Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wimbledon, a little piece of England

Tucked away in south west London, approximately 10 miles from the centre of London, is the home of the best known tennis championships in the world; Wimbledon. But this great place has a lot more to offer than just the tennis. After game, set and match have been called; why not spend some time in this truly British town and the areas surrounding areas.

Wimbledon Common is almost as famous as the tennis club itself because of the furry little eco-warriors brought to life by the BBC. The Wombles books, written by Elisabeth Beresford, were inspired during a walk on this open space back in the 1920's and if you retrace her steps you can see why she loved it so much. The commons are the perfect spot for a picnic when the weather is kind, and you can see the great British people walking their dogs, playing with their children or just whiling away the hours.

Wimbledon Common, 7 Post Pond
image credit: freedigitalphotos.net
The commons also have some historical features to uncover too. One of these is The Windmill museum. Open summer weekends, this restored windmill educates about the role windmills played in the UK and some local history facts too. It also displays scouting memorabilia, because Robert Baden-Powell wrote some of his 'Scouting for Boys' in this very building.

Wat Buddhapadipa and its grounds are a beauty to behold. This stunning white, Thai structure was the first Buddhist temple to be built in England and can be found on Calonne Road. They welcome visitors and those interested in Buddhism.

No visit to this area is complete without a look around Kew Gardens. The beauty of nature stuns you at every turn. There are the exotic plants in the greenhouses, the formal gardens with different themes, ponds and water gardens, and the tree top walkway. They even have music events in the summer. The British obsession with gardening comes to its peak right here.

And if that isn't enough of the great outdoors for you, then Richmond Park must be your next destination. As far as parks go, this one is a bit special because it's a Royal park, and the largest one to boot. The pride of this 2300 acre space, though, is the deer; 600 of these beautiful creatures and you can usually see them along with other wild life. And for any 'You Tube' fans, see if you can spot 'Fenton'!

Wimbledon Village offers up a different set of things to do. With its feeling of rural England, you can spend some time shopping, eating, drinking and relaxing. You can even get your nails done or your hair coiffed. The buildings are quaint and colourful, all picture book stuff.

The English love a good live production be it a musical or a play, so, as you'd expect there is a fine theatre in Wimbledon. It's an Edwardian building where Noel Coward and Gracie Fields have trodden the boards. The New Wimbledon Theatre puts on shows to rival the West End, and during this year's tennis season there will be Spirit of the Dance combining Irish and Latin dancing in an award-winning production.

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