When most people think ‘Wimbledon’, images of strawberries, tennis racquets and the ubiquitous cry of: “new balls please” spring to mind. But this stunning area of South West London has much more on offer than just tennis. If you’re active and love sports generally, it’s a great place to get out and about, trying different activities. So, rather than dreaming of thrashing it out with the greats for the ultimate of grand slam tennis titles, here’s our guide to some of the other sports on offer in this cosy corner of SW19:
If you’re not already a fanatic, it’s never too late to start. Many footballers and indeed tennis players have admitted to a penchant for golf. And it’s much harder than it looks too (not simply chatting with your friend whilst your caddy’s bent double over the weight of your spanking new Nike slingshots.) You can enjoy playing with the best of them at The Royal Wimbledon Golf Club, but there’s strict criteria for both visitors and members alike. It’s also advisable to be able to play to a reasonable level. As well as this, the club offers fine dining for members. There’s also The London Scottish Golf Club, set on Wimbledon Common, as well as both Wimbledon Park and Wimbledon Common Golf Clubs. So lots of options for all you golf fans out there.
There’s nothing more British than snoozing in the sun whilst watching a spot of cricket on the common. If you’re feeling a bit more energetic you could join the cricket section of the Wimbledon Club, just opposite the All England Club. The club offers cricket opportunities for all ages, with the first team being one of the most successful club sides in the country. Robert Holmes sponsors the excellent ‘Juniors’ section.
Unsurprisingly with such delightful landscape in the shape of the Commons (Wimbledon, Hacking and Richmond), horse riding is a popular pastime. It’s not easy if you’re a beginner, but there’s always the chance to learn no matter what your age. The great thing is you can pursue your passion in the heart of London without being forced to take a trip out of town. The Village Stables is another option, located in the heart of the Village just by the Dog and Fox. A friendly school with lots of experience in helping both beginners and experienced riders alike, it’s a fantastic way to fulfil your riding ambitions.
Snow in Wimbledon? Not quite. But if you’re a keen skier, The Ski Club of Great Britain’s headquarters are in the heart of SW19. The club arranges holidays for skiers looking for a bit more than just a week in the mountains – they tailor each holiday according to your ability, putting you into groups of a similar standard. Plus of course there’s a great social life with events such as the annual summer party proving as popular as ever. You can sign up for their The Edge newsletter too and receive the latest ski news, special offers and promotions.
Always a popular one at garden parties, croquet can be a lovely way of passing a sunny day and is very sociable. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club is a good start – this was in fact founded due to a croquet craze in 1868 – although of course now everyone associates the club with tennis. Croquet was then abandoned in 1882 and after a short revival, was dropped again in 1904. In the 1960s it was brought back permanently. The sport can still be played at Wimbledon today on two of the tennis practice courts which form a full size croquet lawn. If not, you could always buy some hoops and mallets and get teams together yourself!