The word on everyone’s lips, ‘Wimbledon’ is the place to be over the next fortnight whether you have courtside tickets or not, partly thanks to the recent opening of The Ivy Cafe – the first suburban location for the group – and the ever-popular village feel making you feel as though you’ve had a day out of London when all you’ve done is jump on the District line. A handful of independent eateries stand out amongst the chains and the vibrant pub scene means things get a little livelier later in the day. Check out our guide on how to live like a local in SW19, tennis whites optional.
The Ivy in Suburbia
The place to be seen at the moment, avoid the crowds in the next fortnight and book a table for late morning so you can spend the day on Centre Court suitably fuelled, ready for when play commences at midday. Choose from crab linguine, chargrilled half chicken and The Ivy Cafe sheperd’s pie.
Maria Sharapova’s Favourite Spot
Maria Sharapova has been known to dine here and it’s a favourite haunt for many a local who crave a fragrant Thai curry, warm service and impressive carved fruit garnishes. Situated in the heart of Wimbledon Village, Thai Tho is a refreshing change to the cafes and brasseries nearby.
Neighbourhood Curry House
Wimbledon Tandoori is the place for a Goan chicken masala and palak chicken in smart surroundings. A feature of Wimbedon Village for over 20 years, it’s no surprise it is well established as a family favourite. As with any self-respecting curry house, they offer takeaway for when all you want is the comfort of your sofa and the luxury of no washing up. Make sure you book if you plan on dining in – there’s nothing worse than curry cravings and being turned away.
Contemporary French/European Dining
Relatively new to Wimbledon Village, The White Onion has quickly established itself as a smart and, more importantly, independent dining option without having to go to central London. Those in the know will visit for lunch, which features many of the same dishes from the a la carte but for a more reasonable £16.50 for two courses. The very blue dining room is available for private hire, seating up to 20 guests – birthday dinner anyone?
You’re clearly not a Wimbledon Village resident unless you have an armful of peonies on a Saturday morning, picked up from Village Florist, or a bouquet for your dinner party that night. As well as perking up a corner in your living room, Village Florist also do weddings, private parties and corporate deliveries and can arrange weekly bouquets to your home.
Wimbledon is really quite well off for pubs. Go (slightly) off the beaten track and avoid the crowds paying for overpriced Pimm’s on the High Street by heading down the common to the Hand in Hand. Somehow this pub has maintained a village feel and you will be forgiven for feeling as though you’re somewhere much more rural in this 19th century building. Cosy in the winter, in the warmer months you can take your pint outside and sit on the grass.
Every local worth their, er, sushi counts Sticks’n’Sushi as a favourite. It is a group of restaurants, yes, but with seriously polished service, impeccable sashimi and really very cool interiors there’s not much to complain about. Browse the seemingly endless menus but make sure you end with the creme brûlées.
A real neighbourhood cafe, Lu-Ma is run by mother and daughter Lucy and Maria. A great spot if you fancy something healthy and nutritious, the menu is free from dairy, refined sugar and red meat and uses organic, local and seasonal ingredients where possible. Try the sweetcorn fritters or homemade falafel with a side of kale chips or a green smoothie bowl.
Come Wimbledon fortnight, The Alexandra is no local secret – instead, swarms of thirsty tennis fans find themselves getting sidetracked as they walk up to/back from the train station for a pint of Pimm’s. The large terrace is a big draw but if you can’t nab a spot on there, drinkers will spill out onto the side street. If the sun’s out sneak round the side of The Alexandra and head upstairs to The Loft where you’ll find a glorious terrace alfresco terrace perfect for whiling away those long summer evenings. When normality resumes, weekend DJs, Sunday roasts and classic pub food continue to draw the crowds.