As an ancient resident of Wimbledon, the Atkinson Morley Hospital on Copse Hill, set in the grounds of what was once home to the 2nd Duke of Wellington and boasting exceptional views overlooking acres of protected parkland, I couldn’t wait to walk in behind the gates of what is named Wimbledon Hill Park. Comprising of a stunning collection of elegant homes, landscaped courtyard gardens and exclusive residents’ amenities, I was given the key (fob) for a weekend to try before I buy.
Walking into my new weekend living room, David Cavalier from Food Matters UK, was in the kitchen preparing a 3-course dinner. The soft furnishings, warmth and clean lines made it feel like home. As I chatted to David I learnt about his impressive career and the thought behind the menu. The open plan kitchen makes it an ideal space to cook and entertain guests at the same time. It was quite easy to imagine my children having breakfast on the bar in the mornings as I prepared their packed lunch. Also, the generous space lends itself well to dinner parties, which I often throw with private chefs as guests often enjoy conversing with the culinary masterminds behind my supper clubs, as well as delight in the gastronomical marvels.
I was amazed to taste the deep flavours of the fillet of beef, grilled mushrooms, crispy dauphinoise, seasonal vegetables and red wine. It was such a relaxed evening, knowing my bedroom was in the next room, we took our time and enjoyed the sound of London Grammar on the inbuilt sound system and the scent of Jo Malone candles.
Curious to know what dessert was, David handed me the cookbook that was propped up in the kitchen and shared some of his ultimate secrets. The lounge chair in the kitchen offered a relaxed perch to discuss my soft spot for apple crumble. I was so delighted to discover that the final course was his personal version of a deconstructed apple and blackberry crumble.
And so to bed. It was time to hang up my hat and clamber into the softest sheets. It was cosy and warm. I looked longingly at the bath and decided to save it for the morning knowing that the bedroom and bathroom were filled with beautiful Jo Malone products. After taking off my jewellery I lit the candle by my bed to savour the feeling of absolute stillness. It was utter heaven and unlike a hotel, it was a room that felt as if it were mine.
Morning soon arrived in and I woke to the most beautiful sunny autumn morning. Reggie, the concierge knocked on the door with Gail’s Bakery muffins and a selection of newspapers. I took my breakfast outside in the sun and listened to the birds. It was hard to comprehend that only 1000 metres from my home, I was experiencing a whole new Wimbledon. The woodlands brought a serenity only usually found to belong to the country. I breathed it in and imagined how much more beautiful life would be to start each day this way.
I couldn’t resist clambering back into the sumptuous bed to read the papers. It was a luxury I insist on at home and the bed still warm from the night before was too much to resist. I did the unthinkable and fell back to sleep.
Waking to my daughter phoning me, I promised I would collect her and bring her to my weekend home after my morning run. Admittedly, the weather was glorious and cried out for a jog around the abundance of parkland. It was wonderful to find my bearings and realise I am only a stone’s throw away from Kings school and other local parks.
The private gym was empty and offering the ultimate opportunity to try out their new equipment, it had a cooler temperature than outdoors so there was no excuse not to build up a sweat and run off the previous night’s blackberry crumble.
The morning sun called me back outdoors and it went long before I knew the route I would take each morning if or when I moved in.
Enjoying the last moment’s peace before I picked up my daughter, I finished the paper with my morning coffee and the birds singing outside and as I picked up my phone to call home.
She was so excited to spend the afternoon with just me. Leaving her two brothers at their friends birthday party, we indulged in the private cinema and quite literally moved in.
Milia soon chose her bedroom and decided to vlog about her experience. It was wondrous watching my daughter fall in love with the furnishings and comfort and was only moments before I had to yank her off her iPad to explore the woodlands with her.
The sun danced on the top of the trees and we spent the afternoon walking and sharing jokes about home life. “Can we live here?” she cooed with the enthusiasm that only a child could have. To no surprise, my daughter was sold. She had a better understanding of how close we were to her school and friends and knew it was so close that at age 9 she would be allowed to walk there by herself.
We soon met the most precious cat we called Midnight, it was only after I posted this photo on Instagram, that the cat’s original owner recognised Midnight or should we say, Valentino, and invited me and my daughter for tea and cake. Having such lovely neighbours was a gift I didn’t expect.
We learnt there was a secret garden in the woodlands that the development so we followed our noses and with our feet brushing against the crisp autumn leaves, we enjoyed a stroll under the afternoon sun.
We found the most picturesque wooden playground that blended perfectly into the landscape. Ideal for parents with young children who just want a moment outside to keep all their feet on the ground. To have a tranquil pace in London and only half an hour to Waterloo Station, it was not surprising to learn how quickly these homes were selling.
Milia was delighted to return to the house and watch YouTube on the TV. Whilst she indulged in slime making programmes, I relaxed on the parallel sofa reading the papers supplements. Something I rarely have time to do at home.
My daughter soon had to leave to begin her music lesson and I waited in reception for my friend and beauty blogger Becca Gray to join me for dinner at Cannizaro House, 10 minutes walk away from these prestigious apartments.
I showed her around my potential new home, and we headed in the evening sun for a meal at Cannizaro House at Hotel Du Vin.
We couldn’t have planned the sunset, but we certainly indulged in one-to-one time together over a three-course meal consisting of steak and fish stew.
I am not sure how a weekend away only 1000 yards from my home can offer such a fresh and nurturing experience, but it did. From cooked meals, papers and breakfast in bed, walk in the woodlands with my daughter and a meal at my favourite hotel to a breathtaking sunset I have had a taste of Wimbledon Hill Park lifestyle and I’m not sure there is anything in Wimbledon or even South West London like it.
If you would like to learn more about these homes, call Berkeley on 020 8003 6139 or visit www.wimbledonhillpark.co.uk.