Just one mention of Wimbledon conjures up images of sultry summer nights with Pimm’s, strawberries and cream. But this affluent town in South-West London has far more to offer its visitors than just tennis and for somewhere so close to London is surprisingly green. Read on to discover more about this leafy suburb and some of the best outdoor things to do in Wimbledon with kids.
Explore Wimbledon & Putney Commons
Top of our list of outdoor things to do in Wimbledon with kids is explore Wimbledon Common. Spread over 1140 acres, Wimbledon Common is one of the largest areas of common land in London and one of its best outdoor spaces.
With a combination of woodland, heathland and open fields, there’s plenty of room to explore play, climb trees and build dens. Plus, you’ll find flat paths for walking and several cycle routes.
And it’s not just for kids, Wimbledon Common is an extremely popular spot with walkers, runners, and cyclists of all ages. Of course, it’s also an ideal place for dog-walkers.
The commons are a special conservation area and provide a fantastic green space to enjoy nature in a stunning landscape. Nature-lovers should keep an eye out for the nine ponds, where kids can spot birds and wildlife.
Or if they prefer history, children can follow the path to Caesar’s Camp, an ancient Iron Age hillfort dating from 700 BC.
Hunt for Wombles
As a child my grandparents lived in Putney, so we spent many weekends on Wimbledon & Putney Commons looking for Wombles.
For those young enough to be wondering what I’m talking about, Wombles were a fictional family of furry, long-noised creatures who lived underground on Wimbledon Common. The Wombles became a popular tv series, with the stars being the leading eco-warriors of their generation. Days were spent “collecting rubbish that the everyday folk had left behind”.
Despite my valiant efforts, I never spotted any of the Wombles, but did have a lot of fun looking and singing wombling songs.
Visit the Wimbledon Windmill & Museum
One of the most unusual things to see on the common is the windmill. Built in 1817 by a local carpenter, Wimbledon Windmill remained in working use until 1864.
Its purpose was to provide a mill for locals who were unhappy with factory-produced flour. After some legal squabbles about the ownership of the commons, they converted the mill into accommodation for six local families.
Today the windmill is an important landmark for Wimbledon Common. It was restored in 1975 and again in 1999, when the sails resumed working. It is now home to the Wimbledon Windmill Museum, which houses exhibits related to the history of milling and windmills.
You can tour inside the windmill and even see a recreation of the living space in the 1870s.
After your visit leave some time for a visit to the café, The Wimbledon Tea Rooms, which serves tasty homemade cakes and goodies.
There’s a car park next to the Windmill, but it does get busy. Parking is free, but donations are welcome.
Play in Wimbledon Park
Wimbledon Park is an enormous recreational area near to the Tennis Club. It offers a vast open space for sport and games and has plenty of activities for children.
Unsurprisingly, in a town famous for tennis, Wimbledon Park has 20 tennis courts for public use. It also has football pitches, beach volley and an athletics track.
For younger children and toddlers, there is a playground and paddling pools. There are also some ornamental gardens, with a small waterfall if you fancy a stroll.
Enjoy watersports on Wimbledon Park Lake
Within Wimbledon Park, you’ll see one of the largest lakes in South London. This is a beautiful area of the park, designed in the 18th Century by English landscape artist, Capability Brown. The large lake is very tranquil and attracts lots of waterfowl, so remember some duck food!
The lake is an awesome place to visit if your children like watersports. The Wimbledon Park Watersports and Outdoor Centre offers kids sessions for a range of paddling sports such as canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding (SUPs). They also have sailing sessions for both children and adults.
Follow a nature trail in South Park Gardens
South Park Gardens is a beautiful Victorian park and pavilion within walking distance from the town centre. It opened in 1901 but was restored in 2008 using funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The park has flat, accessible paths and neat flowerbeds. There are several trails for children to follow and discover the different trees and birds in the park. South Park Gardens attracts over 23 varieties of birds, including the tropical green ring-neck parakeets.
Take a stroll in Cannizaro Park
Cannizaro Park is a public park behind the Hotel du Vin on West Side Common Road. With its landscaped gardens and exquisite flowerbeds, it is more formal than Wimbledon Park, but still a great place to take children.
The park covers 34 acres and has a varied landscape, with different themed gardens. Look out for the Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Sunken Garden, and popular Italian Garden.
For something less formal, head to the lake or woodland area. Plus, there’s plenty of grassy areas for children to play on and statues to find. We even found an ancient pet cemetery in one corner of the grounds.
Cannizaro Park is a haven for wildlife and children will love the Aviary. It has a selection of small birds who are looked after by local volunteers.
Solve a murder mystery on a Wimbledon Treasure Trail
One of the best ways to explore Wimbledon Village and its surroundings is with a treasure trail.
If you’re new to treasure trails, they are a self-guided themed walk with clues to solve a secret mission. The Wimbledon Village treasure trail is a murder mystery.
Our mission was to eliminate suspects and weapons, to unveil the identity of the crook. The clues were on permanent features, such as plaques on the walls or monuments.
The trail took us on a long trail stopping at places in Wimbledon Village, Wimbledon Park, and some of the stylish backstreets of Wimbledon.
It’s a great way to explore a town and spot some of the more historic sights. We enjoyed it so much we’ve done another one in the historic village of Odiham in Hampshire.
Wimbledon Village has a great café culture, so you’ll find plenty of places to eat after a trip to the park or common.
Take a tour of Wimbledon Tennis Courts
Of course, we can’t talk about things to do in Wimbledon without a mention of the tennis.
Wimbledon is home to the world’s oldest tennis tournament, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Every summer the best players from around the world gather in Wimbledon to battle for the prestigious championship.
The tournament is hosted by the All-England Lawn Tennis Club for two weeks in June and July. Tickets for the tournament are issued via a lottery system and are like gold dust.
However, if you can’t get tickets, you can still explore the grounds and behind the scenes. The All-England Lawn Tennis Club offers a 90-minute tour of the grounds and visit to their museum.
During this time, you can see where the players walk and sit and learn how to grow the perfect tennis court lawn.
Outdoor places to visit near Wimbledon
Just 6 miles to the east of Wimbledon is Richmond Park. This fantastic park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks and another great open space. One of the main attractions at Richmond Park is the 650 deer who roam freely and can easily be spotted when you visit.
Another highlight of Richmond Park is the Isabella Plantation, an ornamental woodland garden. Visit in late Spring when the garden comes alive with the colours of the azaleas and rhododendrons.
Deen City Farm
If you have younger children, Deen City Farm in Morden is a fun place to visit near Wimbledon. This urban farm has a variety of animals, including all the farmyard favourites such as goats, sheep, pigs, and cows. They also have some more unusual animals like alpaca and ferrets.
Deen City Farm is one of London’s oldest City Farms and provides an educational environment for children to learn about animals. Children can visit the paddocks or feed the animals.
After your farm visit, follow the River Wandle to the nearby Morden Hall Park. Owned by the National Trust, this park is free to visit. It has parkland, wetlands, and waterways for kids to explore, as well as some historic 18th century mills.
Just past Richmond Park is another famous Royal Park, Bushy Park. There’s more deer here, but also a playground, totem pole and fountain. Kids love exploring the woodland gardens, with its pretty waterways and bridges.
There’s a good café, with outdoor seating, The Pheasantry or an abundance of picturesque places to enjoy a picnic.
Getting to Wimbledon
Wimbledon is in the southwest of London in the south of England. It is about 8 miles from the City of London. Wimbledon is in the borough of Merton and is close to Richmond and Kingston-upon-Thames.
If you are travelling by car, take the A3. However, you should avoid rush hour as it can get very busy.
Wimbledon has two train stations, Southfields underground station (district line) or Wimbledon train station. The journey takes just over 30 minutes from London Waterloo.
What are your favourite outdoor things to do in Wimbledon with kids? We’d love to hear your comments below.
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