As an all-round sports family we reckon that Wimbledon probably offers the strongest sporting opportunities in and around London. Let’s start with my son. He’s a junior member of Wimbledon Part Golf Club, which is a decent standard, well maintained and runs numerous competitions. Next stop for him will be Royal Wimbledon, frequently used by tour players and whose course is a privately-owned section of Wimbledon Common. When the weather is a deterrent he takes himself down to the nearby World of Golf driving range where he practices both driving and putting.
My daughter is very much into horse riding which is fine because there are two stables in Wimbledon Village – Ridgway Stables (her favourite) and Wimbledon Village Stables next to The Dog & Fox. Both stables seem to be run very professionally and my daughter who started pony riding when she was five years old is now taking her BHS riding examinations with them. Although we now own all the equipment in triplicate, the stables provide everything a novice rider will need.
My wife, who works part-time, is seriously into tennis. Several times during the week she plays with Ladies groups in the mid-morning at Westside Lawn Tennis Club. This is a private open-air club with some 14 courts. On Saturday and Sunday afternoon they run “social tennis” sessions which ensures that everyone who pitches up is guaranteed a game. She is also a member of the local David Lloyd Rackets Club which enables her to play indoors during the winter. For convenience there are two altrnative outdoor clubs to Westside – the Wimbledon Club which is generally of a lower playing standard but offers more comfort or the Wilton Club in Wimbledon Chase which is much smaller with just 4 courts and is very sociable (cliquey?).
My sporting passion is mountain biking which I indulge at weekends. During the week I keep fit in the gym. Wimbledon is certainly one of the best strating points for cycling. One of my favourite routines is the ride through Wimbledon Common, along the Beverly Brook and into Richmond Park. I then complete a couple of circuits of the Park on the gravel (off-road ) path and then home for a hot bath. That’s approximately 20 miles with three steepish hills en route and one long steady 15 degree gradient. For an even more scenic training ride I take the same route into Richmond Park and then exit for Ham House and ride along the tow-path past Richmond, Brentford, Kew, Barnes and then return via Putney Common to Wimbledon.
As ever there are no shortage of gyms. If you want facilities such as a 20 metre pool and don’t care about indifferent service then Esporta is worth checking out. Cannons is in the centre of Wimbledon but allows in children. If you are serious about your fitness and want a more personal trainer approach then F.I.T in Wimbledon Village might suit you.