When

  • Summer only

Ticketing info

Included in palace admission

History of the courts

The first tennis court at Hampton Court was built for Cardinal Wolsey, between 1526 and 1529.

As a young man, Henry VIII was a keen and talented tennis player who spent hours on court. His second wife Anne Boleyn was gambling on a game of tennis when she was arrested to be taken to the Tower of London. She even complained that she couldn’t collect her winnings!

There has been a tennis court on this site since 1625 when this one was built for Charles I. Three of these walls are 17th century, the external wall to the right of the viewing gallery is Cardinal Wolsey’s original.

One of the first English guides to tennis in 1553 claimed that, ‘this game has been created for a good purpose, namely, to keep our bodies healthy, to make our young men stronger and more robust, chasing idleness, virtue’s mortal enemy, far from them and thus making them of a stronger and more excellent nature’

Real tennis is the original indoor racquet sport from which the modern game of tennis is descended. It only acquired its ‘real’ tag at the end of the 19th century to distinguish it from the new-fangled ’lawn’ tennis.

Visiting the courts

The tennis court has displays along the visitor route viewing gallery. These include interactive handmade balls, life size character illustrations and custom made racquets.

The tennis club at Hampton Court Palace is a private members' club so non-members and visitors are only allowed into the viewing gallery to watch a game during the summer months (April to October). Its members only during the winter. They may also close at short notice for private events and maintenance. However, it is a very active club, with a lot of members, so your chances of seeing a game in play when the viewing gallery is open are very high.

Would you like to try your hand at real tennis? The club offers an introduction to the game, and if you like it you can apply to be a member.

 

Explore what's on

Join Siobhan Clarke at the Banqueting Hall for an exclusive tour of this revolutionary building.

27 October (only 10.30 available) and 4 November (fully booked)

Banqueting House
An actor in historical costume performs in front of a group of children

Do you have the stomach to pull rotten teeth, scour the ‘gong’ from the toilets or investigate the ‘Royal Wee’?

21 October - 29 October 2017

Hampton Court Palace

11:00-16:00

Step into the dangerous declining years of Henry’s VIII’s reign at Hampton Court Palace.

Daily until 20 October 2017

Hampton Court Palace

40 minutes

Browse more history and stories

Six Wives Charm Bracelet.  An intriguing royal heraldic charm bracelet with charms of Henry VIII and his six wives family crests.

Six wives charm bracelet

An intriguing royal heraldic charm bracelet with charms of Henry VIII and his six wives family crests.

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This set of wooden stacking dolls includes Henry VIII and his six wives who lived at Hampton Court Palace.

Henry VIII and his wives stacking doll

This set of wooden stacking dolls includes Henry VIII and his six wives who lived at Hampton Court Palace.

£29.99

500 facts about Tudor King Henry VIII of England, one of Hampton Court Palace's most famous residents.

Henry VIII: 500 Facts

500 facts about Tudor King Henry VIII of England, one of Hampton Court Palace's most famous residents.

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