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A Local’s Guide to Wimbledon 2015

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It’s that time of the year again when Wimbledon becomes the centre of the Universe for two weeks. Having lived in this wonderful town for over 10 years, I thought I’d put together a local’s guide for our visiting hordes, so you can experience Wimbledon like a native.

If you try any of them, please do leave a comment below so others can benefit from your experience.

dog and fox wimbledon

WHERE TO STAY
Chances are it’s already booked up, but Cannizaro House is Wimbledon’s top hotel with 4 stars. It also has a great restaurant and a lovely orangery for enjoying a cup of coffee while watching children play on the grounds.

If you prefer a more boutique hotel, the Dog & Fox recently added 17 uniquely decorated rooms to their establishment. They also have a great gastro pub downstairs and plenty of drinks on tap at the bar.

Should both those options fail, there is always Air BnB. It’s popular for Wimbledonites to give up their houses for the tennis – one must pay those private school fees, after all! So this could be your best last minute bet.


WHERE TO EAT
We are blessed in Wimbledon with a wide array of restaurants to tempt any palette. Here are just a few of my favourites.

Italian: There is a Carluccios in the Village, but it’s worth making the trip down the hill, where you can find three really good independent Italian restaurants. Made in Italy is a great place for creative pizzas (I recommend Il Schiaffo). They also have a newly opened garden out the back where you can eat, drink and make merry. La Nonna is a lovely, family-run Italian with great pasta (their Carbonara is yummy!). Finally, if you like your Italian restaurants a bit crazy, Al Forno will serve you great food with some attitude.

chinese dragon outside bayee village

Chinese: If you want to stay up the hill, then Bayee Village is your place. It also has the notoriety of being the restaurant where Hugh Grant had a wanton time with their receptionist and ended up getting her in a family way. Hey – it’s all happening in Wimbledon! The food is also very good. If you want to get out of the Village and down the hill, Confucius is super delicious and also delivers. It’s also often full of actual Chinese people, which I always take as a good sign.

Japanese: The day that Danish sushi chain, Sticks’n’Sushi decided to open its first UK restaurant in Wimbledon should be declared a national holiday (at least in SW19). This is the perfect restaurant to visit if you are with a mix of sushi lovers and haters, as there is something for everyone here. Probably the most ringing endorsement I can give this place is that my step-mother liked it (not a sushi fan). You don’t know her, but this is big. I promise. When we go there, we tend to give the waiter a budget and then let him/her bring us their top selections.

If you really want to visit a Wimbledon place where you need to be in the know, try Rock Star Sushi, right near our studio in Merton Abbey Mills. It’s a bijou sushi bar with a limited number of tables (YOU MUST BOOK). If the rumours are true, the sushi chef is ex-Roca and he’s a magician at pairing unexpected tastes together. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor.

restaurant ready for wimbledon tennis

French: Aubaine is a nice place to sip some wine and sample some French fare, while watching people walk down the high street.

Sunday roast: The Dog & Fox does a great Sunday Roast with Yorkshire puddings the size of your head. The Fire Stables is also a good place, as is The Fox & Grapes. Reservations recommended.

Breakfast: The historic Maisson St Cassien or Gail’s Bakery is where you will find all the locals. There’s also The Light on the Common and a Le Pain Quotidien, as well as a Pauls.

We also have your usual array of chain restaurants, like Wahaca, Chipotle, Wagamama, and Bills. And there is a new restaurant called The White Onion that I haven’t had a chance to try yet.

WHERE TO DRINK
There is also no shortage of fine drinking establishments in Wimbledon. And during Wimbledon fortnight, your chances are quite high of spotting a celeb or two.

hemingways wimbledon

Dog & Fox: The most popular drinking spot during the fortnight, as it’s right in the centre of the Village.
Hemingways: A fun place for cocktails.
The Fire Stables: A slightly more mature place to go.
Suburban: This one is down the hill, but worth the trip if you like two-for-one cocktails.
Cannizaro: For classy drinkers.
The Crooked Billet: A great little pub tucked away at the back of Wimbledon Common. A lovely place on a sunny day as you can take your drink or food onto the lawn.

If you are looking to take a night off the booze, then get tickets for whatever is showing at the New Wimbledon Theatre, which is a highly-rated, off-West End theater.

WHERE TO BUY YOUR PICNIC FOR MURRAY MOUND

bayley & sage wimbledon
Of course, Wimbledon Town Centre has an M&S, Waitrose, Tescos, Sainsburys, and Morrisons, but if you want something truly special and exciting (and expensive) for your picnic, there is nowhere else to go except Bayley & Sage in the Village.

WHERE TO EXERCISE
Personal trainer:
Local company HA Fitness will put you through your paces. They are also child friendly.
Barrecore: There is a Barrecore studio at the back of Sweaty Betty
Run on the Common: You can’t beat a bit of exercise in the outdoors. The park is crisscrossed with paths. Just make sure you have your phone with you in case you get lost. The Windmilers is a friendly local running group with a great website, if you like to run in a group.
Wimbledon Leisure Centre: They have a pool and work out room and you can purchase a day pass.

WHERE TO RELAX
All this fun can take it out of you. If you need some You Time, here are my top recommendations.
Gina Conway Aveda Spa & Salon: From massages to getting your hair beautifully coloured and coifed, this is the place to go. She can also send someone to you, if you want, through Gina Conway Privé.
The Hand & Foot Spa: Looking to give your hand a bit of polish for cradling that champagne or Pimms? Or need to give your feet a makeover after queuing? You’re welcome.
Walking on Wimbledon Common: A beautiful place to get lost, have a picnic, go for a run or stalk Wombles.
HMV Curzon Cinema: Wimbledon obviously moved up in the world when it got its own arthouse cinema.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS

children's books and wombles in wimbledon book store window
Photo shoot at Boggio Studios: If you really want to behave like a local, then this is a must-do! We have plenty of shoots to keeps kids happy for an hour or two and leave you with some beautifully captured memories. Or if you’re here without the kids, perhaps try our famous Vintage Boudoir Pin up Photography.
Horse ride with Wimbledon Stables: Book a lesson at the Stables and see the Common from on top of a horse.
Wimbledon Books: Wimbledon is lucky to have a fantastic independent book store, which also has a extensive children’s book selection.
Soft play at Tots Landing: Something for the younger kiddies. A small softplay with nice coffee. It’s located down an alley off Wimbledon High Street.
Parks: We have a number of great parks for picnicking and general running around. Wimbledon Park (play area, ducks, tennis courts, running track), Dundonald (playground), Haydons Road (playground, picnics), South Park Gardens (good for picnics, small cafe), Morden Hall Park (play area, café, good for picnics), Cannizaro Park (good for picnics, feeding ducks and taking walks).

Igloo children's store in wimbledon village
Igloo: Designer kids’ clothes, shoes, quirky games. Great place to stop and buy if you forgot to bring any non-ipad-related entertainment.
Polka Theatre: Wimbledon is lucky to be home to one of London’s top children’s theatre. It also has a play area and café. If you can’t get tickets to anything, then also try the smaller and less frilly Colourhouse Theatre in Merton Abbey Mills.
Pottery making: The Wheelhouse Pottery in Merton Abbey Mills. You must book. Pottery lessons available on weekends for kids aged 8-98.
Dean City Farm: Children absolutely love petting all the animals and seeing a working farm in action. Parking available.
Wimbledon Library: An extensive selection of children’s books for all ages. Lots of events happening, so check the website.

wimbledon window decor

wimbledon flag gardenia wimbledonwimbledon high street

 

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