Base Court will be closed to visitors from 29 May - 27 June 2018. More information

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

Explore what's on

Photo of an exhibition at the Young Henry exhibition at Hampton Court Palace

Join William Page as he talks about Conservation repairs to the roofs of the Real Tennis Court and Georgian House

11 June 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Member only

12:00

Fountain Court, looking west. The courtyard fountain can just be seen through an archway on the left.

Get an expert’s guide of what there is to see and do at each palace with one of our State Apartment Warders at Hampton Court.

7 June 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Member only Tours and talks

11:00 and 14:00

families interacting taking part in the Great Palace Quest

See what you can discover about food and feasting on the Great Palace Quest at Hampton Court Palace – fun for all the family this May half term!

26 May - 03 June 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Families

11:00-16:00

Browse more history and stories

Henry VIII teddy bear

Henry VIII teddy bear

Henry VIII bear, named after Hampton Court Palace's notorious resident King Henry VIII, in a traditional Tudor costume. Suitable for little princes and princesses aged three years and above. Measures 28cm.

£14.99

Royal Wedding 2018 commemorative biscuit tin

Royal Wedding 2018 commemorative biscuit tin

Celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with this beautifully illustrated biscuit tin. Featuring designs by renowned British illustrator Milly Green, this pretty biscuit tin will make the perfect keepsake of this special Royal Wedding.

£14.99

Celebrate the birth of a new royal baby. This colourful illustrated Royal Baby 2018 cotton tea towel by popular British designer Milly Green commemorates the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third baby, a new sibling for HRH Prince George and HRH Princess Charlotte. The royal baby boy was born on 23rd April 2018.

Royal Baby 2018 commemorative cotton tea towel

Celebrate the birth of a new royal baby. This colourful illustrated Royal Baby 2018 cotton tea towel by popular British designer Milly Green commemorates the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third baby, a new sibling for HRH Prince George and HRH Princess Charlotte. The royal baby boy was born on 23rd April 2018.

£11.99