One can hardly talk about the London Borough of Merton without mentioning the legendary Wimbledon Championships. But the borough is much more than simply the home the world’s oldest tennis tournament. It is incredibly green and, for the most part, it is also well-developed. Merton is filled with stunning sights and lush parks and it is not that far from the city’s centre.
More than a tennis capital
Wimbledon SW19, SW20 is best known as the district that hosts one of the four tennis Grand Slams. There is no doubt that this sport plays an important role in the area’s development. Probably if it wasn’t for the championship, Wimbledon might have been just one of the many London villages. Namely this event transforms the district every summer. Normally a quiet and serene place, the area is swarmed by crowds of sports enthusiasts in late June and early July. Once the big tournament is over, however, everything starts to move at a slower pace. Not many people realise that aside from tennis, Wimbledon is open to many other sports. It has hosted various horse racing, football, and even speed racing events. That is because the district is rich in wide open spaces, among which is the massive Wimbledon Common. The Wimbledon Town Centre, on the other hand, has established itself as one of the most important centres for commuting in south-west London. Although during off-season Wimbledon feels like a small village, it offers access to many high-quality amenities which is why it is one of the borough’s treasures.
If you thought that Wimbledon is leafy, wait until you see Raynes Park SW20. This residential suburb is one of the greenest districts in London’s south-west. From Cannon Hill Common to Cottenham Park Recreation Ground – there is definitely no shortage of parkland in the area. Cannon Hill Common features a magnificent historic woodland on its territory in which some of the trees are 140 years old. But it would be wrong to assume that Raynes Park is a wild and overgrown place which only someone like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan would appreciate. The district has a number of excellent schools, great residential properties and a lively shopping street known as Coombe Lane. Probably the only reason why Raynes Park struggles to match the popularity of Wimbledon is that it does not host a big sports event.
Merton Park SW19 follows a pattern similar to that witnessed in Wimbledon and Raynes Park – plenty of open space areas, excellent transport links and a peaceful atmosphere. The district even has two conservation areas – Wilton Crescent and John Innes. Although Merton Park is in the shadow of its two neighbouring districts, the local houses tend to be bigger and more spectacular than anywhere else in the borough.
Underrated but with a great potential
The thing about the borough of Merton is that it has so much to offer that many of its districts fail to get the recognition they truly deserve. Morden SM4, for instance, has an impressive history. Archaeologists believe that it was inhabited even during the Iron Age and it was a particularly favourite spot of many Celtic tribes. There are a number great landmarks scattered all over the area. One of the most breath-taking of them is the Baitul Futuh Mosque which is the biggest mosque in Western Europe. Many period buildings can be seen in Morden Hall Park and Morden Park.
Mitcham CR4 is yet another underrated district that comfortably sits in the London Borough of Merton. Just like Wimbledon, it is one of the three main commercial centres of the borough. However, unlike most other suburbs in Merton, Mitcham is poorly connected to the rest of London. On the bright side, that has made it much more affordable compared to most other districts in the borough. Given that its’ financial and residential activity is very stable, Mitcham is expected to come back with a bang in a few more years. When that happens, the competition for domination among the districts in the London Borough of Merton will certainly become even more fierce that it already is.
If you are planning to explore the borough of Merton, don’t forget to add the following attractions to your list of stops:
- Wimbledon Common
- Wat Buddhapadipa
- Morden Hall Park
- Mitcham Common
- Southside House