Few towns can claim to be more globally famous than many capital cities — but Wimbledon can. For two weeks every summer, SW19 feels like the centre of universe as the world’s oldest tennis championships dominate the media.
But there’s plenty to do here all year round. Outstanding shopping, first class restaurants and bars, a wealth of culture and one of the wildest open spaces anywhere in London, make this one of the most desirable postcodes there is.
Affluent locals and the annual influx of tennis fans has bred a broad range of great restaurants, from the bustling town centre to the sedate streets of the Village. Expect to find anything from a casual Lebanese café to an elaborate dining room in a Georgian country house. French, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Argentinian, Mexican and more — the eateries are almost endless, so prepare your taste buds for a treat.
Pub culture has suffered in some parts of London but in Wimbledon it’s alive and kicking. It has an excellent selection of pubs if you’re looking to spend a lazy afternoon, as well as an array of buzzing bars for a weekend night out. And if you're up in the Village, you’ll find a fine choice of country-style pubs. Perfect for a reviving pint after a walk around the Common.
CULTURE & HERITAGE
In a town that boasts three museums, two multi-screen cinemas and the eighth biggest theatre in London, cultural opportunities are never far away in Wimbledon.
Up in the Village there’s a fascinating museum of local history; another celebrating the history of the windmill (set in a… you guessed it) and the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s own superb museum of the history of the championships. Meanwhile down in the town, you’ll find all the latest movie blockbusters as well as art-house hits at the Odeon and the HMV Curzon. And for theatre buffs, the Grade II-listed New Wimbledon Theatre has been drawing audiences for over a hundred years, with its year-round programme of top shows and its star-studded Christmas panto.
For something a little quieter, the Wimbledon Way is a heritage walk that begins in the town centre, before heading up into Wimbledon Village, the Common and the All England Club itself. And for total peace, there’s the Buddhapadipa Temple off Wimbledon Parkside. This fully-functioning Thai temple is a hidden gem; the first of its kind in the UK, it hosts an active Buddhist community, as well as a vibrant new year festival.
Wimbledonians are a well-organised lot. Throughout the year the regular themed markets in the central piazza bring fine handicrafts and an array of alternative culinary delights. And for those with an appetite for something more cerebral, between September and November you can take your pick from the annual Merton Arts Trail, Wimbledon’s 10-day Bookfest, and a highly-respected International Music Festival,
The town centre is also a prime vantage point for cheering on the scores of amateur cyclists who brave 100-mile Prudential RideLondon-Surrey charity fund-raiser every July.
For the keen shoppers of south-west London, Wimbledon’s temptations are a day-out destination. Whatever your retail-taste you’ll find it all in SW19, from Ely’s department store and the high-street fashions of Centre Court Shopping, to the upmarket boutiques of Wimbledon Village.
GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL
Lucky locals have access to over 1,100 acres of common land for strolling, sunbathing or exercising themselves and/or the dog. Wimbledon Common is London’s largest expanse of heathland and a haven for flora and fauna. We can’t promise you’ll sight too many Wombles but it’s a birdwatcher’s delight, with over a hundred species calling the Common home at different times of year. Add three local parks nominated for Green Flag Awards for high standards of upkeep, plus 34 acres of formal gardens at Cannizaro Park, and it’s safe to say you’re never far from an enticing green space.
FROM HERE TO…
Few parts of London can match the superb transport links of Wimbledon. For the Underground, choose from the District Line in the town centre and the Northern Line at South Wimbledon. There are also Overground trains into Waterloo every few minutes, with handy stops at Clapham Junction and Vauxhall for the Victoria Line. The proposed Crossrail 2 high-frequency, high-capacity rail line from Surrey to the centre of London will only improve those links further. And that’s on top of the numerous buses and the quick tram line to Croydon.
Wimbledon boasts an excellent selection of schools, from nursery and primary to a range of state and independent secondaries and sixth form colleges. It’s also home to the famous Wimbledon College Of Art, Kings College and the Norwegian School in London.