Outside Centre Court: 5 Different Things to See in Wimbledon
For many people the main attraction for visiting Wimbledon is undoubtedly the tennis. Wimbledon is a district in the south-west of London and every year it is home to the world-renowned Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The Championships are held in a two week period in late June and early July and last year just under 485,000 people attended the various games. The first Championships were in held in July of 1877 making Wimbledon the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It is also the only major tournament that is played on grass and is one of four ‘Grand Slam’ tennis competitions in the world. For most people living in England the name ‘Wimbledon’ is almost synonymous with ‘tennis’ and many people visit the area simply to get a glimpse of centre court. However, Wimbledon, as an area not just a tennis competition, has much more to offer than might appear at first glance. It is a lively and interesting area with many things to see and do. If you are visiting the district you should ensure that you don’t miss out on everything that Wimbledon has to offer outside of the tennis courts.
1. Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common, aside from being one of the larger areas of common land in London, is well known in popular culture as the home of the Wombles - the fictional environmentally-conscious creatures created by Elisabeth Beresford. Though it is unlikely that you will spot a Womble on the Common it is still a lovely area for walks and picnics. The Common covers around 460 hectares and there are roughly one million trees - the perfect place for a nature enthusiasts or families wanting some fresh air. Walking around the Common you may come across some links to the early history of the area. Wimbledon Common is home to the remains of an Iron Age hill fort that, despite not having any connections to the Romans, is known as Caesar’s Camp. You can also visit the Wimbledon Windmill Museum that can be found near the centre of the Common. The museum is housed in a 19th century windmill and has a variety of interactive activities and exhibits about the story behind Wimbledon Windmill and the history of windmills.
2. Cannizaro Park
For those who love the great outdoors there is more on offer than just the Common. To the south of Wimbledon Common is Cannizaro Park, named for the Duke of Cannizzaro and his wife who leased the house (now a hotel and known as Cannizaro House) at the centre of the park between 1817 and 1832. The park was originally the gardens for the country house but have since been turned into a public park. It is a smaller park covering some 35 acres but has a number of gardens filled with colourful flowers and plants that bring the park to life in the spring and summer months. You can wander amongst the azaleas, magnolias and roses by yourself or take a guided walk through the park. There are several gardens to visit, including an Italian garden, a water garden and a sunken garden. Though the garden is beautiful in the summer months, it can also look remarkable in the winter months after a frost or a snowfall.
3. The Buddhapadipa Temple
If you want to learn more about a different history and culture from the other side of the world then you can pay a visit to the Buddhapadipa Temple. The Temple is on Calonne Road just to the east of Wimbledon Common and is surrounded by its own parkland and gardens. The Buddhapadipa Temple is the only Thai temple built in Europe and was the first Buddhist temple to be built in the United Kingdom. The temple was originally built in the nearby borough of Richmond in 1965 but was moved to Wimbledon in 1976. The Temple and its grounds are home to a number of Buddhist monks but the site is open to visitors from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily as long as a respectful and polite manner is observed. The Temple has traditional Thai architecture and is decorated in red and gold. There are murals depicting the life of the Buddha, an ornamental lake, an orchard and a flower garden.
4. The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
If you simply cannot bear to pull yourself away from the tennis courts you may be interested in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. This museum, found on Church Road, was opened in 1977 and is one of the largest tennis museums in the world. You can find out about the history and development of the game of tennis as well as more information about the past and present of the Championships. The museum runs guided tours and has a large collection of Wimbledon fashion and outfits throughout the years. You can also experience being in the middle of the action at Centre Court with the CentreCourt360 viewing platform. There is also a 200 degree cinema screen where special films and documentaries about the science behind tennis and the history of the game are screened.
5. Historical Attractions
Finally, there is also a great deal to see and visit for those who are interested in the history of the area. You can get a taste of Wimbledon’s early 20th century history with a visit to the New Wimbledon Theatre, an Edwardian theatre that puts on a selection of plays, shows and pantomimes throughout the year. Southside House is also worth a visit for those interested in earlier periods of history. The house was built in the 17th century and is decorated in the appropriate Early Modern style. The owners of the museum also live in the house and run guided tours for visitors. There is a wide selection of period items and furniture as well as interesting memorabilia. A number of concerts and lectures also take place at Southside House throughout the year. You may also be interested to visit the Museum of Wimbledon which has exhibits and collections that relate to the history of the district and how it has developed. There is much more to see and do in Wimbledon than just tennis courts and its many sights and attractions should not be overlooked if you visit the district.
Useful Related Links
- Wimbledon Area Guide
There's more to Wimbledon than tennis. Discover the best of Wimbledon, including recommended restaurants, bars and pubs, plus accommodation options near Wimbledon.
- The Wombles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Wombles are fictional pointy-nosed, furry creatures that live in burrows, where they aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish in creative ways. Wombles were created by author Elisabeth Beresford, and originally appeared in
- Wimbledon - visitlondon.com
Wimbledon is one of London's most perfect villages, full of beautiful shops, buildings and outdoor spaces
- 2013 Wimbledon Championships Website
The official site of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Club is presented by IBM. Follow The Championships, get live scores and results, and see who will win this grand slam tennis tournament.