Wimbledon area guide

There's more to SW19 than tennis – discover the area's best bars, restaurants, culture and more with our comprehensive guide

AELTC / Matthias Hangst

Even if you’re visiting during one of the 50 weeks of the year when the tennis isn’t on, there are plenty of ace things to do in Wimbledon. In fact, with a windmill museum, a famous common, a theatre that’s home to some of London’s best family-friendly shows and some great bars and restaurants, you could find that strawberries and cream are the last thing on your mind. 

Wimbledon highlights

Museums

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum contains digital displays tracing the history of lawn tennis. A cinema with 3-D effects explains the science of the game, a hologram of John McEnroe roams the dressing room and an interactive area allows visitors to test their skills in simulation games. View venue details

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Things to do

Wimbledon Tennis Championship

Whether you're a legitimate tennis fan or just in it for the Pimm's and oh-so-toned players, Wimbledon Tennis Championships are once again upon us (Monday June 29 – Sunday July 12) and it's time to get excited. If you missed out on tickets in the public ballot, here's our eight-step guide to camping, queueing and buying grounds passes on the day. Or if you're happy to witness all the tournament's action outside SW19, discover where to find the free live screenings across the capital. Getting tickets to the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club does require a lot of forethought. Seats on Centre and Number 1 courts are distributed by ballot the preceding year, although die-hard tennis fans who queue on the day may well get the chance to gain entry. The ticket queue for this year’s Wimbledon officially opens at 8am on Sunday June 28 2015, however hundreds of people will have been camping in line since the previous evening. Around 500 tickets every day are available at the Gate 3 turnstile for Centre Court (except for the last four days; tickets for those days are like gold dust) and court numbers 1 and 2, plus several thousand grounds tickets. If you’re intending to turn up to The Championships after work, the late entry queue opens at 5pm daily. You can often pay a reasonable rate for the seats of spectators who have left the venue early. Do note, tickets can only be purchased by cash. Tennis fans willing to splash a bit more cash can purhcase unwanted deb

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Things to do

Wimbledon Common

Take a stroll on Wimbledon common, have a picnic in the sunshine or join a rambling tour and discover wildlife in the area. Wimbledon Common is the perfect place for an outdoor adventure. View venue details

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Museums

Wimbledon Windmill Museum

The history of windmills told through working models of mills, from ancient Persian and Greek designs to present-day wind farms. The Wimbledon Windmill Museum features working millstones which children can use to grind wheat, and visitors can climb into the tower of the windmill – a Grade II-listed, 1817 example of a hollow post mill – in which the museum is housed to look at the operating machinery.

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Where to eat and drink in Wimbledon

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Lawn Bistro

Wimbledon’s chain-driven dining scene has bucked up considerably since the arrival of this swish outfit headed by Ollie Couillaud (one-time head chef at La Trompette). The wedge-shaped space, larger than it first appears, features olive and mushroom paintwork, dark wood furniture, large mirrors and subtle lighting. Staff didn’t put a foot wrong on our visit. And the cooking, grounded in France, but with forays into Britain, Spain and North Africa, is very accomplished. Menus are fixed-price; lunch is a particular bargain, as it offers many of the same dishes that are available in the evening, alongside more casual fare such as croque monsieur with big chips and salad. To start, squid and watermelon salad, with fennel purée, chilli, garlic and ginger, was a scintillating combination of flavours and textures. And beautifully presented – as were all our dishes. Also excellent were mains of Gloucester Old Spot pork chop, and poached cod, the latter with green beans, ratte potatoes encased in aïoli, and a swirl of sauce nero (black from squid ink). By far the most popular dessert is baked alaska, dramatically set aflame at the table – it’s designed for two, but could easily serve four. There’s a well-chosen global wine list, plus beers from Wimbledon’s very own By the Horns brewery.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Sticks n Sushi

Danish sushi is not the oxymoron it might at first seem. The Danes are known for liking fish, clean flavours and simple aesthetics, so much so that the Sticks n Sushi chain has nine branches in Copenhagen alone, but have opened their tenth in Wimbledon. This Anglo SnS is a cavernous space, with a high brick wall on one side, and a huge curtain – printed to exactly match the facing brick wall – on the other. Danish chairs are integral to the design, as are the staff wearing black t-shirts printed with handy Danish words, and their English translations. New arrivals to the restaurant are greeted with what is supposed to be ‘irrashaimase’, the traditional welcome greeting in Japanese restaurants – though the staff pronounce the word so badly, it took us a few repeats to realise what it was. The menus are beautifully illustrated with photographs. The reason becomes clear on closer study: These are Japanese-lite dishes for people who are scared of real Japanese food. There are no challenging ingredients: no stringy, slimy natto (fermented soy beans); no slithery or gelatinous noodles; no fetid-smelling uni (sea urchin); no yakitori – sticks– of grilled gizzards or duck heart. For many, of course, this is a plus; for others, it strips the samurai soul out of the cuisine. To their credit, the sushi rice was excellent: warm and of fine quality. The sashimi, too, was fresh enough to serve in Japan. Presentation was consistently beautiful, with excellent use of colour contrasts. The d

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Fox & Grapes

This pub has long had one of London’s best locations, on the edge of Wimbledon Common, well away from traffic; the area feels, and looks, like rural Surrey. The old Fox & Grapes was a bit of an underachiever, but Claude Bosi and his team have taken it over, given it a huge refurb, added three guest rooms and begun serving smart gastropub food at smart restaurant prices. A menu based around British pub favourites has been deconstructed, refined, and put back together. It changes by the season but might include starters of pork pie, or a salad of warm beetroot, endive, goat’s cheese and walnuts, and mains such as roast pork belly accompanied by rich black pudding, or a fillet of pollock on a bed on puy lentils. The wine list, featuring many organic varieties by small growers, likewise changes regularly. Symonds cider, Amstel, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Black Sheep Bitter are among the draught options.

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Bars and pubs

Sultan

No beturbaned Muslim ruler beams out from the free-standing pub on a quiet residential road behind All Saints’ Church in Mitcham: the Sultan was a black stallion who sired many a champion racehorse in the nineteenth century. Inside this homely community boozer, you’ll find a detailed history of Selim, sire of Sultan; it’s a suitable backdrop for the old geezers who sit studying the racing form and sipping affordable pints of Summer Lightning and other fine ales from the Hop Back Brewery of Salisbury. The saloon bar is named after Ted Higgins, part of the original cast of Radio 4’s The Archers. All told, this is a lovely local, with a leafy beer garden, plenty of parking space and decent pub food. Everyone seems to know each other, but strangers can also expect a warm welcome.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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