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

Great Hall Court at Hampton Court Palace after conservation in 2016
Events Member only

Join Joint Chief Curator Tracy Borman as she examines the men surrounding this much-married monarch in the Tudor King's Great Hall.

29 October 2018

Hampton Court Palace

19:00

Visitors enjoy the food festival in Base Court at Hampton Court Palace
Events Highlights

Enjoy a big helping of festive spirit as Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre returns to the magical Hampton Court Palace this winter.

07-09 December 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Friday and Saturday: 10:00-18:00; Sunday: 10:00-16.30

Directional view of the Anne Boleyn archway joining Base Court to Clock Court.
Events Member only

Join author and historian Lauren Johnson as she explores how early Tudors dealt with new epidemics, old sicknesses and mortality.

08 October 2018

Hampton Court Palace

14:00

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