SW19 and SW20 are awash with the Hertz Wimbledon Tennis Championship; with branded cars, black Range Rovers and Jaguar Estates in abundance throughout the area, there are numerous famous faces and elite sporting stars descending on the area every day. With the amount of global attention on Wimbledon at the moment, ‘Wimbledon Village’ still maintains its chic and relaxed atmosphere, with the publicly discreet element many desire in a time of such widespread attention.
With the majority of attention on the Wimbledon Championships, there is another side which can be overlooked and is somewhat unbeknown to many tennis fans. The LTA pre-Wimbledon qualifiers are held at the Bank of England Sports Club and Campus off Priory Lane in SW15. Positioned on the outskirts of Richmond park, this lesser known tournament generally features European, International and GB players who play over four days in an attempt to secure their Wildcard entry to the Championships.
With the laid back English charm one expects from the verdant green lawns of SW19, the practice courts, pretty club house and chilled out ‘carnival atmosphere’ appeal to many as opposed to the hugely popular and bustling courts of Wimbledon. The traditional summer glasses of Pimms and pots of strawberries are still present, but with free entry, the more relaxed environment appeals to those looking for a leisurely day out in the summer sun. However, being local to the area, I know that parking is not easy at either event; locally there are prime roads (Roedean Crescent and Roehampton Gate) which are now highly desirable to those looking to visit for the day, as these roads offer almost direct access and in some cases direct views across Richmond Park and Sheen Common.
With regards to the property in the area, many of the original 1920’s and 1930’s houses have made way for the ultra-high end and sought-after double fronted villas typically of the prime Wimbledon Village roads. Developers are moving in to area and creating lavish 6000-9000 sq. ft houses built in a neo-Georgian style.
The areas outside of the Village, along the Ridgway and off Copse Hill also maintain the quiet anticipation and buzz of Wimbledon. Local clubs like Westside and the public courts around SW20 (Raynes park) on Cottenham Park and Holland Gardens see young families, children and even the occasional octogenarians practicing their shots, executing pitch perfect throws and gnarly sharp volleys.
The pretty tree-lined streets and local schools have definitely geared up for the Wimbledon fortnight. However, you cannot experience the Wimbledon atmosphere more easily than with Wimbledon Guild.
Every year Wimbledon Guild (one of the main local charities) has its annual Wimbledon Fair, where all manner of country fayre appears every year; dressage, dog shows, mini-show jumping, a beer tent, bands and lots of local food stalls all overlook Rushmere pond. The event is extremely popular and is overlooked by Novak Djokovic’s coach and famous Wimbledon resident (and also three times Wimbledon Champion) Boris Becker.
Becker’s house fronts on to the Common but he was recently reported to have said that ‘the reason why Wimbledon house prices have risen so much was partly down to him living there’; it might be true, but as a third generation Wimbledon-ite, it is not something one says!
The Village, West Wimbledon, SW19 and SW20 alike have all benefitted significantly from their wonderful schools (both state and private) – Hollymount, Bishop Gilpin, Dundonald and Wimbledon Chase to name but a few. Alongside Dulwich College, Kings College Wimbledon has had exceptional results for secondary education, alongside very good non-fee paying options such as Ricards Lodge, Whitgift, Coombe Girls School and the massively improving Raynes Park High.
With the attraction of good schooling drawing many families to the area, Wimbledon is also well-known for its vast open green spaces (Wimbledon Common in particular) and good transport links. Very good transport access in to Waterloo and the City (via SW Trains and the Jubilee line) make the area an ideal location for those looking to achieve a healthy balance of work and home life.
Access to Earls Court on the District line and access out of London on the A3 (only 15-20 minutes from the M25), with the tram to Croydon, makes Wimbledon an ideal commuter location for many. All in all, it’s got an all-round game, talk about serve and volley; Wimbledon allows different types of ‘player’ across all budgets to consider the area for a property purchase whilst offering all manner and style of property. With variety across the education system, not to mention a little bit of English charm, many buyers from central London (who want to remain within a tennis balls toss of the City and Zone 1) move here.
I am proud to live in the area, I am proud to say to clients and friends that I live in Wimbledon. Try it, you might just like it.