June 17, 2024

Hotel accommodation for Wimbledon can be a racket. A cheap alternative could be the perfect match, says expert.

The Wimbledon Championships take place on 1-14 July this year. It’s never been a cheap event to attend, with Centre Court tickets starting at £90 for day 1 and reaching £275 for the finals. Cash-strapped tennis fans also face a volley of other expenses, with accommodation topping the list.

London is the most expensive destination to stay in the UK, according to the statistics experts Statista, with hotel prices averaging £156 a night. This easily eclipses second-placed Bath’s £144. Fortunately, a leading travel expert says there is an ‘ace’ alternative to traditional hotels and holiday lets that tennis fans on a budget will love.

Lily Smith, a travel expert from the specialist accommodation finder UniversityRooms.com, says: ‘This year’s Wimbledon Championships look like being an event to remember. Wimbledon’s famous No. 1 Court is celebrating its centenary and it may be the last chance to see the great Andy Murray in action in the UK, as well as rising stars such as Cameron Norrie. Last year’s defending champions Carlos Alcaraz and Marketa Vondrousova have also made the draw.

‘However, whatever spin you put on it, visiting the Wimbledon Championships is not cheap. It’s not just the prices of admission, strawberries or Pimm’s. Local accommodation, particularly for holiday lets and boutique hotels, gets very expensive, while average hotel costs in central London are the UK’s most expensive.

‘Fortunately, UniversityRooms.com has an ace service to play. It offers accommodation at University College, the University of Westminster, Imperial College and many other centrally located campuses across the capital. These offer an ideal budget alternative to hotels and B&Bs. University rooms are available from as little as £50 a night. Best of all, you can stay in them even if you are not a student.

‘This summer there are a record number of university rooms available between June and September across London’s universities. For example, accommodation at the Ifor Evans Hall in London’s vibrant Camden area is available for £49 a night between 1-14 July. Other campuses across central London offer comfortable rooms in a selection of modern and historic residences, often with free Wi-Fi, gym access and other facilities.

‘From central London it’s technically just a 45-minute drive to Wimbledon courts but as the former champion John McEnroe would say: “You cannot be serious.” Parking and traffic issues pretty much rule that option out.

‘Instead, we recommend taking the Underground from any central London campus to arrive at the courts match fit. Surprisingly, Wimbledon station itself isn’t the nearest to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, to give the venue its proper name! From Embankment Tube station in central London, it’s a 29-minute ride to Southfields, which is the nearest station. From Southfields, it’s a 5-minute walk to the entrance to Wimbledon Park.

‘Alternatively, you could stay on the District Line train until Wimbledon Station and then grab one of the special TfL/GoAhead London service 840 shuttlebuses to the courts. These operate a frequent service up to 23.00 or the close of play, whichever is earlier.

‘Away from the city centre, the University of Roehampton’s campus offers modern facilities set within Georgian parkland in Wandsworth, just a direct 25 minute bus ride from the courts.

‘Using the innovative service UniversityRooms.com, visitors can choose from singles and doubles (mixed or not!) with ensuite facilities, on a B&B or self-catering basis. One thing to consider is that a few universities have a no under-18s rule, so double-check the campus’ page for details. For more information on staying in London on a budget this summer, to enjoy events ranging from this month’s Trooping of the Colour to August’s Notting Hill Carnival, see https://www.universityrooms.com/en-GB/city/london/home/