We won't recommend any tour operator but suggest not going with any if you can help it. If you haven't yet obtained match tickets, they have been relatively plentiful on each day in the past by varying means. The following offers no guarantee that you will get a match ticket, nor do we know that this information learned from the previous' series is relevant in 2019. Practices & habits change so you decide how you want to proceed.
1 - Apply for the ballot for any ground that distributes tickets this way. The best way of winning a ticket in the ballot is opting for a 'single seat with a restricted view’, which can be restricted by just one narrow pole a few metres in front of you.
2 - Apply for a single seat. Most people opt for multiple seats and miss out because most ballot requests are for multiple seats.
3 - Failing in the ballot, go to the ground the day before the game and knock on the door of the ticket or venue office. You'd be surprised what they have under the counter. You may also find people at the ticket office selling unwanted tickets.
4 - Lord’s hold match tickets to sell each morning for that day's play only (get in the queue early!). Along with ballot tickets that people returned because they can no longer attend there's possibly 200+ tickets available each day.
5 - Stand at the entrance gates and hold a sign asking for a ticket. Be clear and open and anyone wanting their spare ticket to go to you, rather than a ticket tout, should help. Honesty is a big thing and it would be best to hand over cash inside the ground to avoid over-zealous police putting the kibosh or your day at the game. Simply put, do not 'promote' your cash transaction in the street.
6 - Ticket touts are everywhere near all grounds and only sell tickets at face value. It is illegal to sell above face-value and plain-clothes police are also everywhere trying to buy, so touts don’t risk it. A good option is to wait until the game has started. The more overs that have been bowled the price goes down and touts will take anything to save going home with unsold tickets.
This is not an endorsement of their 'cockney villainy' but a simple reality that they exist and create an option to get into the ground.
7 - Tour Operators that have not 'sold-out' may look to offload excess tickets. Their respective websites will announce SOLD-OUT packages in which case they won't have spare tickets. Collar a tour host at their hotel or create a welcoming committee for their buses at the ground. The clipboard will be first off and the one to approach. You may be surprised to know not everyone goes to every day's play and you may possibly buy the tickets of those missing in action.
8 - Very pricey day-by-day hospitality packages, which include match tickets, of course, food (including breakfast) and drink all day. Each venue has its own hospitality booking options for groups or single seats on large tables.
9 - 3rd party ticket websites
10 - If you want to stand out in the crowd, buy 'Awesome Floral Shirts' from Bent Banani. Save postage to Australia and have them delivered (for free) to a UK address (your hotel, hostel, friend's house, etc..)
The above is blanket information based on our attending every Ashes series in England since 1997. Take it or leave it. Please do not ask for clarification nor if we can sell your spare tickets should you have any.
Once again, this offers no guarantee you will get a ticket. If you didn't get your single-seat ballot ticket or learn that Lord's no longer sells tickets on the day, or there were no touts, etc... let us know and we can update the 'information' for next time.