Wimbledon is one of London’s oldest railway stations, first opening back in May 1838. The station was resited in 1889 to coincide with the extension of the District Railway down from Putney Bridge. The station was rebuilt again in 1929, this time with a Portland Stone ticket office. Today the station is a busy transport interchange, served by tube, several rail operators as well as tram services too. Over 20million passengers used the rail station alone in 2015/16. Its future could be busier still should Crossrail 2 get the go-ahead as the new East-West line is scheduled to have a station here.
On a completely different note, the station used to be home to an airedale terrier called ‘Laddie’ which had a coin box strapped to its collar as it carried out collections for a care home for old railway workers. After he retired in 1956, he then went to live at the home he had been collecting for. After his death in 1960, he was stuffed and placed in a glass box on Platform 5 where people could continue to donate to the home. He finally left for good in 1990 and now lives in the National Railway Museum, York.
Dog and Fox, 24 High Street, SW19 5EA
When doing Wimbledon tube station, I visited The Alexandra which is very close to the station. This time around I decided to venture a little further, heading up Wimbledon Hill Road to the Dog and Fox in Wimbledon village and not too far from the Common. It’s just 15 minutes walk up the hill but only a few minutes on the bus if you’re pressed for time.
The pub has an expansive, modern interior with a large open plan room surrounding the bar and a separate dining area to one side of it. This main section has plenty of cosy armchairs if you’re lucky to find one free. One of the walls is decorated with loads of old tennis rackets but in general the tennis connection is kept thankfully low key. The pub also has a small outside seating area covered by a conservatory type roof by its side entrance.There is also a 17 room ’boutique hotel’ above the pub too which seems to have good reviews if google and tripadvisor are anything to go by – I suspect it might be out of my price range.
The Dog and Fox is a Youngs pub, marking my third in succession on the trail – it is their South West heartland afterall. They had a few more guest ales on here than you sometimes see in a Youngs pub, keeping it local with the ‘Common Pale Ale’ from Wimbledon Brewery as well as Hopstuff’s Oatmeal Stout and the excellently named ‘New Years Resolution’ beer, although sadly I can find no reference of it anywhere online. I went for a pint of Youngs Special which was particularly good here. The food is generally the typical Youngs gastropub offerings, although they do have a brunch menu from 11.30am to 4pm Mondays to Saturdays with Eggs Benedict and the like all available.
We visited early on a Friday evening, it wasn’t too busy when we first arrived but got noticeably busier over the course of our time here. The lights dimmed and the music went up after 6pm. The lively atmosphere here made me think it could also serve as a pre-drinks venue before people head onto bars and clubs. In that spirit, the friendly barman suggested following up our ales with a Jagermeister but I politely declined, nothing good could ever come of that…
Dog and Fox is another good modern Youngs pub. Having a drink or two here is a suitable reward for walking up Wimbledon Hill!