The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is considered the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments – the other three are the Australian Open, French Open and US Open – and the only one still played on the game’s original surface, grass, which gave the game of lawn tennis its name.
Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream, and Royal patronage. In 2009, Wimbledon’s Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to prevent rain delaying and interrupting Centre Court matches during the tournament.
The nineteen courts used for Wimbledon are composed purely of rye grass.
The main show courts, Centre Court and No. 1 Court, are normally used only for two weeks a year, during the Championships, but play can extend into a third week in exceptional circumstances. The remaining seventeen courts are regularly used for other events hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The show courts will, however, be pressed into action for the second time in three months in 2012 as Wimbledon will host the tennis events of the 2012 Olympic Games.
The Stadium Tour includes Centre Court, No.1 Court, the Picnic Terraces and Water Gardens, The Millennium Building and Press Interview Room.
Admission to the Museum is included in the tour prices. Visitors can enjoy the award-winning Museum either before or after their tour of the grounds.
Visits to the tour and Museum usually lasts around two and a half hours, including 90 minutes for the tour and an hour for the Museum.