If someone mentions Wimbledon, you probably think of grass tennis courts, strawberries and cream, and sitting out in the sun with a chilled glass of Pimms. Well how about this instead: Dogs, hot dogs, and a chilled pint of lager. Yep, this is another kind of Wimbledon, and it happens a lot more than it does at SW19. We're talking about greyhound racing at Wimbledon Stadium.
Race nights are held every Friday and Saturday, with the first of the twelve races springing out of the traps at 7.30pm. Turnstiles open at 6.30pm.
These beautiful dogs, with all their grace and elegance, run like the wind when they catch sight of the mechanical hare hurtling past.
Unlike at horse race meetings, here you can see the entire track, so you can follow your dog all the way to the finish line.
It only costs a fiver to get in, so if you have a little cash going spare, it's worth putting a quid on some of the races to add to the excitement.
The atmosphere on race night can be pretty charged, with some people putting big bucks on a single dog in a single race. When the race begins, the crowd really comes alive, and boy, do these dogs move. It really is a sight to behold.
You can enjoy the races from the comfort of the modern glass-fronted restaurant (besides lager, wine and champagne are also available – they may even have Pimms), but if you really want to experience the best atmosphere, it's recommended that you go trackside and mingle with the regular punters - many of them characters of the colourful variety. Being trackside also gives you the best view of the dogs and allows you to appreciate what fine speed machines they really are.
There are TV screens throughout the stadium, allowing you to keep tabs on the action wherever you happen to be.
Wimbledon Stadium has a free car park, though if you prefer to come by train, there are a number of stations close by – on the underground there's Wimbledon Park and Tooting Broadway. Overground train stations include Earlsfield and Haydons Road.
Over the years there has been some concern about the welfare of the thousands of greyhounds once they're retired. Wimbledon has its own Retired Greyhounds Trust (RGT) that helps place retired dogs into caring homes. They also organise many fund-raising events throughout the year. You can read more about the RGT here.
The stadium website has an excellent FAQ that covers just about everything you'll need to know for an enjoyable night at the races.