Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

Museum in Richmond, Kew & Hampton Court

This ace museum details the history of tennis – from its French precursor jeu de paume (which employed the open hand) to the supersonic serves of today's champions. It’s a state-of-the-art presentation, with plenty of video clips and a projection of John McEnroe in the dressing room at Wimbledon, but the highlight is the chance to see Centre Court from the 360-degree viewing box. During the championships in June/July, only those with tickets to the tournament can access the museum.

Riveting facts and figures abound: tennis clothes worn by female tennis players in 1881 weighed up to a gruelling 4.9kg! Compare this with Maria Sharapova’s skimpy 2004 Ladies Singles outfit, also on display. The museum houses a cafe and a shop selling all manner of tennis memorabilia. Audio guides are available. Regular 90-minute tours of Wimbledon that take in Centre Court, No 1 Court and other areas of the All England Club also include access to the museum (best to book ahead, online or over the telephone). From Southfields tube station take bus 493, or it's a 15-minute walk; alternatively, take the tube, train or tram to Wimbledon and then take bus 493.