The Best Things To Do in Wimbledon – A Local’s Guide
The Best Things To Do in Wimbledon
Wimbledon might be famous around the world for its tennis, but there is so much more to this little ‘village’ in SW19 London. With several parks, fantastic pubs, luxury shopping, independent boutiques and grocery shops, riding stables, two theatres, two cinemas and plenty for kids too, it’s like a mini city – but with a distinct village atmosphere. If you’re a first time visitor, here’s our list of the best things to do in Wimbledon.
As a local, things I love most about Wimbledon include its Sunday market, walking through picturesque Cannizaro park (or the woods and wilderness of Wimbledon Common, grabbing a coffee from The Windmill along the way), people watching from the Al Fresco terrace at the Dog & Fox pub, taking the kids to see a show at the Polka theatre – and letting them splash in the fountains in Wimbledon Park playground. You’re spoilt for choice with upmarket shops, independent boutiques, fancy delicatessen and a charming bookshop all in the village, and for bargain lovers there are four charity shops.
If you’re new in town, visiting or hosting a visitor, here are my top suggestions:
1 Wimbledon Windmill
Right in the middle of one of Wimbledon Common’s open plains is a beautiful, pristine-white windmill that wouldn’t look out of place on the outskirts of Amsterdam. For fresh air, history and adventure this is one of the best things to do in Wimbledon. The structure has stood there since the beginning of the 19th century, and is a significant relic of the once-rural setting. The windmill no longer functions as a mill, but its interior has been transformed into an informative museum. It teaches about the rural lifestyle and the town throughout the ages, and is run by friendly volunteers. Plus there is a bustling cafe next door and lots of walks to be enjoyed on the common.
2 Wimbledon Park
The leafy, rolling expanse of Wimbledon Park will is located right next to the All England Lawn Tennis Club and is a stone’s throw from charming Wimbledon Village. The park is a stunning rural south London expanse. There is a huge children’s park with a paddling pool, water features, climbing structures and play areas for little ones. Over the summer months the park often hosts events such as an alfresco cinema, and food and music festivals. With one of the largest lakes in South London, you can go canoeing, feed the ducks or just take a nice stroll around it. If you’re feeling energetic, book a tennis court or mini-golf. And when you’ve done all that, take a break in the cafe situated in the middle of the park.
3 The Buddhapadipa Temple
Worlds away from the town’s enchanting red-bricked Edwardian buildings, this spectacular Buddhist temple adds a taste of the orient to the London suburb with its exotic style and bold colours. The Thai temple is a significant training centre for Buddhists across Europe but opens its doors to members of any faith keen to look around the temple walls or amble around the peaceful verdant flower gardens.
4 Wimbledon Village
For a taste of village life, make the journey up Wimbledon Hill Road where you’ll be greeted by the rural community feel of Wimbledon Village. On a balmy summer’s day you can expect to find coffee shops brimming with brunching families, bustling beer gardens, and a host of independent florists, bakers and an organic green- grocers.
5 New Wimbledon Theatre
A beautifully ornate Edwardian theatre in the heart of the town, Wimbledon’s theatre has a huge audience capacity, holding 1,670 seats across three different levels, and since its opening in 1910 has hosted a wide range of stars across the ages, from famous music hall musicians like Gracie Fields, to composers like Ivor Novello.
6 Polka Theatre
The artistic centre is one of the few UK theatres solely dedicated to children. The theatre opened in 1979 to inspire local youths into the world of drama, and has since been the home of kids’ theatrical entertainment showcasing a host of educational plays from family-friendly theatre companies. It is currently undergoing a huge refurb and will re-open next year – in the meantime, look out for its events in other venues such as Morden Hall Park.
7 Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
You can’t visit SW19 and not take a trip to the world-famous Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club. If you’re here at any other time than Championship fortnight – there is still much to explore and discover about not only the history of the tournament but the sport, too. Get close to the trophies, and tour behind-the-scenes of the grounds – and even walk through the players’ entrance.
8 Southside House
Located in beautiful Wimbledon Common, the magnificent Southside House and gardens has featured in many films and dramas – and is open to the public for guided tours and educational visits. The 17-century Grade II listed building has been the home of the Pennington Mellor Munthe families for generations and tells a wealth of history through several generations.
9 Cannizaro Park
Known for its ornamental landscaped gardens and ponds, Cannizaro Park is yet another stunning outdoor space in SW19. Found on the south side of Wimbledon Common, Cannizaro has 34 acres to explore including a Water Garden and Belvedere.
10 Wimbledon Village Stables
If you’re looking for a few hours of fun and to venture out and explore the wildlife and landscapes of Wimbledon Common, then perhaps a riding lesson at Wimbledon Village Stables would be a good option? There are hacking trips across woods and parkland and lessons for children from as young as seven on a horse riding simulator.
11 The Museum of Wimbledon
With special exhibitions, there is much to discover about Wimbledon in this small and welcoming museum. SW19 has a rich heritage and has been home to several notable residents over the course of over 3000 years, as well as collections from different eras including medieval and Georgian Wimbledon. Discover manuscripts and paintings, as well as 300 artefacts.