Anyone for tennis? We may not have tickets for Wimbledon but there’s lots of ways to celebrate the world’s most famous tennis tournament here in Leicestershire.

If the football World Cup isn’t filling you with glee (even though England are through to the last 16!!) worry not, as Wimbledon is upon us. England may not have the world’s best football team, but we do host the most prestigious tennis tournament on the planet.

The first championship started with the Gentlemen’s singles on July 9, 1877. Now associated with strawberries, Pimm’s and English optimism, it’s as much a part of summer as the rain.

Tickets may be as hard to come by as a Donald Trump apology, but there’s no reason why we can’t make our own Wimbledon-themed enjoyment here in Leicestershire.

Fresh strawberries are in abundance in our county, and are synonymous with Wimbledon because the early tournaments coincided with the berry’s short summer season. For the Victorians they were also a part of afternoon tea, which had become a fashionable ritual.

Picking your own strawberries is fun as well as filling. Whetstone Pastures in Whetstone is just one of three places in the county you can do this. It has a children’s play barn and also serves up afternoon tea featuring strawberry jam made by the farm’s owner.

Also check out Cattows Farm in Heather, Wymeswold Fruit Farm in Wymeswold, and Grange Farm Soft Fruit in Copston Magna. 

If you’d prefer your strawberries to be brought to you, the lovely 33 Cank Street in Leicester city centre offers cocktail high teas every Saturday and selected bank holidays.

Presented in a beautiful hamper, they feature homemade scones with jam and clotted cream, sandwiches, homemade crisps and desserts, as well as three cocktails. A classic version with tea or coffee, and a mocktail high tea are also available.

Alternatively, venture to the lovely beer garden at the Rutland and Derby – located within Leicester’s historic Greyfriar’s conservation area – and sample a Strawberry Split cocktail, made up of vanilla, vodka, strawberry puree and apple juice. It would be a shame not to try their fabulous Mezzes, chargrilled steaks or artisan pizzas while you’re there.

Pimm’s, an alcohol-based fruit cup named after its inventor James Pimm, has been popular at Wimbledon for more than 50 years. With reported sales of 40,000 pints over the two-week event, it’s safe to say it’s become part of the whole experience.

Posh Pimms is on the menu at the 400 year-old Pug and Greyhound in Great Glen. Instead of lemonade, the Pimm’s is topped up with Prosecco, and in traditional fashion, mixed with fresh orange, cucumber, strawberry and mint. 

You’ll probably be in need of some exercise after all that clotted cream and alcohol, so you’ll be glad to know the county has lots of tennis courts, which are open to beginners as well as those who know their half-volleys from their drop-shots.

A great place to start is the city council’s free-to-use courts in Victoria Park and Evington Park. The four courts at Victoria Park were recently completely refurbished, and Evington Park boasts six courts and free, family-friendly sessions on a Saturday morning. These courts are bookable online for city residents.

The Leicestershire Tennis and Squash Club on Westernhay Road is the largest tennis club in the county, offering 18 tennis courts. Founded in 1878, one year after the Wimbledon championship began, its membership is open to all. 

Four bookable, indoor courts are on offer at Knighton Tennis Centre in Knighton, which also has a wide range of coaching courses available, for beginners and top-level juniors and adults.

So we’ve no excuse to stay on the couch watching the footie any longer. Apart from the fact that England – might – just….

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The Rutland & Derby
Pub/Inn
The Rutland & Derby Arms, Pubs - Eating and Drinking in Leicester

The Rutland & Derby is well known as the place to eat, drink and be merry in Leicester. Serving quality food and a variety of cask ales and ciders, wines and original cocktails.

33 Cank Street
Bar
33 Cank Street, cocktail bar - Eating and Drinking in Leicester

33 Cank Street is a classy cocktail bar set in St Martins Square, serving up unique drinks in an intimate environment.

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