GUY MEACOCK

Guy Meacock
Game, set and match – Wimbledon Village
7 July 2017

SW19 is best known as the home of tennis but there is much more to Wimbledon than that.

Wimbledon Village is one of the best examples of an urban village, retaining its historic air and sense of separation, not least because it sits on a hill and has a large expanse of heathland at its edge. While it is firmly rural it has always attracted wealthy urbanites who wanted a retreat. When the railway arrived at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill, the village became more isolated, but as a result has remained relatively contained, while retaining its village atmosphere.

Wimbledon is a highly desirable location for families looking for that balance of town and country, with larger houses and more generous gardens than can be found more centrally. Much of the architecture is late Victorian or Edwardian so you find wider footprints and are not living over multiple floors in the same way as you might in central London.

One of the key roads of note in Wimbledon Village is Marryat Road, which is comprised of large mostly detached houses with gardens and invariably off-street parking. Here you can expect to pay circa £1,000 to £1,200 per square foot, one of the reasons why people are cashing in out of central London where values have continued to soften over the past three years or so.

The demographic is largely domestic, but with a definite European edge. The village has a number of desirable primary and Prep schools. King’s College School, on Southside – an independent day school for boys aged 7 to 18 and girls aged 16-18 - is one of the most reputable and sought after. The Study Prep School, an independent school for girls aged 4 to 11, on Camp Road, is also popular.

Parking can be tricky at weekends, and the high street slightly congested, but it feels like an oasis compared to Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon. Therein lies the key - urbanites are once again seeing the value of escaping to the almost country, tired of spending hours on the motorway at each end of a weekend but without having to sacrifice the amenities and convenience of city life.

The Ivy Café opened an outpost in the Village last year, which is doing well. Cote's first ever restaurant is on the high street, plus there are family-friendly staples such as Le Pain Quotidien. The Light House is good, as are pubs around the Common such as The Fox and Grapes or if you want to keep your (sparkling clean) wellies on The Crooked Billet has roaring fires and a mean Sunday roast. Patara, a Thai restaurant, has recently opened while the Fire Stables has made a welcome return.

There are some charming independent shops such as Evie Loves Toast, as well as the usual high-street chains including Jigsaw and Matches. There is a really good bookshop – Wimbledon Books – a good florist, the Bayley & Sage deli, and more unusual offerings such as Castrads – a family business selling reassuringly expensive iron radiators. The Village may be buzzing during Wimbledon fortnight but there is plenty to attract people all year round.

 

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