Monday, 6 December 2010
Wimbledon Village - SW19
HMV Curzon cinema) but is ultimately a pretty typical suburban town-centre. However trundle up the steep slope of Wimbledon Hill Road (great for the glutes) and you enter another world - certainly posher and definitely more picturesque and charming. Some find that a negative, I suppose it's horses for courses - if you prefer more of an exclusively London Fields, Bethnal Green type vibe then you may despise Wimbledon Village, but I love the fact that there are places like this in London and I think they are equally valid. Firstly it is really pretty - the picture above of St Mary's church is a case in point. The village shops are fairly high-end and you soon realise you are not in the average High St (Dianne von Furstenberg anyone?) but there are some great places to eat and buy food - my two favourites are (i) The Grocer on Wimbledon which won my heart by selling Aussie confectionery and snacks (Twisties, Violet Crumbles, Cherry Ripes etc - nice one!) alongside amazing cakes, super-snazzy pre-packages food (the berry and vanilla panna cotta is awesome) and pretty decent coffee and (ii) Bayley & Sage - which is one of those high-end food shops where you think "Ooh I really need that jar of Argentinian chocolate sauce at £8.99" and for which I am a total sucker. If you are exhausted by all this snazzy food shopping and feel the need of a restorative pint, I can highly recommend walking along Southside Common (which as it's name suggests skirts a small southern spur of Wimbledon Common), past the King's College School to the Hand in Hand pub on the wonderfully named Crooked Billet. This is like a Richard Curtis vision of what an English pub should be but it also manages to be totally un-pretentious and welcoming. So apologies to all you leafy South-London haters but I think Wimbledon Village is a lovely little gem, perched high up in the SW (the view across the city from Wimbledon Park is amazing) and well worth a visit.