Things to do in London Borough of Merton, Greater London
Facts and Figures:
Merton is one of the least densely populated boroughs in London. It has a 212,000 population spread over an area of over 37 km. The borough has 65% White and 35% Black and Mixed Ethnicity.
This borough has a strange claim to fame. It holds one of the lowest road casualty rates in any London area. Binge drinking and levels of obesity are also much lower than the average in England and Wales, so it is a healthy place all round to visit or live in!
Merton has more than 700 hectares of open space providing local recreation. It is well-known as the home of the amateur football club, Wimbledon AFC.
The London Borough of Merton was once the residence of Lord Horatio Nelson. Comedian Paul Merton also took his stage name from the borough.
Merton has been used for filming the well-known TV police drama, The Bill.
The Baitul Futuh Mosque was opened in Morden in 2003. It cost £5.5 million and is the largest in Europe, seating 10,000 people.
The London Borough of Merton has been settled by many inhabitants in its long past. The remains of Celtic settlements and Iron Age forts are scattered throughout the borough, and footings from the hill fort can still be seen on the Common.
The borough is centred on the historic parish of Merton, which was actually listed as a large town in the 11th century Domesday Book record. The largest commercial centres in the borough are Morden, Mitcham and Wimbledon, which is the largest.
Henry VI chose to be crowned king at Merton Priory in 1437, the only English monarch not to be crowned in Westminster Abbey. The Priory was where Thomas Becket, among other notables, was educated, but it was dismantled in 1538 under Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
William Morris opened a factory in Merton for his woven fabrics and furnishings in 1881. The Abbey Mills were also where Arthur Liberty produced his hand-printed silks.
Today, the north and west areas of Merton are the most affluent areas and unemployment and quality of health is worst in the south and east of the borough. However, levels of crime are relatively low throughout the borough.
The best known attraction in the borough of Merton is the All-England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. It is not just a place to visit in late June when the tennis championships are played. The Tennis Club is a year-round attraction, both as an exclusive club for players and as a visitor centre. There is a Tennis Museum and visitors can see the hallowed ground of Centre Court where coveted titles and lucrative prize money are fiercely contested each year.
The Merton Abbey Mills are well worth a visit. These historic buildings, once the home to the silk-printing works of the famous Liberty fabrics, now house craft shops, a weekend market, pubs and a restaurant.
Merton Park is another lovely place to stroll. It was the original garden suburb, planned in the early 20th century by John Innes. The River Wandle also provides green areas for quiet walks and picnics.
The Borough of Merton is served by the Northern and District underground lines and it has many mainline railway stations and bus services. Wimbledon is also served by Tramlink.
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