The Wimbledon experience money CAN'T buy - 12 minutes read

The Wimbledon experience money CAN'T buy

It's the day out at Wimbledon that money can't buy and is only available to those with fame or prestige.

While customers battle for tickets for big matches by sleeping in tents in the queue, famous faces are invited onto the site into luxury suites or even the hallowed Royal Box.

Instead of shelling out hundreds of pounds at the gate or spending up to £13,000 for resale tickets online, they are welcomed in for free with open arms. 

On arrival they are welcomed out of their cars by attendants before being whisked up to suites where they enjoy tucking into expensive delicacies during four-course meals, supping champagne and then relaxing in front of the best view on the court. 

And the famous faces - who are all immaculately dressed for their photo opportunities - can be seen leaving every day carrying goody bags with freebies worth hundreds of pounds. 

Here, we reveal the start-to-finish lavish day out lucky guests enjoy when they're invited by one of the championship's sponsors - including Robinson's, Polo Ralph Lauren, Evian, Pimm's and Hertz. 

Through multi-year deals with these companies and others - such as American Express, Chinese camera firm Oppo, ball provider Slazenger and official beer supplier Stella Artois - the tournament rakes in around £40million in sponsorship each year. 

Every year some of the biggest names in film, sport and music are invited into the grounds whether by the All England Club itself or the sponsors, and this year is no different - with the likes of Sienna Miller, Felicity Jones, Ant McPartlin, Eleanor Tomlinson and Phoebe Waller-Bridge all spotted in exclusive areas.

Sponsors at the All England Club have different lounges, each offering a unique experience for their A-list guests - with varying rules and dress codes such as Ralph Lauren guests wearing clothes from its label. 

MailOnline reveals below some of the luxury experiences celebrities are treated to on their plush days out at SW19.

The most exclusive area remains the Royal Box - which has once again been full to the brim with film stars, musicians and sporting heroes.

But entry to the 74-seat enclosure is only available via invitation from Philip Brook, the chairman of the All England Club that hosts the championships.

Who gets said invite is decided by Mr Brook and the Committee of Management of the Championships, although all members of the Royal Family have an open invitation.

The club is keen to be seen as 'current' which is why celebrities range from legends such as Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Cliff Richard to contemporary stars including McMafia actor James Norton and The Crown's Claire Foy.

Traditionally sporting stars are invited on the middle Saturday of the tournament, with Sir Mo Farrah, England cricketer Stuart Broad and the England Lionesses World Cup squad all welcomed this year.

Those lucky enough to be on the list treated to a day of luxury including lunch with the chairman, the chance to socialise with players and special gifts including a sterling silver lapel pin.

Those in the Royal Box also walk away with a goody bag, made of leather and containing sun cream, Evian face spray, wipes, hand cream and a tin of mints. 

But the full perks of the day are kept secret, with attendees rarely discussing the full extent of what they enjoyed. 

Festivities begin at 12noon when Mr Brook and his wife host the day's guests for a four-course lunch at the Wimbledon clubhouse - and lobster is on the menu.

Pictures on social media from this year's Wimbledon reveal guests have enjoyed lavish food spreads, including rich desserts topped with tennis and Wimbledon-themed icing. 

Guests then take pride of place in the oak-lined Royal Box itself which offers a stunning view of the action, with sweets passed around discreetly in a small bucket for those in need of a snack while a TV set is hidden in the front row so they can watch instant replays.

Afternoon tea is then served at 3.30pm featuring traditional cucumber sandwiches, scones and cakes before guests return to the action.

Once play is over, usually around 7pm, its back to the clubhouse again for a drinks reception to discuss the day's play over champagne and wine.   

There is a dress code however - men must wear jackets and ties and cannot wear jeans, while women are not allowed to wear skirts or dresses above the knee.

All members of the Royal Family receive an automatic invite to the box, with the tennis-loving Duchess of Cambridge, now patron of the club, and the Duchess of Sussex both spotted this week alone.

The Queen and Prince Charles are far less frequent visitors, but Royal connections allow Kate's extended family access, with her parents Michael and Carole and siblings Pippa and James spotted virtually every year.

Others to receive automatic invitations include high-ranking members of government and leading churchmen, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. Very senior members of the Army, RAF and the Royal Navy are also invited.

Ambassadors and diplomats are welcome, with names forwarded by the Marshal of The Diplomatic Corps, and foreign royal families are invited if a player from their country reaches the finals.

National newspaper editors, senior figures from the BBC and famous faces from the world of sport are also on the guest list.

After receiving responses from these invitees, the remaining invitations are sent out to chief executives, high ranking City officials and celebrities.  

Some have described the experience as the best day of their lives.

Ken Solomon, chief executive of American television network Tennis Channel, told the New York Times the day out was similar to meeting the US President.

He said: 'When you meet someone at the White House, it doesn't matter who they are — you know they are having one of the greatest days of their life as well.

'No matter who you are, how important, you can't buy your way into that space, and there's only a handful of people who are there, and it's very special. You're going to remember it the rest of your life, and you know they are, too.'

A glamorous day in the Evian suite starts on arrival mid-morning, when rich and famous guests are whisked from their cars by flunkeys already willing to wait on them hand-and-foot who usher them to the luxury suite.

At 12 noon the lucky invitees are shown through to the dining room where lunch is served. The menu, prepared by top-class team of chefs and delivered by a small army of waiting staff, includes:

After the guests are fed – and suitably watered with lashings of Lanson champagne – the tennis gets underway at 1pmand the attendees are shown to their A-grade padded seats offering them an unrivaled view of the action on Centre and Number One courts.

Following a breathless couple of hours of sport, anyone feeling the need to be refuelled at 3.30pm can enjoy afternoon tea back in the suite. As well as a top-up of Pimm’s and champagne, sweets and snacks are distributed.

By 6pm, the entertaining is done for the day, but not the entertainment. The suite closes, however guests are encouraged to stay for the tennis, which can continue as late as 10pm. Even then, the treats are not over as guests are shown back to their vehicles loaded up with freebies in a money-can’t-buy goody bag.

This year’s Evian ones include a bottle of limited edition Evian, a small bottle of Lanson champagne, a branded tennis ball, Evian brummi face spray and a box of strawberries and cream flavoured Lindt chocolates.

The firm - owned by Danone - has been sponsoring Wimbledon since 2008 and its current deal expires in 2022. It has also teamed up with the tournament on a recycling scheme to eliminate plastic waste by using 100% recycled plastic bottles.

It’s little wonder guests at the Live Young Evian suite this year, who received invitations sent in packages containing rose petals and a personalised reusable bottle, have included the likes of actress Rebel Wilson, singer/presenter couple Marvin and Rochelle Humes, Yesterday star Himesh Patel and model Sabrina Elba, wife of actor Idris.

The experience provided by Polo Ralph Lauren is similar to Evian's - but with it's own unique twists.

Perhaps the biggest is that celebrities all turn up dressed in stylish Ralph Lauren outfits - which appears to be a condition of entry - and then pose for photos on the terrace of the suite.

Guests are welcome at around 11am by helpers wearing Ralph Lauren polo shirts who gladly carry bags and attend to their distinguished guests' needs.

Then it's time for lunch at 12noon, with a similar offering of fine dining, although the firm did not respond when asked for details. 

If they want a break from their plush seats on Centre Court they can head back to the suite for afternoon tea, again from 3.30pm.

Once closing time comes at 6pm, they are sent off with an official Wimbledon sports bag worth £120, but it likely contains goodies worth even more. 

Stars spotted at the Polo Ralph Lauren suite this year include Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams and her boyfriend Reuben Selby, McMafia star James Norton, Bafta-winning actor Will Poulter, comedienne Rebel Wilson and Poldark star Eleanor Tomlinson.

Other sponsor suites are run by Robinson's - who have been associated with Wimbledon for 84 years - and Pimm's.

Robinson's guests this year included Ant McPartlin and his girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett, singer and presenter Myleene Klass and Inbetweeners and I'm A Celebrity star Emily Atack.

Meanwhile visitors to the Pimm's No.1 suite have been actor Stephen Campbell Moore, Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke, presenter Dermot O'Leary and former Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown.  

Another slightly less formal but equally as difficult to get into area is the members' enclosure, reserved for the 565 people who belong to the club.

Obtaining membership is incredibly difficult, with more than 1,000 people on a waiting list - so even celebrities struggle to get in.

Membership is split into 375 full members, 70 honorary members and 120 temporary members.

Full members have to be proposed by another member and then backed by a further three before being signed off by the club committee. They can relinquish membership, but most remain part of the club until death, meaning few openings come up each year.

Membership also comes with its perks, including a reserved seat on Centre Court and access to the clubhouse where they can rub shoulders with the players and enjoy the finest cuisine.

They also enjoy use of the club's facilities outside of the tennis championships, meaning they are some of the few who get to experience playing a match on the lush grass courts.

Honorary membership is reserved for former players and Royalty, with the patron the Duchess of Cambridge an honorary member alongside eight-time champion Roger Federer.

Wimbledon favourite Tim Henman previously said obtaining full membership was so difficult to obtain it is 'easiest' to get in by winning the tournament, although he now sits on the club's managing committee.

Temporary membership is reviewed by the club committee every year but is generally made up of young tennis players who compete against other clubs.

Source: Daily Mail

Powered by


Wimbledon, LondonWimbledon, LondonChampagneRalph Lauren CorporationEvian Thonon Gaillard F.C.Pimm'sThe Hertz CorporationCorporationAmerican ExpressChinaCorporationOPPO ElectronicsSlazengerBeerStella ArtoisSponsor (commercial)All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet ClubSienna MillerFelicity JonesAnthony McPartlinEleanor TomlinsonPhoebe Waller-BridgeAll England Lawn Tennis and Croquet ClubDress codeRalph LaurenClothingMail OnlinePlushAll England Lawn Tennis and Croquet ClubCelebrityMaggie SmithCliff RichardActorJames Norton (actor)Claire FoyMo (wrestler)Stuart BroadEngland women's national rugby league teamSterling silverLapel pinGoody Bag (EP)LeatherEvianLotionThe Championships, WimbledonLobsterSocial mediaThe Championships, WimbledonSpread (food)TennisThe Championships, WimbledonPowdered sugarTelevisionTea (meal)Cucumber sandwichSconeCakeDrinkChampagneWineDress codeManJacketNecktieJeansWomanSkirtDressRoyal familyTennisCatherine, Duchess of CambridgeSussexCharles, Prince of WalesExtended familyArchbishop of CanterburyBritish ArmyRoyal Air ForceRoyal NavyAmbassadorMarshal of the Diplomatic CorpsBBCWorld of Sport (UK TV series)Television in the United StatesTelevision networkTennis ChannelThe New York TimesPresident of the United StatesWhite HouseCan't Buy Your WayEvianThe FlunkeysUsher (singer)Luxury boxWaiting staffChampagneTennisBreathless (1960 film)Tea (meal)Pimm'sChampagneTennisGoody Bag (EP)EvianEvianBottleChampagneTennis ballEvianBoxStrawberries and CreamLindt & SprüngliDanoneThe Championships, WimbledonRecyclingPlastic pollutionPlastic recyclingPlastic bottleLittle Wonder (song)EvianRebel WilsonRochelle HumesCelebrityHimesh PatelModel (person)Idris ElbaActorIdris ElbaRalph LaurenEvianFashionRalph LaurenCentre CourtTea (meal)Closing Time (Semisonic song)The Championships, WimbledonThe Goodies (TV series)Ralph LaurenGame of ThronesActorMaisie WilliamsJames Norton (actor)British Academy of Film and Television ArtsActorWill PoulterRebel WilsonPoldarkEleanor TomlinsonWimbledon (film)Pimm'sAnthony McPartlinMarie CorbettMyleene KlassThe InbetweenersEmily AtackPimm'sStephen Campbell MooreMade in ChelseaOllie LockeDermot O'LearyThe Great British Bake OffCandice BrownCentre CourtTennisBritish royal familyCatherine, Duchess of CambridgeRoger FedererThe Championships, WimbledonTim HenmanTennis