48 HOURS IN WIMBLEDON
Take in an elite match, sample local fare, and more.
From July 2 to 15, top tennis stars will compete in the historic Grand Slam tournament. And while the name Wimbledon is synonymous with the British championship, there are plenty of other things to do in this charming, tree-lined village in southwest London. Here, your guide to a perfect weekend trip.
WHERE TO STAY
Located a 15-minute walk from the All England Lawn Tennis Club (where matches will take place), the Dog and Fox hotel has been a local staple since the 1800s. Each of the 17 rooms has its own unique theme such as the Fox Suite, where you can sink into a four-poster bed with fur throws. The on-site restaurant offers healthy fare such as grilled grapefruit with Greek yogurt and pomegranate, or the grilled chicken salad with tomatoes and Yorkshire cheese. Grab a nightcap by the fireplace of the hotel pub, which is decorated with traditional hunting artwork.
Start the morning at the Ivy Café, an all-day eatery that has vibrant décor and lush foliage. Order a green juice (made with avocado, mint, celery, spinach, apple and parsley), whole kippers (an omega-3 rich fish), and toasted crumpets served with Marmite (it’s an acquired taste but rich in B vitamins).
After breakfast, take a stroll down High Street, which is lined with quaint boutiques and where you might spot a famous athlete. Visit Wimbledon Books & Music to pick up souvenirs and greeting cards.
Grab a lunch to take back to your hotel room at gourmet grocery Bayley and Sage, which opened its first store in Wimbledon Village in 1997 and has since expanded to six other locations. The shop sells hundreds of European cheeses and every month they highlight a different type, such as Graviera from Crete. Freshly baked quiches come hot from the stone-based oven, and can be given a healthy touch by pairing with a salad.
Choose Your Afternoon Adventure
OPTION 1: CULTURE
The New Wimbledon Theatre has been entertaining audiences for over a century in its majestic Georgian renaissance-style building. This summer’s matinees include Legally Blonde, Guys & Dolls and Saturday Night Fever.
OPTION 2: FITNESS
When the English countryside is at your fingertips, one of the best ways to appreciate it is from the saddle. The Wimbledon Village Stables (WVS) is a full-service riding school for all levels of experience that can take you hacking through Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. If you want to increase the fitness challenge, WVS also has personal trainers offering riding-specific EQUICISE workout sessions using a life-sized horse simulator.
For dinner, head to Fire Stables. Start off with roasted cauliflower soup, trout fishcakes or locally-farmed asparagus topped with a poached duck egg. Lighter entrée options include Cornish muscles, vegetable Wellington with sweet potato mash, or the catch of the day. Friday nights also feature live music starting at 8.30 p.m.
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If you haven’t purchased tickets to a tennis match in advance, Wimbledon is one of the few major sporting events where you can still buy premium tickets on the day of play. While there is no strict dress code aside from no torn jeans, running jacket, or sneakers, spectators traditionally dress up more so than at typical sporting events.
The grounds open a 10:30 a.m., with play starting at 11:30 a.m. on most courts and 1 p.m. on No.1 Court and Centre Court. Before the first volley is hit, have breakfast with a coffee and pressed juice at the Aorangi Café located on the terrace at Henman Hill or Murray Mound. Then for a lunch break from play, try the famous rainbow couscous and feta salad from the Walled Garden Food Market. Another popular afternoon spot is Café Pergola, where you can pair a poached salmon and Mediterranean vegetable sandwich with a choice of nine different varieties of Lanson Champagne from the Pink Bar.
Choose your Afternoon Adventure
OPTION 1: CULTURE
In between the action on the courts, learn about tournament’s rich past and traditions with a visit to the Wimbledon Museum, located on the All England Club grounds. The collections include the trophies of past champions, a virtual reality experience, insight into the tournament’s evolution since 1877 and a vintage postcard display showcasing Wimbledon food over the past century. You can also test your tennis skills at the Batak wall or meet John McEnroe’s “ghost” via hologram.
OPTION 2: FITNESS
If you’ve had your fill of tennis, the Wimbledon Park Watersports and Outdoor Centre offers activities such as sailing, kayaking, archery, and climbing.
After a full day, walk back to the village via Wimbledon Common and have tea at the Windmill Tearooms. On the south side of the Common is Cannizaro Park, home to ornamental landscaped gardens with rare plants, sculpture and ponds. If you’re in need of a refresher for the walk home, the Crooked Billet pub lets you grab a drink in the sun on their blankets or deckchairs.
Finish the day with dinner at Alexandra, a classic British pub. Order the artichoke and goat cheese salad or indulge in one of their famous pies: chicken and leek, beef shin and merlot, or lentil and vegetable. After dinner, head up to the roof terrace to soak in the sunset at the Loft Bar.