MADE BY MEMBERS • June 2022
The world’s oldest tennis tournament begins this month and, for the times when you’re not gorging on strawberries and cream or ogling the celebrities in the stands, SW19 has plenty of other attractions. The Club’s own Wimbledon local, Alice Barnes-Brown, has a Championship-free tour of the neighbourhood
Parks and recreation
Across the street from Centre Court is Wimbledon Park, a patch of grass where you can sip your Pimm’s in peace (but still within earshot of the action, because we know you don’t really want to miss it). There’s a swan lake, chalet-style cafeteria and paddling pool to cool off in. Oh, and there are tennis courts, in case you want to practise your own volleys.
Wimbledon and Putney Commons
Overground, underground, wombling free: TV’s Wombles made these 1,140-acres of heathland their home. When you’re not going off the beaten track and getting lost among the beeches, spot the colourful ring-necked parakeets that have made the capital their home, or giddy-up on a ride along 15 miles of public bridleway.
We know it’s not a park, per se, but the UK’s first Thai Buddhist temple is a true haven of tranquillity, nestled on the crest of a hill behind the tennis club. Once you pass through the pagoda-topped gates, there’s a garden filled with blooms, lily ponds and prayer flags. Open to all, the temple hosts regular meditation sessions to soothe your match-beaten soul.
Honourable mention: Cannizaro Park, on the tail end of Wimbledon Common, has symmetrical planting perfect for Bridgerton-style strolls.
Eastern Med spreads at Megan’s in the Village
Lunches and brunches
Megan’s in the Village
Flowers, fairy lights and indoor fruit trees: Megan’s is the all-day diner of dreams. Eastern Mediterranean-inspired food sees you through brunch, lunch and dinner. Lamb and feta fries will take you right back to the tavernas of Greece, while hot, honey-drizzled lokma are best tasted on the streets of Istanbul (after Wimbledon Village, of course). Did we mention it's dog-friendly, too?
Table @ Vallebona
Though it began life as a high-end Italian deli supplying Michelin-star restaurants, in 2020, Vallebona struck out on its own with top-secret courtyard restaurant, Table. Try the Milanese charcuterie on a hand-stretched sourdough pizza, while away weekend hours on the six-course tasting menu or work your way through the wine list.
Prepare to be surprised when you visit Black Radish. Its constantly rotating, miniature menu means you never know what’s for dinner, but you’ll always know where it comes from. Reliably excellent Cornish seafood often competes for space alongside more unusual ingredients, such as Corsican pomelo.
Honourable mention: The only independent pub in Wimbledon, the high-beamed Fox & Grapes is a watering hole, gastropub and cosy hotel all in one.
Shoes galore at the Joseph Azagury store
Shops, shops, shops
Gardenia of London
Nothing brightens up the home (or hotel room, for that matter) like fresh flowers and, since you probably shouldn’t go picking posies on the Commons, get the next best thing at Gardenia – an indie florist that aims to be the first plastic-free flowermonger in the city.
Aubergine Art Gallery
Gently-brushed scenes of seaside, still life and ornithology dominate the offerings at this family-owned gallery, showcasing the talent of SW London artists (pottery and picture-framing also get a look-in). The advantage of visiting Aubergine (over, say, the Tate) is that you can purchase your favourites and take them home with you.
Casablancan-born cobbler Joseph Azagury made a name for himself designing understated, elegant, and uber-feminine shoes for all occasions. But there’s one time every year when he allows glitter tennis balls, iridescent greens and towering heels to reign supreme: it can only be the Championships, for which Azagury crafts a special pair of stilettos.
Honourable mention: Fayre & Square is a cutesy art and craft store with a conscious twist: it employs those with barriers to employment, such as physical or mental disability or language issues.
The grand New Wimbledon Theatre opened in 1910
New Wimbledon Theatre
Wandering down Wimbledon Broadway, you won’t fail to miss the red, gold and green Edwardian exterior of the New Wimbledon Theatre. Shows change almost daily, so one night you could be guffawing at an upcoming comedy superstar, the next singing along to Mamma Mia! Your choice.
Round the back of the New Wimbledon Theatre is Wimbledon’s first openly LGBTQ+ friendly bar, the place to go for drag queen karaoke, queer DJs and gay comedians. It’s all week long until 3am, except on Sundays, when it closes at the more reasonable 2.30am.
This laidback local’s lounge menu is peppered with specialty G&Ts – infused with anything from Nordic juniper to dandelion and burdock. And, like any Wimbledon establishment worth its salt, there’s a fabulous brunch menu. Cumberland sausage-loaded brioche, anyone?