Wimbledon and Tennis are almost synonyms – one cannot be uttered without the other. But Wimbledon has much more to offer. Dating back to the Iron Age, this little suburb of London has a rich heritage with a fortified village as evidence. Some properties here date back to the 16th century so if you are looking to live in a period home, head to Wimbledon. Other historical legacies are a windmill from the 19th century, and Wimbledon Parks which lead tourists to believe that Wimbledon lies outside London!
While most towns are divided into north and south or east and west parts, Wimbledon is uniquely divided into the busy town and the village. The city as a whole offers life with all modern amenities in period architectural buildings. It is conveniently located for those working in central London and wish to have a peaceful home.
While the area is a hub of activity when the game is on, there is a lot to do and see during the rest of the year. There is a theatre, a museum, and umpteen restaurants for wining and dining. There are also bars and bistros for a quick drink if you prefer. And of course, there is the all-pervading tennis with the Grand Slam, the All England Lawn Tennis Championship and the regular tennis played in clubs and courts by the locals.
Wimbledon is in fact an affluent and popular southwest London suburb. Geographically it forms a part of the Merton Borough. The area is pedestrian friendly – that is you can walk to almost any place though there is a bus route with the main station at Hartfield Road, Sir Cyril Black Way.
If you are living in Wimbledon, you will never have a dearth of shopping spots. The Centre Court Shopping Centre is the first as you exit the station and by far the most popular.
Even before you enter, you’ll be assaulted with the sweet intoxicating smell of perfumes, bath salts, and more at Lush. Face creams, body gels, soaps, shampoo and other items of toiletries are what Lush offers you. Located at Wimbledon Bridge, the shop has staggered timings but they are always open between 11 AM and 5 PM, even on weekends.
Address: 5 Wimbledon Bridge, London SW19 7NH
Dixons in its past life, Currys Digital is not about food it’s about electronics. You’ll find everything from cameras to computers here. Tourists can get adaptors, chargers, and extension cords they may have forgotten back home.
Address: 27 The Broadway, Wimbledon, Greater London SW19 1PS
The first shop opened in Old Brompton Road, London way back in 1982. Since then Waterstones has earned the repute of being the largest booksellers on UK high streets. They stock fiction, non-fiction and other books from numerous authors. Each store has miles of shelves stocking exciting and not so exciting books. If you want to up your stock of reading material or just pop in for a browse just visit the nearest high street. Waterstones is hard to miss. And don’t forget to ask about their 3 for 2 offers.
Address: 12 Wimbledon Bridge, London SW19 7NW
A smaller store of a smaller chain but still selling reading material, Books etc. offers periodic discounts on select titles, authors and other categories.
Address: 15 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1PS
This chain store sells everything you might need from household goods and furniture to electronics. If you are looking for low priced stuff head here and check out their catalogue. The payment and collection queues are separate so be prepared to wait for your purchases.
Address: 19, 13 Wimbledon Hill Rd, Wimbledon, Greater London SW19 7NE
This one’s for the ladies! It’s a fashion boutique chain with a wide range of clothes and accessories all designed by the in-house designers.
Address: Centre Court Shopping Centre, Wimbledon Bridge, London SW19 8YB
Visit Thorntons to sate your sweet tooth. One of the best confectioners in Britain, they stock a variety of chocolate delights, coffee, and toffee to keep the kids quiet.
Address: Centre Court Shopping Centre, Queen's Rd, London SW19 8YE
If you are out with the whole family, head over to Oliver Bonas. You’ll find something for everyone here. The store stocks everything from clothes to household items and toys. The store has 21 branches across London with one of them in Centre Court Shopping Centre Wimbledon. Though it’s a chain, you won’t find two shops styled the same way giving you a sense of entering a boutique.
Address: 304, Old Court House Centre Court Shopping Centre, 4 Queen's Rd, London SW19 8YE
In keeping with the English tradition of formal wear, Moss Bros offer you a variety of suits, dinner jackets, and more for hire. The staffs are entertaining, friendly, and efficient. You will even get some tit-bits of advice on formal wear and etiquette thrown in.
Address: Elys, 16 St George's Rd, Wimbledon SW19 4DP
Fresh food, frozen food, veggies, fruits, household items, and more. You have it all here at Safeway. This is an international supermarket chain and you will find a store in every London district.
Address - 51 The Broadway, Winbledon, SW19 1QB
Another London chain store, this one offering you novelty gifts, greeting cards, stationery, wrapping paper, and the like. Their range of Kitsch gifts is worth a visit.
Address: 119, Centre Court Shopping Centre, 4 Queen's Rd, London SW19 8YE
From its humble beginnings as a store selling ski products, Fat Face soon became a universal sportswear brand. From sweatshirts which are the biggest sellers, to urban casual wear, they sell quality and keep you warm when surfing or sailing. Bright colours, funky outfits, and the Fat Face logo are what you’ll get here.
Address: 18 The Broadway, London SW19 1RE
And the list does not end here. You have Oasis for women’s fashion and Tie Rack for the men. Crabtree and Evelyn bring you perfumes and sprays while the Wimbledon Wine Cellar stocks wine for you. Debenhams tops it all being a department store stocking everything from groceries to fashion so you will never be left wanting in Wimbledon.
One of the most popular restaurants serving original Chinese food in Wimbledon Bayee Village offers you Szechuan and Peking cuisine made from fresh veggies and meat. Some evenings you’ll have music with your food a novelty in a Chinese restaurant!
Address: 24 High Street Wimbledon, London SW19 5DX
If you are looking for a simple meal that will sate your appetite more than tickle your taste, head to Confucius. Quick and well-organized service, polite and helpful staff, and a decent ambiance with a Sunday special of dim sum is what characterizes this restaurant on Broadway.
Address: 271-273 The Broadway, London SW19 1SD
Remember you high school French? Well you’ll need it if you ever visit Chanteroy to have your French meal with French service and French pastry. There is a wide variety to choose from at this little bakery on Wimbledon Road. If your French is tardy, no problem. You can order online and have fresh and your food with yummy baguettes, and pastries delivered to your home. Vous êtes les bienvenus – you are welcome!
Address: 233A Wimbledon Park Rd, London SW18 5RJ
Don’t mistake this place for a sports shop! The paraphernalia is just décor and ambience to enhance your mood. What you’ll get at the Dog and Fox is a square meal of wild game, angus beef, cheese and much more with as many pints as you can hold! If you want to spend the night try the skylight suite where you can sleep comfortably on a bed under the stars (visible through a skylight).
Address: 24 High Street Wimbledon, London SW19 5EA
In existence since 1835 this quintessential pub has honed its art of creating a cosy atmosphere for a pint and a hot plate on a white winter day. Come summer, the garden is where you would like to sit and soak the warmth with a cold glass of beer. Try solving the “really very hard” Tuesday quiz while you drink and dine.
Address: Crooked Billet, London SW19 4RQ
Head to Wimbledon Common for a day out with your family and friends for a day away from the city. Carry a picnic lunch and spend the day taking nature walks, watching birds, animals, and a variety of flora and fauna. You can hire a bike to ride around the forest trails if you are not into walking. There’s also a museum and a windmill close by to visit and a tennis court for sports.
Address: Windmill Rd, Wimbledon Common, London SW19 5NR
If you really want to visit one, take the route 93 bus to Deen City Farm near Morden. Bring your children to this urban home to a variety of birds and animals. You’ll see ferrets, alpacas and a Barn Owl named Edna. Make this an educational picnic with riding lessons thrown in.
Address: 39 Windsor Ave, London SW19 2RR
At the corner of Wimbledon Common you’ll see the Historic Country House Gardens with its rich history of King George V’s many mistresses and the Duke of Wellington’s wife. The original house has now been reincarnated as a hotel with much of its ancient architecture intact. The grounds, renamed Cannizaro Park, are open to public and sport azalea and rhododendrons along with other plant life. You can take in the Mordern Hall Park, a short tram ride away, in the same trip. The estate houses a couple of snuff mills, a rose garden, and huge parkland. There is also an open-air theatre open during the summer (obviously!),
Address: Cannizaro House, West Side Common, London SW19 4UE
See where the pros play! Take a tour of the courts and the nearby museum. During the sports season, grab a ticket on the ballot and checkout the action. Strawberries and champagne are an absolute must when in the area!
Address: Church Rd, London SW19 5AE
Drama, comedy, cabaret, and music you have it all at the New Wimbledon Theatre in an Edwardian building on Broadway. This is the only theatre that has a Turkish bath in its basement! Better book online to be sure you have a seat and a slot!
Address: 93 The Broadway, London SW19 1QG
This one has Peter Pan, flat Stanley and the likes to entertain your kids. Running on charity, there are numerous performances and classes for young talent. There are also some fun activities thrown in for good measure. Age limit is below 14 so adults stay clear!
Address: 240 The Broadway, London SW19 1SB
Home to many generations of the Pennington family Southside house has been maintained over the centuries in a traditional style. Your tour guide will tell you enchanting stories about the Mellor Munthe families every time you visit. There are mementos from the family of the Siberian Queen Natalie, her son Alexander, the Duke of Wharton and Lady Hamilton among others. There is an excellent collection of historical furniture and other artefacts from the various owners and residents of the house. Major Munthe was a part of the Scandinavian war and eventually retired to Southside. He then restored the building with great care. He also restored Herefordshire, home to Hellens family with the same devotion. Both places are now open for public viewing.
Address: 3-4 Woodhayes Rd, Wimbledon Common, London SW19 4RJ
The first Thai Buddhist temple in the UK, the Wat Buddhapadipa is home to Buddhist monks and nuns. Visitors are welcome as long as they respect the sanctity of the temple. In the grounds is the Uposatha Hall on a lake, garden, an orchard and a small grove. On the ground floor is the shrine and a dining room. You will also find an office, a study, a library, a kitchen and a telephone room. The rest of the place is for the monks.
Address: 14 Calonne Rd, London SW19 5HJ
A distinctive landmark since 1817, the Windmill served the local community for several years until 1864 when it was converted to a residential building. The sails were restored and today the building houses a museum with exhibits on the local history and life. It is closed on all but summer weekends. However, school trips can be arranged by prior agreement.
Address: Windmill Rd, London SW19 5NR
Henman Hill a.k.a. Aorangi Terrace and many other names, is a grassy area at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which is good for picnics during sports season. A huge screen is set up for those spectators who were unable to get a ticket into the stadium. Crowds gather here to watch the game while eating and making merry. There is also a lot of media on the hill during the championship.
Address: Greater London, London SW19 5AG
Wimbledon has many parks and gardens for its young citizens.
The Wimbledon Sprinkler Park has more than just sprinklers! Transformed from private grounds of a house that still stands in a corner of the park, the park has an interactive water play area for kids that is free for all. There is also a golf course, adventure playgrounds, beach volley ball and a bowling green. Being Wimbledon, there is of course football and tennis too. There is a woodland area and some ponds and lakes for those who wish to have a quiet stroll or explore.
Address: 1 Laurel Rd, London SW20 0PP
Splash pads, interactive water play, toddler playgrounds, junior playgrounds, tennis, basketball, and a skating rink – you’ll find all that and more at Bishop’s Park. It’s the only park in London that boasts a beach, mote, rose gardens and an ornamental lake! Check out the website to see what’s on for the day!
Address: Bishop's Ave, London SW6 6EA
Originally used for deer hunting, Richmond Park still has Red and Fallow deer living in the park. There is a lookout from which you can see the ancient oaks and other trees as well as the flora and fauna. Look carefully and you might spot a beetle or two! Open all year round, the park offers different flavours in different seasons. There are little trails along which you can take a walk or ride a bike. There is also fishing, power kiting and a couple of playgrounds for kids which are excellent picnic spots for families. Both parks have hammocks, sand pits and various activities for kids. Better make a call before you set off to check out any special offers and avoid a car load of disappointed kids in case the park is closed for some reason!
Address: Richmond, Greater London
Thirteen acres of open freely accessible space! That’s what Ravenscourt Park has in store for you. You can stroll, have a picnic lunch, or indulge in sports activities, whatever takes your fancy. There are adventure parks for kids and play areas for the young toddlers. There is also a huge comprehensive play area suitable for both young kids and slightly older ones. For sports you have football, tennis, basketball, netball, and a bowling green. Carry the bread crumbs from breakfast for the birds that live around the lake which doubles as a moat for Paddenswick Manor. There is a small café that offers you a bite and a sip if you need to relax and put up your legs for a bit. The park has five entrances from King Street, Ravenscourt Road, Ravenscourt Avenue, Goldhawk Road and Paddenswick Road. Check out what’s on for the day and call ahead to avoid disappointment.
Address: Paddenwick Road, London W6 0UA
If your kids love adventure, head to Holland Park where they can climb walls, swing to their hearts content, or zoom across open spaces like little planes. There are separate spaces for toddlers and older kids if you prefer, or if you would rather have them all together, you can do that too! There is plenty of space, no matter how big a crowd you bring along! With 22.5 acres, Holland Park is the largest in Royal Borough. Of course, there is a cafeteria and plenty of wooded space for long walks and bike rides – watch out for the wild life!
A major attraction of Holland Park is the Japanese Kyoto Garden sponsored by the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the locals.
For those interested in sports there is golf, football cricket, tennis and netball so bring your sports gear! Park authorities also offer supervised sports and health activities if you prefer. Other activities include educational visits and activities by the ecology centre and a wildlife club. Check out the daily and seasonal activities on their website. Call in before you set off so that you can come prepared.
Address: Holland Garden, Cambridge Rd, London SW20 0SN, UK
Described by visitors as the oldest and the most important botanical gardens around the globe, you should carry your botany book when you visit Kew Gardens. There are glass houses with incredible plant life and other vegetation which you can identify and relate to what you learnt in school. The gardens cover more than 300 acres of bio diverse rainforest. The kids will love the creepers and climbers to vent off their energy. The interactive playground has tunnels for children to wiggle through in addition to the usual jungle gym and sand pit. Treehouse Towers caters to slightly older kids up to 11 years of age. There are slides, scramble nets and mountain ramps where the whole family can join in!
Walk atop the trees and get a bird’s eye view of the Kew Gardens from the Xstrata Treetop Walkway. After you have exhausted yourself and the kids, head to one of the four cafes for a snack and a refreshing drink. There is an all veggie one, a health food one and two regular cafe so you can take your pick. If you prefer to carry baby food or milk for your infant, you can warm it in an oven setup for the purpose. A bookshop offers books about plant life and little mementos to carry home! The restrooms are clean and well maintained. As usual, call ahead to see what’s on for the day or week and come prepared to enjoy!
Address: 37 Kew Green, Richmond, Greater London TW9 3AB
Wimbledon is situated on the banks of the Thames and there are many parks and gardens where you can spend an entire day with your family and friends among lush green trees, cafes offering culinary delights and any sports activities you may like to take up. Your kids will be playing safely nearby in the play area built especially for them to enjoy in safety.
Obviously this one is about Lawn Tennis, right? Well partly, there is much more here than Lawn Tennis alone. There are interactive displays about all manner of sports. CentreCourt360 is one of the main attractions where you can experience being centre court even if you are not a sports person! You can view footage of tournaments and examine the memorabilia dating back to the 16thcentury. A unique film presentation shows you how a player perceives a game. Open 7 days a week from 10 – 5, make sure you arrive before 4.30 so that you gain entry. During championship season, only ticket holders are allowed entry and there are no guided tours.
Address: Church Rd, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AE
Sports lovers head to the Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library for sports books, DVDs, newspaper articles and more. The library is a part of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and is open on weekdays 10.30 am to 5 pm with a break for lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm. It remains closed during the championships. Call ahead and get an appointment or you may not gain admission. There are old maps and photographs of the various attractions in and around Wimbledon. The two theatres air music, plays and dramas for children.
Address: Church Road, London, England, SW19 5AE