Strawberries and cream have long been synonymous with the Wimbledon Championships. More than just being a quintessentially English summer treat, this specialty has a deep-rooted connection with the tennis tournament, and is now seen to make the whole experience complete for spectators. Red Carnation Hotels are set to embrace the tradition of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, too, while hosting their own in-house tennis tournament celebrations for the Wimbledon Championships.
Looking back at the origin of this custom, it’s a belief commonly held that the summer fruit was first served with cream by Thomas Wolsey in 1509, predating the introduction of tennis. It wasn’t until around 1859 that the lawyer and sportsman Harry Gem and Spanish merchant Augurio Perera combined the Basque ball game of Pelota with the English game rackets to introduce the game we know today. They then went on to found the first tennis club in 1872.
The first Wimbledon tournament took place in 1877 and it was at this inaugural event that strawberries and cream was served court-side, because as well as being the seasonal fruit, strawberries were particularly fashionable at this time. Unbeknownst at that first Wimbledon event, this was the beginning of the strawberries and cream tradition at the championships.
For many, this tradition adds to the experience of the world-famous tennis tournament, and while tennis is naturally the main event, it’s said that around 28,000 kilograms of strawberries are eaten at Wimbledon each year, along with over 7,000 litres of fresh cream. Grade I Kent strawberries from LEAF-certified farms are picked each morning for that day’s spectators, and for the past few decades Pimm’s has been the drink to accompany them, with Champagne coming in a close second.
Even outside this momentous sports event, the iconic tennis club is a tourist destination for visitors who want to see another side to England’s popular culture, as well as for the ardent sports fans. But whether visitors are in the capital to spend a day at the Wimbledon Championships or they simply want to soak up the atmosphere of London at this time, the Wimbledon celebrations at Red Carnation Hotels are sure to complete the experience.
The Rubens at the Palace
During June and July guests at The Rubens at the Palace will be able to revel in the tennis tournament’s atmosphere with the seasonal transformation of the Leopard Bar into the Wimbledon Bar. Here, guests can watch the tournament while sipping a Lanson Champagne cocktail – The Rubens have 50 of them to choose from – with a serving of strawberries and cream, as well as other Wimbledon Bites.
The Montague on the Gardens
Throughout the Championship, The Montague will be hosting their own Wimbledon Championships celebration, too. In The Montague’s Conservatory budding tennis enthusiasts will be able to watch the tournament while being served fresh strawberries with Lanson Champagne.
The Egerton House Hotel
At The Egerton House Hotel, settle in for a taste of the summer with their British inspired Afternoon Tea while catching some of the centre court action.
The Chesterfield Mayfair
Within the Lanson sponsored Champagne bar at The Chesterfield, catch the Wimbledon action while sipping Lanson Champagne cocktails, including the specially crafted Eton Mess Cocktail.
The Milestone Hotel
While staying at The Milestone Hotel, watch the tennis tournament while savouring the Wild about Wimbledon Strawberries & Cream Afternoon Tea. Wimbledon-inspired cakes and pastries will be served alongside mini ice cream cones and, naturally, strawberries and cream, with the option of Lanson Champagne, or a Pimm’s Champagne cocktail.
As each of London’s Red Carnation Hotels lies within its own corner of the city, celebrations abound in their surroundings with outdoor screenings of the tournament to seek out, giving guests an immersive experience of the Wimbledon Championships.
Image credits: Strawberries at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon © AELTC/David Levenson. On-court action at the All England Club, Wimbledon © AELTC/Chris Raphael. Spectators at The All England Club, Wimbledon © AELTC/Chris Raphael. Strawberries and Cream © iStock / bphillips. A tennis court © iStock / COSPV.