Inventory Site Record

Wimbledon Park (including Wimbledon Golf Course) * (Merton)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

The municipal park is a remnant of the C18th landscape park that Capability Brown laid out for Earl Spencer of Wimbledon House, an estate that dated from the C16th, once owned by Queen Henrietta Maria and later by the Duchess of Marlborough. The estate was broken up from the late C19th, and in 1914 Wimbledon Borough Council purchased the northern part of the parkland and opened Wimbledon Park. Land to the west was purchased for Wimbledon Golf Course and in c.1930 the All England Lawn Tennis Club was established to the west. The lake is a survivor from the earlier landscape and is one of the largest in London.

Practical Information
Site location:
Wimbledon Park Road/Home Park Road
Type of site:
Public Park, Garden Feature Remnants
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am - dusk (weekdays); 9am - dusk (weekends/Bank Holidays)
Special conditions:
Crazy golf, play areas, paddling pool, bowling green, tennis courts, football pitches, café, toilets, car park; Watersports Centre, Athletics Track
Public transport:
Rail/Tube/Tram: Wimbledon. Tube: Wimbledon Park, Southfields (District). Bus: 39, 156
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.merton.gov.uk/environment/openspaces/parks

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

Wimbledon House was built in the C16th, and extensively enlarged for Sir Thomas Cecil in c.1588, at which time it was known as Wimbledon Palace. In 1639 Charles I bought it for Queen Henrietta Maria, for whom it was remodelled by Inigo Jones and Nicholas Stone. It had formal gardens designed by Andre Mollet, and John Evelyn is known to have given advice. In 1717 it was purchased by Sir Theodore Janssen who demolished the house, but the estate was sold in c.1723 before his new house was finished, and it was demolished by the new owner Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough who built a new house in 1733. The Royal Gardener Charles Bridgeman was consulted on the gardens in 1731-2. After the Duchess's death in 1744, the estate was inherited by her grandson, John Spencer, who died only 2 years later, leaving the estate to his 12 year old son, also John Spencer.

John Spencer came of age in 1755, by then the owner of extensive lands in Surrey, and was created a Viscount and then in 1765 became Earl Spencer. From 1761 Spencer had begun to improve his estate and in 1765 commissioned Lancelot 'Capability' Brown to design a landscape for the park to the north of the house. He also commissioned architect Henry Holland to rebuild Wimbledon House, which was undertaken between 1799-1802. By the early C19th the estate comprised some 480 hectares surrounding the 12-hectare lake created by Brown in c.1760. This had been formed by building a dam to hold water from two streams that emanated from Wimbledon Common (q.v.).

From the 1870s much of the estate was sold for housing and the mansion was demolished in 1949, by then separated from what was left of the park. The east side of the estate was cut off by the construction of the South Western Railway's Wimbledon to Wandsworth line in the late C19th. In 1914 the northern part of the park, including the lake, was purchased by the Borough of Wimbledon for public open space. A private golf course was laid out over part of the remaining parkland and in 1922 the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (q.v.) was established on its new grounds to the west. Wimbledon Park today comprises the private golf course of 29 hectares, a private sports club of 3 hectares and 19 hectares of public park, with the lake now 9 hectares.

The public park has its main entrance at Wimbledon Park Road, and contains an area of woodland, Horse Close Wood, that predates Brown's landscaping. Various amenities were provided for recreation in the C20th, including sports pitches, bowling greens, tennis courts and playgrounds. Municipal planting includes a lime avenue, and formal gardens were laid out by tennis courts. Forthcoming projects in Wimbledon Park resulting from consultation in March 2012 are the creation of two beach volleyball courts and a picnic area. The northern part of Wimbledon Park is in LB Wandsworth.

The golf club has its main entrance on Home Park Road; much of the planting on the course dates from the C20th although there may be remnants of C18th planting.

Sources consulted:

See EH Register

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ248724 (524850,172450)
Size in hectares:
26.95 (+17.65 in LB Merton)
Site ownership:
LB Merton
Site management:
Leisure and Culture Services, Wimbledon Park Heritage Group
C18th on; 1914; 1930s
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade II*
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Wimbledon North
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I (Lake/woods/golf course
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space. Historic Parks and Gardens. Green Corridor

Wimbledon Park (including Wimbledon Golf Course) *

Wimbledon Park - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 18/08/20 09:52

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

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