Best known for its world famous tennis championships, Wimbledon is a leafy suburb in south west London. With excellent transport links to central London and lots of wide open green spaces, it’s no surprise that Wimbledon property is in demand. But what’s it like to live in Wimbledon? Here’s a local’s guide to the area.
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Where is Wimbledon?
Wimbledon is in the London Borough of Merton, with an SW19 postcode. It lies south of Putney and the River Thames, and just a few miles north of the borders of Surrey. By car, it’s 9 miles from central London. Wimbledon is an expansive area with a wide demographic that includes Wimbledon town and the Village, South Wimbledon and Wimbledon Chase.
10 great reasons to live in Wimbledon
I’ve lived in both the town and village and I can confirm: Wimbledon is a great place to live. But like everywhere it has its pros and cons. Here are 10 reasons to live in Wimbledon:
- Town meets country: Wimbledon combines urban convenience with a rural feel
- Transport links: direct routes to London and the south via train, underground and tram
- Green spaces: over 1000 acres of Wimbledon Common plus several local parks
- Schools: excellent state and independent schools
- Variety of housing: from studio pads to mega mansions, Wimbledon has it all
- Local shopping: plush boutiques, high street chains and its own department store
- Eating out: lots of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs
- Entertainment: two theatres and two cinemas, local concerts, live music, art shows
- Sport and fitness: golf, horse-riding, tennis, boating, running, plus several fitness centres
- The Tennis Championships: all eyes are on Wimbledon in July for the globally famous tournament at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Church Road.
Why live in Wimbledon?
With quick and easy connections to central London, wide open green spaces that feel like proper countryside, fun places to shop and socialise plus some excellent schools, it’s no wonder that Wimbledon is a desirable place to live.
So let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of living in Wimbledon London.
Wimbledon: Where town meets country
Wimbledon is genuinely a point where town and country meet. The Village on the top of the hill dates back to medieval times, even earlier if you count evidence of Iron Age hill forts in Caesar’s Camp on the Common. And for centuries the clean air and distant views attracted the well-to-do and gentry from London.
The arrival of the railways in the nineteenth century turned the focus to the bottom of Wimbledon hill. The town grew up and prospered around the railway station as the train made it quick and easy to get into central London. Streets of terraced houses, villas and shops sprang up to keep pace with the spreading transport links.
Nowadays locals living in Wimbledon still enjoy airy open spaces up in the Village, plus all the convenience of shops and transport links in the town centre.
Transport links from Wimbledon
In a nutshell, Wimbledon has great transport links to central London. It’s the only station in the capital that interlinks National Rail, London Underground and Tramlink.
Here are some transport facts and figures for Wimbledon. (All times are approximate and can vary throughout the day.)
Wimbledon railway station, is in Oyster card Zone 3, on the South Western Railway network. From Wimbledon direct trains run frequently to London Waterloo and take 17 minutes. With a change at Clapham Junction you can reach London Victoria station in 22 mins. Nearby Raynes Park station is also on the SWR network.
The Thameslink service stops at Wimbledon and takes 38 mins to London Blackfriars and 42 mins to London St Pancras International. Wimbledon Chase and Haydons Road railway stations are also on Thameslink.
The District Line underground (tube) service runs from Wimbledon direct to Earls Court in 22 mins, 31 mins to Westminster. District line tubes also stop at Wimbledon Park and Southfields (handy for the Tennis).
South Wimbledon tube station is on the Northern Line and tubes take 28 mins to Moorgate.
Wimbledon has tram services too. The Croydon Tramlink service stops at Wimbledon station and neighbouring tramstops at Dundonald Road and Merton Park. It crosses South London to Beckenham.
How to get to the airport from Wimbledon
Wimbledon is also handily situated for air travel. Heathrow is 40 mins by car, Gatwick is 50 mins by train. London City airport can be reached in an hour using a combo of train, tube and DLR. Luton is on the Thameslink line and takes 1 hr 15 mins.
Green spaces in Wimbledon
Wimbledon and Putney Commons merge on the hill above their respective towns and add up to over 1000 acres of woods, plain and heathland. This is common land for everyone to enjoy whether walking, cycling, riding horses, playing golf or dozing in the sunshine. It’s also a designated special area of conservation and an important wildlife habitat.
From Wimbledon Common you can cross the A3 to Richmond Park for even more of the great outdoors.
Living in Wimbledon gives you access to lovely parks too. Cannizaro Park, adjacent to the Common, mixes formal planting with woodland areas; Wimbledon Park, on grounds originally landscaped by Capability Brown, has a lake and sports facilities and pretty Victorian South Park Gardens is close to the town centre.
Sport and fitness in Wimbledon
All this green space is great motivation to get outside for a walk, jog or cycle ride. If you live in Wimbledon there’s plenty of outdoor activities to take part in, with running and tennis clubs, golf courses, horse riding, or sailing and kayaking on the lake in Wimbledon Park. The Park also has an athletics track, football pitches and even beach volleyball. And there are plenty of fitness centres and clubs in and around Wimbledon.
Schools in Wimbledon
Wimbledon and surrounding areas have excellent primary schools and secondary schools, including some of the best independent private schools in London. The Norwegian School in London is based here too. These are all a real draw for young families looking to move out from central London to a larger home.
Shopping and eating out in Wimbledon
When it comes to shopping and socialising, Wimbledon again benefits from its town meets country mix. The town has a convenient selection of high street chains and supermarkets, plus its own good small department store, Elys.
While just up the hill in the Village shoppers can browse independent delis, boutiques and home decor stores. It’s a great combination.
The same goes for its restaurants, cafes and pubs. The Village is the place for weekend brunches in pretty locations like The Ivy Cafe and Megans. It also has its fair share of historic old pubs like The Crooked Billet and Fox and Grapes with panelled walls and good Sunday roasts.
But the town has a lively vibe too. The Alexandra pub is a favourite in the town centre and spills out into St Mark’s Place during Wimbledon fortnight. And there’s a global selection of eateries on the Broadway and Wimbledon Hill Road from Sticks and Sushi to Buenos Aires. Basically, you’re spoilt for choice.
Going out in Wimbledon
Wimbledon is a family-friendly suburb. And you won’t find many (if any!) late night clubs and bars here. If Shoreditch is your thing, then Wimbledon might not be the best place to settle just yet.
But nor is Wimbledon a sleepy suburb. It has plenty of lively bars and pubs in both town and village. Plus two cinemas, an Odeon and an HMVCurzon, depending on your mood, and two theatres as well.
The Polka Children’s Theatre is world class, with regular new productions for all ages from toddlers to teens. While the historic New Wimbledon Theatre is actually a Grade II listed Edwardian gem. The eighth largest theatre in London it seats more than 1500. It’s now owned by the Ambassador Theatre company and has a packed programme of musicals, drama, dance and pantomimes.
And of course those transport links again. If you live in Wimbledon it’s easy to go into central London for the evening on public transport.
Is Wimbledon an expensive place to live?
There has to be a downside. And Wimbledon isn’t a cheap place to live. But it does have a wide range of housing stock, from studio apartments to contemporary townhouses, period family homes to country-style estates.
An A lister’s pad on Parkside has been widely reported as going on the market at £18 million. And large detached houses close to the Common and Village are currently listed for upward of £5 million. But Wimbledon isn’t all about mega mansions.
A one bedroom flat, in walking distance of Wimbledon station, is currently advertised at £375,000. And three- or four-bedroom period family homes with gardens in leafy streets around SW19 are on the market between £1.25 to £1.5 million.
As Warren Appleton, Manager of John D Wood and Co estate agents in Wimbledon Village puts it: “The further you go into London on the District line, the less you get for your money.” He points out that a lot of buyers come to Wimbledon for the schools, more space, a garden and off-street parking. So whilst not cheap, Wimbledon does compare favourably to Fulham and Chelsea.
What’s it like to live in Wimbledon during the Tennis?
For two weeks in July the eyes of the world turn on Wimbledon for The Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club on Church Road. The only Grand Slam title to be contested on grass courts, it’s the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. And players compete for more than £40 million prize money.
Wimbledon is buzzing during the Tennis! Some let out their homes to players and their entourages. Teens train as ball boys and girls while students get temporary jobs at the Wimbledon grounds. Locals drive the official Tournament cars that ferry the world’s best tennis players to the courts and back for their matches.
Tennis fans arrive by tube, train and car and walk the routes to the AELTC through the Village, Wimbledon Park and Southfields. Those without tickets join the famous Queue for the chance to buy ground passes to the outside courts and Henman Hill/Murray Mound. The most motivated camp out in Wimbledon Park in the hopes of nabbing one of the 500 premium tickets for sale for each day’s play.
Tennis fever grips the Village as shops compete enthusiastically for the best themed window displays. While local pubs set up big screens so you can watch daily coverage of the Championships with a pint or a Pimm’s. There’s even a screen in the town centre if you want to share the excitement with a crowd.
Yes, the Wimbledon Championships causes some local disruption. Roads are closed and buses are re-routed, but most residents look forward to Wimbledon fortnight as a vibrant and colourful interlude each year. Come and join in!
Yes, Wimbledon is part of Greater London and is in the London Borough of Merton. Wimbledon’s post town is London and its post code is SW19.
Wimbledon is a sought-after London suburb with plenty to do for the whole family. It combines urban convenience with rural open spaces and also has great transport links to central London. Wimbledon and the surrounding area have good schools too making it very attractive for families.
The Wombles are a fictional bunch of furry creatures who live in burrows on Wimbledon Common and come out to tidy up the litter after everyone’s gone home. They were the brainchild of children’s author Elisabeth Beresford in the 1970s and the concept went on to become a BBC TV series, a stage play and even a pop group.
Famous names from the past include William Wilberforce who fought to abolish the slave trade, Joseph Bazalgette who introduced some proper plumbing to Victorian London with a modern sewer system and, best known of all, Admiral Horatio Nelson. For a few years before the battle of Trafalgar Nelson shared a love nest in South Wimbledon with Lady Hamilton. ‘Paradise Merton’ he called it.
What to read next
Planning a visit to Wimbledon? You need our guide to the Best Cafes in Wimbledon Summer 2023
and to the Best Pubs in Wimbledon too.
Explore the town and Village with 30 Things to Do in Wimbledon
And find out everything you need to know about the world famous Queue for prime seats at the Wimbledon tennis championships.
If you’ve a few days to spend in London here’s our 2 Day Itinerary with all the essentials you need.
Or check out these 12 Non-touristy Things to Do In London so you can live like a local.
Please note that all visitor information here is for guidance only. Please check the relevant websites for the most up to date information eg. accommodation details, tickets, entrance requirements, opening times etc.
All photos are all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce these photos without prior written permission
About the author Nancy is a former women’s magazine editor and writer who lives in London and is mum to two 20-something boys. In Map&Family she shares info and inspiration for curious travellers: singles and couples as well as families travelling with teens and young adults.