Monday, 6 December 2010

Wimbledon Village - SW19

I am a big fan of London's "villages" - Hampstead, Richmond, Barnes, even Primrose Hill has a villagey feel (although that's pushing it).  My closest and the one I am growing increasingly fond of (as I turn middle-aged before your eyes/monitors) is Wimbledon Village.  Wimbledon proper, near the station is functional, has some good things (like the 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.


  1. I agree it's very pretty but don't you think it's a bit dull?? And house prices around the Village/Common are astronomical. Just saying.

  2. I wouldn't say dull - OK you're not going to see anything particularly cutting edge in Wimbeldon Village but how boring would a city be if it was all the same? I love the fact that you could spend a day in Hoxton, Soho, Southbank and Wimbledon Village and feel like you were in 4 different cities.