10 reasons to visit Wimbledon
PUBLISHED: 18:37 28 June 2016 | UPDATED: 18:37 28 June 2016
With the world-famous tennis championships taking place this month, all eyes will be on Wimbledon. Here, we pick out our must-visits...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2016
The All England Lawn Tennis Club
Church Road SW19 5AE: 0208 971 2473 / wimbledon.com
The best¬known tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon fortnight starts on Monday June 27 and runs until Sunday July 10. Costs vary depending on which court but just to give you an idea, before you heave the credit card out, Centre Court tickets range from £53 (June 27 and June 28) and are £175 for the last day on July 10. (A bit cheaper than the limited debenture tickets at around £3,795…). Ballots for tickets closed a long time ago but you could still try online if you’re quick or you can always try your luck on the day and join the queue!
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Church Road SW19 5AE: 0208 946 6131 / wimbledon.com
If you can’t quite stretch to a ticket for Centre Court, the fascinating Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is open all year-round for visitors. It’s a great way to find out all about the history of the game, with a multidimensional tour available, including a view of the glittering trophies, a ‘CentreCourt360’ experience and, slightly unnervingly, a ‘ghost’ of tennis star John McEnroe in the very changing room he once used… Times vary depending on other events so check the website for details. A 60-minute tour is £24 for adults and £15 for five to 16-year-olds. Facilities there also include a café and library.
Market on The Piazza
Wimbledon Piazza SW19 1QB: 0208 619 2012 / lovewimbledon.org
Love markets? Then you need to head off to one of our favourite hidden gems here in the town, The Market on The Piazza, just off The Broadway. Managed by Love Wimbledon, a business improvement group, over 20 stalls parade a cornucopia of gifts, artwork, toys, accessories and homeware. There’s food too – get your teeth into some patisserie or one of the area’s best hot dogs – and chill out in a deckchair while listening to the live music from visiting musicians.
Wimbledon Village High Street
SW19 5EE: wimbledon-village.com
A village within a town offering a mixture of independent shops and places to eat, drink and relax. This bustling cosmopolitan area has loads of things to see and stretches to Wimbledon Common a short stroll away. The list includes fashion shops, cafés, booksellers, street food, art galleries and florists – to name but a few. New for this month is The Ivy Café, located in the space previously occupied by Barclays Bank, and offering an all-day menu with private dining available upstairs. For those seeking a spot of alfresco dining, there is also a beautiful garden terrace, hidden away at the back of the restaurant.
New Wimbledon Theatre
93 The Broadway SW19 1QG: 0844 871 7646 / atgtickets.com
The moment you walk through the fabulous entrance to this famous old theatre, you are in a different world. An Edwardian, Baroque, Grade II-listed building, owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group, there’s always something happening here.
14-15 Crooked Billet SW19 4RQ: 0208 946 4942 / thecrookedbilletwimbledon.com
There seem to be a huge number of pubs with this name – but only the one in Wimbledon. Incidentally, the name apparently has something to do with a boomerang-shaped tree branch – but if you know better then, as always, drop us a line at email@example.com. So, after a nice leisurely summer stroll on the common, what better sight than this. An inn of renown since the late-1800s, this Youngs gastropub now serves cask ales, craft beers and a range of ‘hearty home-cooked food.’ Relax outside on a sunny day with a deckchair (and a rug if it’s chilly), enjoy the surroundings and indulge in a spot of people-watching.
Windmill Road SW19 5NR: 0208 788 7655 / wpcc.org.uk
Remember The Wombles – the cheery group of cuddly creatures from the children’s novels and TV? Far ahead of their time, they collected and recycled all the rubbish they found on Wimbledon Common. Today, this huge area of over 1,000 acres includes a windmill (minus its sails just now as they are being repaired), a museum, shop and a café.
Light on the Common
48 High Street SW19 5AX: 0208 946 3031 / lightwimbledon.co.uk
Back to the High Street for lunch and to one of Surrey Life’s favourites. Under the guidance of manager Diego Bianchi, this beautifully-designed restaurant uses the best and freshest seasonal ingredients in their ever-evolving menus, ranging from the tasty sandwiches (grilled bacon and Brie is £7.50) to main evening courses (pistachio¬crusted cod, chickpeas, spiced aubergine and chard for £15.25). For a special treat, you could go for the Tuesday night rib-eye, which includes two 28-day aged steaks with chips, salad and house wine all for £48. Or get 10 of your friends and you can sit down to an exclusive afternoon tea party too!
Bayley & Sage Gourmet Grocery
60 High Street SW19 5EE: 0208 946 9904 / bayley-sage.co.uk
One not to miss at any cost, this is the most incredible grocery store and delicatessen with a profusion of just about everything you could ever need. Serving customers since 1997, Bayley & Sage pride themselves on selecting the best seasonal produce to showcase. And there’s more – a range of sandwiches (pulled pork and jalapeno wrap anyone…?) and a burger stand on the pavement cater for the lunchtime trade. If we tried to list everything in this store we’d fill the next few pages, so drop in when you’re passing and we challenge you to leave empty-handed…
Wimbledon Village Stables
24 a/b High Street SW19 5DX: 0208 946 8579 / wvstables.com
We’ve left the best until last. Completely unexpected is this, the oldest recorded riding stables in the country, right in the middle of the town. With a fascinating history stretching back to the first horses in Wimbledon in 1236, the stables today are right up to date with Equicise – no less than a full-size ‘horse simulator’ – hooked up to the latest computer wizardry to give beginners and experts the exact feel of riding a horse. Jennifer Fryer, stable manager, tells us: “There is a real family atmosphere here, with lovely dedicated clients. It’s a very special place.” There has never been a better time to take to the saddle…