Let The Festive Feasting Begin!

With 80 places to eat in Wimbledon, indulge your taste buds this festive season with feel-good meals full of comforting ingredients and rich flavours.

Whether you’re thinking about a Christmas party with colleagues, sharing festive platters with family, cosy catch-ups with friends or simply enjoying quality roasts (with all the trimmings of course!), Wimbledon is full of great eateries to help you eat, drink and be merry this Christmas. Remember, you can view the full range of eateries in Wimbledon Town Centre where you can filter your search by the type of cuisine you’re after, or even search specifically for ‘healthy eating’ venues.

Feel-Good Vegan Food

With a whole sushi menu that’s all vegan, Sticks’n’Sushi are bringing plant-based Japanese-inspired dining to your plate this Christmas. Savour the flavours of fried Jerusalem artichoke sushi and Imo Yaki sticks, with Yuzu sorbet to finish. Pick through vegan tapas at Lu-Ma, Wimbledon’s award-winning independent café, with a menu full of healthy vegetarian and vegan options. New sleighing specials are available at Leon Wimbledon including the sNOw Turk*y Burger – a crispy vegan turk*y patty, served with braised red cabbage, Gouda-style cheeze, cranberry sauce and crunchy slaw. Perfect when paired with a side of roasted sweetcorn ribs, smothered in truffle mayo and Italian cheese shavings. Wagamama now has a 50% plant based menu, with vegan showstoppers including the spicy teriyaki vegan ‘chicken’ hirata buns for starters and the tofu firecracker for a fiery main. Hungry for more?

Sipping Into The Season

Have fun with friends over festive Bottomless Brunches at The Old Frizzle, and The Garratt and Gauge, or head to other cosy local pubs like The AlexandraPrince of Wales and for mulled wine receptions, larger loving and popular G&T’s.

For a limited time only Hotel Chocolat have paired up with All Bar One for Christmas Cocktails you can’t resist – Midnight Tiramisu, Clementine Chocolat Martini and Mint Royale. Or go for Bills ultimate Christmas Cocktail: Gin-gle bells – a beautiful balance of Whitley Neill raspberry gin, Chambord and pineapple juice, with an edible reindeer topper and a cherry-red nose for just £2.99!

Try a non-alcoholic non-conventional twist on bubbles this Christmas with warm gingerbread-flavoured bubble teas at Multea Choice or hot frothy Matcha Lattes at Cafe Mori.

Street Food Friendly

Where can you find traditional Christmas treats and delicious international street food all in one place? Pop down to our Christmas Markets on The Piazza, running every weekend until Christmas, to get your answer and pick up unique stocking fillers or gifts while you eat and browse. For more street food feasting head to Hartfield Walk or Queens Rd Market.

So support our local pubs, delicious restaurants and welcoming cafés, and choose to #EatLocal this Christmas. See the full list here.

Love Wimbledon gets a YES!

The businesses of Wimbledon Town Centre have confirmed their support for Love Wimbledon BID with an 85% majority YES vote in our renewal ballot, enabling our activities and support to continue for another five years.

This will provide an additional £2.5m worth of investment into the town centre for projects including: greening, events, marketing, crime reduction, cleaning and place-making.

Love Wimbledon continually aspires to make Wimbledon a better place to visit; from family-friendly trails to our Christmas Tree, murals to Hartfield Walk, our popular markets to Winter Wonderland, and our Big Screen Tennis to Autumn Arts activities. It is about making Wimbledon more active and attractive, and creating a town that people want to visit and work in. Delivering events is just one of our key objectives, and probably is the most publicly recognised.

Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District (BID) is a not-for-profit organisation that is paid for and run by local businesses within our Wimbledon Town Centre BID boundary. Businesses fund the BID through an annual levy. All Business Improvement Districts must go to ballot every five years to secure support from the business community.

Receiving a ‘YES’ result, means that our BID businesses have supported Love Wimbledon’s work to continue, and their funding will allow us to continue to deliver for our next five year term (2022-2027). Our three aims for the next five years are to:

  • Create better places, spaces and experience
  • Promote and support business
  • Become greener and more sustainable

A big thank you to you all, the businesses and the wider community of residents, visitors and employees, who have supported us through the last five years.

Together we can ensure a brighter future for Wimbledon Town Centre.

 

Spotlight On: Fielders

Having been recently awarded Best Arts and Crafts Store in South West London (in the 2021 UK Enterprise Awards hosted by SME-News), we’re shining a light on small, independent and family owned business Fielders. With eye-catching window displays that add a pop of colour and character to Wimbledon Hill Road, find out more about the go-to destination for DIY and crafty inspiration.

1) Tell us more about Fielders and how you begun..

Fielders was founded in 1928 by brothers, Ernest and William Fielder who bought a small booksellers and stationers in Wimbledon for their wives. Most of the photographs of ‘Old’ Wimbledon available in the archives of the Wimbledon Museum and Merton Library were taken by these two brothers and their father George Fielder. The company is now run by one of George’s great grandsons, Ian Fielder and is the oldest retail business in Wimbledon that is still under the same family ownership and management, as when it began.

2) What kinds of products do you offer?

As a destination for quality fine art materials, Fielders stock an ever-evolving range of craft materials and a have a brilliant in-house framing workshop staffed with 3 professionally-qualified framers. Find everything inside from crochet kits, acrylic paints, sketchbooks, pretty ribbons, face mask fabrics and lots more.

   

2) With Halloween around the corner and Christmas fast-approaching, what can we expect to see in store?

We are running a Pumpkin Decorating competition for kids this Halloween and kicking off the Love Wimbledon Hocus Pocus trail from our front doors. Pop inside for lots of black-and-orange-themed crafts and keep an eye out for our upcoming Christmas Wreath Decorating Challenge. Pick up our wooden stags and deers (made from brown paper) and have a go at decorating them in your own festive way – whether with paint, decoupage or décopatch paper.

With great quirky products available such as seafood-themed crochet kits and timber modelled oceanic scenes, you’ll never struggle with DIY inspiration for any events when at Fielders – however strange or wonderful!

3) Can you provide any creative ideas for upcycling?

There really isn’t much that cannot be freshly painted with sprays or acrylics! How about an old bike painted in neon pink for a Cancer Research charity ride? Add a pop of colour to a plain bedroom wall with hanging origami art or create your own macrame wall decor. Our staff are always on hand to help our customers’ creative ideas so pop down and have a chat with us.

4) What are some of the most interesting things that you’ve seen your customers create, using products from your store?

Recent “makes” have included painting tree stumps in Wimbledon Town Centre, making bug brooches from Origami paper, and our framing department is currently framing some rock fossils. Last week we were asked to frame a “green man” latex mask, a Grayson Perry silk scarf and a Watford football shirt!

 

Fielders is located at 54 Wimbledon Hill Rd, SW19 7PA and offer 10% off to students and NHS staff. #LoveLocal and visit the store today.

 

Half Term and Halloween Fun

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment for the kids this half-term, some spooky seasonal adult fun or just great autumn events to welcome in the colder months, Wimbledon has an abundance of activity this October.

For the kids and free

The Wimbledon Hocus Pocus Trail kicks off on the 16th October (until 31st October). Dust off your broomsticks and hats and join Love Wimbledon’s FREE video-led trail around Wimbledon Town Centre. With your wands at the ready, begin at Fielders Art Shop and look for the Hocus Pocus poster. Scan the QR code, watch the videos of our wonderful wizard Merlin to find clues and solve the riddle. Be sure to make a stop at Multea Choice and Polka Theatre along the way for a special treat and pick up your certificate at the end of the trail!

 

For creative fingers, enter in a Pumpkin Decorating Competition before Monday 25th October for a chance to win a mystery prize at Fielders, or head down to Centre Court Shopping Centre’s No Carve Pumpkin Station on 30th October (11 – 4pm) with themed games, stories and demonstrations. Plus the opportunity for children to have a go at dressing pumpkins using crafty goods, including bandages, glitter and more.

Wolves have seized power at Polka Theatre! Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, discover the world of RED and voyage across Polka, through woods and swampland in an adventure like no other. Book your tickets here for this exciting visual and physical storytelling production and follow the action along with actors, exploring the brilliant new Polka Theatre building! Running until October 31st.

Why not make a day of it? Explore the wonderful newly-redeveloped Polka venue, featuring indoor and outdoor play spaces, a friendly café, a colourful kids shop stocked with children’s toys (puppets, creative kits, etc.), and a book corner to read with your child. The theatre is also hosting a Halloween Shadows creepy craft workshop on Tuesday 26th October, an Autumn Senses multi-sensory storytelling workshop on Friday 29th October and a Power Poets spoken word masterclass on Thursday 28th October.

Wimbledon Library has a Multi-Sports Sessions for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October from 9 – 10am. Advance booking is required.

For adults

Enjoy free Prosecco (or Nosecco) while taking part in Centre Court Shopping Centre’s autumn floristry workshop, Pumpkins and Prosecco. From 6.30 – 8.30pm on 21st October, join the session to choose a pumpkin from the locally sourced selection and be taught how to create a stunning autumnal floral display that you can take home beautifully gift-wrapped. All materials and equipment included. Finish your evening in Queen’s Rd Market bar with bespoke cocktails and live music on a Thursday night.
Limited tickets are available.

Up for a night out? Many of the pubs and bars in Wimbledon are celebrating Halloween with special drinks or events.

Trick or treat yourself to a deliciously frightening evening at plant-based café Lu-Ma for their Halloween Supper Club, featuring canapés, cocktails and a 3 course meal: Friday 29th October, 7 – 9pm.

Fancy skipping the Halloween buzz? We’ve got you covered..

Listen to the soothing sounds of jazz in the tranquil surroundings of Lu-Ma café whilst enjoying your favourite meal and tipple, on Saturday 23 October 6-9pm for a very special Jazz Night with saxophonist Andy ‘Bones’ Shaw.

Indulge in foodie haven at our Local Market on The Piazza (Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st October, 11am – 6pm) located in front of Wimbledon Morrisons. Try superb street food, savour the aromas of freshly-baked bread or dive into decadent desserts, olives and cheeses – all whilst browsing unique art, bespoke jewellery, homewares and accessories from independent makers and creators.

Held in the intimate setting of the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre, hear a unique and unusual story about friendship, love and loss, set to the sounds of live epic pop songs : Epic Love and Pop Songs is running from Saturday 19th October – Saturday 23rd October.

Laugh it up with live comedy every Saturday either at Queens Rd Market (7.30 – 10pm) or Tunnel 267 (8 – 10pm), or giggle away at LGBTQ+ venue CMYK every Tuesday for their Late Gay Comedy Show (9 – 11pm).

See what else is on this October in Wimbledon via our What’s On pages.

Spotlight On: New Wimbledon Theatre

An iconic landmark in Wimbledon Town Centre for over 100 years, New Wimbledon Theatre was forced to close last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has recently re-opened with a stellar line-up of performances including musicals, comedy, family entertainment, dance, drama and their upcoming legendary annual pantomime.

The theatre is also home to the Studio, where you can watch epic entertainment from new writers, comedians and producers in an intimate setting. Offering a wide range of performances to enjoy up close and personal, from comedy to drama and three topical new shows from hot writers this season.

We chatted with Nick Parr, Theatre Director, to find out more about their big return!

Tell us a little bit about New Wimbledon Theatre and the Studio.
The New Wimbledon Theatre opened on Boxing Day 1910 with our first ever panto, Jack and Jill. With over 1,600 seats, we’ve welcomed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen over the years. We’ve also become a popular filming location, and you may spot us in some of your favourite films and TV shows. The Studio is a great 80 seat black box theatre where we are able to host the best in comedy, new writing and our very own Fringe festival #FromTheFringe which will return in 2022.

How does it feel to re-open after such a long time?
It’s great to be back, we believe this is the longest closure the theatre has ever gone through – 503 days. It first closed during WW2 for a brief period around 1940, and then again when there was a change in management. We’ve got a great programme of shows, bringing Wimbledon the best of the West End in the main house, and some great new writing in the Studio with our Premieres season. The team here can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best.

What upcoming shows are a must-see?
We have a wealth of shows direct from the West End including Jersey Boys, School of Rock and Dreamgirls. We will also be rocking out with Bat Out of Hell and We Will Rock You.

What can we expect from this year’s panto?
Lots of laughs! Shane Richie stars as Dick Whittington and we cannot wait to have panto back after missing it in 2020. The ultimate magical pantomime adventure.

How have things changed since Covid-19?
We are operating paperless with e-tickets becoming the norm. There has been no change in capacity and we have been so pleased to welcome our audiences back in a safe way. To ensure the continued safety of our visitors and staff, currently, all attendees over the age of 18 will be required to provide proof of their COVID-19 status to gain entry to the venue. You can find out more on our website.

 

Check out our What’s On pages for more performances and shows by New Wimbledon Theatre and remember to support our local arts in their return. #LoveLocal 

Wimbledon’s Rainbow Crossing Returns!

Wimbledon’s Rainbow Crossing Gets A New Look!

The UK’s first rainbow crossing was created in Wimbledon Town Centre in 2019 by Merton Council and Love Wimbledon BID. After a short break, the crossing has returned with a slightly different look and even more colour.

Situated outside New Wimbledon Theatre, the crossing, which acts as a symbol to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, now features an updated ‘Progress Pride’ flag to include representation for black and trans pride. Delivered by Merton Council, this will be the first rainbow crossing in London with the new design – the chevron of black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, with blue, pink and white stripes to represent trans people. The white also symbolises those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS, and the chevron points to the right to show forward movement, indicating progress.

The crossing has been relocated to a new location 50m west of The Broadway, after the entrance space outside the theatre was extended to create a new public space.

As well as providing a welcoming diversity message, the crossing offers colourful joy to schoolchildren, shoppers and culture-lovers who are passing by. It acts as a celebratory reminder for Wimbledon’s first LGBTQ+ bar CMYK, home to great queer DJs and drag entertainment located just a brief walk away from the crossing.

Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive of the Love Wimbledon BID, commented:

We’re very glad to see the rainbow crossing return to Wimbledon, with a new and more inclusive design to represent the broader LGBTQ+ community. As well as creating a warm welcome to all, the crossing contributes to the growing arts and cultural scene in Wimbledon and is an absolute joy to see.

Merton Council delivered the crossing with FM Conway Contractors.

To find more hidden gems in Wimbledon’s cultural scene, including innovative street art and architectural secrets, click here.

YMCA Wimbledon Redevelopment Begins

On Friday 23rd July, YMCA Wimbledon welcomed local stakeholders to an exciting ground-breaking celebration to mark the beginning of works to redevelop the site.

In December 2020, plans were approved by Merton Council’s Planning Committee, to transform the existing YMCA Wimbledon premises into a new state-of-the-art YMCA building, alongside an adjoining development of 135 new homes and two new commercial units at ground floor.

The redevelopment, led by YMCA St Paul’s Group and their development partner Thornsett, will enable YMCA to continue their work in the borough, which has been ongoing for the past 150 years, and to deliver wider benefits to the community.

Computer Generated Image of the new YMCA Wimbledon

The current building requires urgent modernisation. The scheme will provide 121 hostel rooms with en-suite bathrooms and cooking facilities, to help give residents a better quality of life and support them back into independent living. YMCA residents and the Wimbledon community will also benefit from new and improved, affordable facilities, including a gym, bigger studio space for fitness classes, a children’s area and brand-new YMCA café. The adjoining development residential development is expected to help address an under-provision of homes suitable for first time buyers in the borough.

Image of YMCA prior to redevelopment

Commenting on the commencement of construction, Councillor Eleanor Stringer, Joint Deputy Leader of Merton Council and Cabinet Member for Children and Education:

“I am delighted to be able to mark the start of a new future for the YMCA in the borough. It is exciting to see work begin to provide enhanced accommodation for vulnerable young people locally and to offer facilities that will benefit the whole community, as well as much-needed new homes.”

Richard James, CEO of YMCA St Paul’s Group, added:

“This is an extremely exciting moment for YMCA St Paul’s Group, our residents and the local community, as we break ground on the new YMCA Wimbledon. Our vision is to create places where young people thrive and communities flourish and this new state-of-the-art YMCA building will enable just that. We’re grateful to the local residents, Merton Council, Thornsett, Neilcott and Councillor Stringer for their support of this important development.”

Construction is expected to be complete by 2025. Find out more here.

 

Wimbledon Pie Bake-Off

To celebrate their re-opening and the opening gala performance: Waitress the Musical, New Wimbledon Theatre, are inviting you to enjoy a slice of pie at the judging day of their local pie contest.

Thursday 2nd September on The Piazza (outside Morrison’s): event from 12pm with final judging at 3pm.

Pies will be available for sampling after the final judging.

Businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre and their employees, will be putting their baking skills to the test and competing to find out who can reign supreme!

The contest is centred around protagonist Jenna, of musical comedy Waitress, who creates some wild and wonderful pie creations, such as Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, Pineapple Upside Down Pie and A Little Wild Wild Berry Pie.

Competing for a special gift and tickets to the show, businesses will be judged against categories such as: best looking pie, most inventive ingredients, best themed pie, and lots more.

So head down to The Piazza on Thursday 2nd September from 12pm to join in on the fun, and get your tickets for the show here.

 

About the Show

Meet Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of some happiness in her life. When a hot new doctor arrives in town, life gets complicated. With the support of her workmates Becky and Dawn, Jenna overcomes the challenges she faces and finds that laughter, love and friendship can provide the perfect recipe for happiness.

 

Polka Theatre Re-opens

Following a major refurbishment, Polka Theatre will begin to re-open from 16th August with a host of free activities for everyone.

 

Polka Theatre, the UK’s first theatre designed specifically for 0-12 year olds, is re-opening its doors with an exciting season of new productions and free activities for the whole family this August. Following its two-and-a-half-year closure, Polka will once again be bringing world class family theatre and creative learning activities to London.

The new state-of-the-art and eco-friendly building now houses two auditoriums: the flexible Adventure Theatre, which is the first purpose-built UK theatre for under 6s, and the fully refurbished Main Theatre, with new seating and decoration. The completely revitalised venue will provide unrivalled facilities for families and schools, including:

  • An indoor play space in the new Y C Chan Play Den
  • A sensory garden
  • A playground with a bespoke treehouse climbing frame
  • A large and airy café
  • A dedicated rehearsal and community space called The Nest
  • A purpose-built, interactive sensory suite designed for use by children with sensory and special educational needs, installed in the new Clore Learning Studio.
  • Improved accessibility has also been greatly, including level access to the stage for performers and children for the first time.

To kick off Polka’s opening season, the theatre have unveiled three brilliant productions that will be performed in the new building from 25 September.

  • RED
    An exciting visual and physical storytelling production with British Sign Language. Journey through forests and swamplands as you help search for RED and missing Queen Sukotai. But watch out for those sleeping wolves!

    Running Sat 25 Sep – Sun 31 Oct, perfect for ages 6+.
  • Cinderella: the AWESOME truth
    Think you know the story of Cinderella? Think again. Cindy and Ella are the REAL ugly sisters and they couldn’t be more different. When they meet a fairy godmother who’s not what she seems it’s up to Ella to save her sister before the clock strikes 12. Join us for a magical topsy-turvy adventure, we’re going to have a ball!
    Running Fri 12 Nov – Sun 30 Jan, for ages 5+
  • The Night before Christmas
    Bringing Christmas Eve to life in this festive production with original music, puppets and Polka magic. Meet 6 year old Amber (who really loves reindeers), her grumpy grandad and a surprise visitor who turns Amber’s world topsy-turvy.
    Running Sat 4 Dec – Sun 16 Jan, perfect for children aged 3 – 7.

In the meantime, until 28th August, the Polka team are setting up shop in Centre Court Shopping Centre with a new pop-up theatre space. Maanika and The Wolf is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, perfect for 3-6 year olds. The pop-up production blends the past and the present, the real and the imagined, as a grandmother returns to her childhood bedroom recalling stories from when she was a young girl. Talking to her granddaughter over Zoom, she brings her Indian dressing-up box back to life and re-enacts her own version of Little Red Riding Hood. But why is there another wolf on the phone and why does her granddaughter Ruby keep trying to change the story?

Polka Theatre will reopen to the public from Monday 16th August and offer a range of free activities for young children, including hands-on creativity in the newly planted Wimbledon Foundation Garden and the multi-sensory space, as well as lively and interactive story sessions. It will also host Polka’s Freefalling group, made up of children who face challenging circumstances at home or at school, a Youth Theatre summer school, and research and development sessions with Polka artists. Continuing to pioneer children’s theatre and creative learning in the UK, Polka aims to use their new building to continue to inspire young audiences, school groups and families in and around the local community and beyond.

For all Polka activities, workshops and shows, visit our What’s On page and filter by ‘kids’.

 

Wimbledon’s First Breathe Café

Do you ever find yourself seeking a place where you can retreat and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Somewhere you can take a deep breath, eat nourishing food and find some support?

Local healthy eating café Lu-Ma have collaborated with mental health charity, Shawmind, to open the first ‘Breathe Café’ in Wimbledon Town Centre.

The concept of a Breathe Café, was created by mental health charity Shawmind, and is a safe space where the public can go and read books in the wellbeing library, connect with a volunteer and find resources to help support them. Breathe Cafés are not clinics or therapy sessions, and volunteers provide signposting and active listening support only – it does not replace the advice of a mental health professional. The idea stems from the notion that early intervention in this way, can help head off more serious mental health challenges in individuals in the future.

Maria Jessiman, co-owner of the family-run café added:

“We look forward to opening a space where people can feel seen, heard and valued without judgement. All our food is created with the purpose to help keep the mind and body in balance. We are proud to be creating a hub in the heart of Wimbledon to help support our community in other ways. We know how much mental health and wellbeing matters, especially after the past year.”

The plant-based healthy food café Lu-Ma, was born out of a desire to provide a hub in the heart of Wimbledon to help support the physical and mental wellbeing of the community. Mental health has always been something close to Maria and her family’s heart. This new initiative adds another dimension to the café which has previously held wellbeing events, meditations and courses, and looks to continue to do more in the future.

You can find a well-being library, resources and a volunteer trained in active listening, all within the café – located at 43 Worple Road, Wimbledon, SW19 4JZ. Simply scan the QR code which is visible throughout the venue. To find out more click here.