Royal tennis at Hampton Court

Open to spectators during summer hours

Open to spectators during summer hours

When

  • Summer only

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission Buy Hampton Court Palace tickets

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, ‘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 Hampton Court Palace tennis club is for private members. 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 the club 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.

 

The Royal Tennis Court club

The Real Tennis Champions Trophy

The Royal Tennis court at Hampton Court Palace
Events Member only

Get close to some real tennis professionals and see them in action.

26 July, 9 August, 16 August and 23 August 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Doors open at 18:30

Real Tennis World Champion, Camden Riviere, competing in 2017 Real Tennis Champions Trophy at the Royal Tennis Court.
Events

The Annual International Real Tennis event returns to Hampton Court to celebrate this ancient game, played by Henry VIII.

17 July - 22 July 2018

Hampton Court Palace

The Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace
Events Families

The palace is a flurry of activity ahead of Henry VIII's marriage treaty with Anne of Cleves. But will the King's mood upset weeks of planning?

29 June - 02 September 2018, Thursday- Monday

Hampton Court Palace

11:30, 12:30 and 15:30

A souvenir guidebook highlighting the best things to do at Hampton Court Palace - an enjoyable read bursting with information.

Official Hampton Court Palace guidebook

A souvenir guidebook highlighting the best things to do at Hampton Court Palace - an enjoyable read bursting with information.

£4.99

Henry VIII luxury embroidered tree decoration

Henry VIII luxury embroidered tree decoration

This stunning Henry VIII tree decoration is double-sided and is beautifully handmade using metal and silk threads on a satin background with a foam filling.

£12.99

This stunning tote bag features a 18th century view of Kensington Palace, showing the work of Christopher Wren.

Hampton Court Palace vintage tote bag

Showcasing the Baroque side of Hampton Court Palace, this cotton tote bag pays homage to Christopher Wren's architecture.

£12.99