like death. To top it off Grounds Passes are slightly cheaper after 5pm and by this time the majority of morning visitors will either have left or be leaving so the queue should move swiftly.

There's even the chance to make it onto one of the show courts if there's a bit of rain and you don't mind going in on your own. Failing that if Murray's slogging it out in a five-setter with one of his adversaries, you can always pick a spot on Henman Hill/Murray Mound, and cheer him on from there.

Rules are rules

Wimbledon without rules would be like strawberries without cream, so make sure you heed attention to the very specific guidelines on The Queue etiquette. That means, no tents bigger than two people, no gazebos and absolutely no barbecues.

There's also bad news for fans of 2017's favourite chant as any spontaneous support for Jeremy Corbyn has also been clamped down upon with a new warning sign: "No political slogans" on display at the entrance to the grounds.

Speaking to the Telegraph a spokesperson from Wimbledon said: "We wouldn't want people to use this kind of event as a platform for their specific views or causes."

You have been warned and that goes for you too Cliff.

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