The best tennis clubs and courts in London

Dominic Jeffares

7 April 2021

From prestigious private members' sports clubs to easy-access walk-on courts, these are the finest places to play tennis in London

London's most exclusive clubs boast extensive waiting lists, VIP members and a strict all-white dress code 

7 April 2021 Dominic Jeffares

With outdoor sports allowed to resume from 29 March and Wimbledon confirmed to return this June, it’s high time you grabbed your tennis whites and hit the courts. Luckily for budding Serenas, London is home to some incredible private and pay-as-you-go clubs, the most exclusive of which have several sporting greats on their membership books. From The Hurlingham Club to the Barbican Estate, these are the capital’s best tennis courts on which to practise your serve.

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon 

Address: Church Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5AG
state-of-the-art gym, croquet court, clubhouse, restaurant, sports shop
grass, acrylic 
Membership fee: 
price on request 
Notable members: Duchess of Cambridge, Tim Henman, Cliff Richard

It's easy to forget that aside from hosting the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is a fully functioning private members' club – with a membership application process more difficult than returning John Isner's serve. The club, which boasts immaculate grass courts and a state-of-the-art gym, has just 565 full members and a waiting list of around 1,000 people. Additionally, there are approximately 100 handpicked temporary members and a number of honorary members, including Tim Henman and Maria Sharapova. 

The Duchess of Cambridge was awarded honorary membership in 2013 and is now the club’s patron, taking over from the Queen in 2016. 'Club Privileges' include a dedicated seat on Centre Court during Wimbledon, so if you are successful in joining, you may find yourself rubbing shoulders in the members' enclosure alongside McEnroe and Federer.

The Hurlingham Club, Fulham 

Photography by David Flett

Address: Ranelagh Gardens, Fulham, London, SW6 3PR
Facilities: croquet court, cricket grounds, squash courts, fitness centre, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, reading room, clubhouse, restaurants  
Surfaces: grass, hard, clay
Membership fee: price on request
Dress code: tennis whites
Notable members: Roman Abramovich, Pippa Middleton, Lord Fowler, Lord Temple-Morris

The Hurlingham Club counts The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge among regulars and has a rumoured waitlist of more than 15 years, making it one of the most exclusive members' clubs in the world. Roman Abramovich once unsuccessfully attempted to buy the club for £1 billion and pay off existing members with £1 million apiece, but was promptly rebuffed.

This prestigious riverside institution in Fulham opened its doors in 1869 and prides itself on its “elegant and congenial ambiance”. The club also boasts manicured gardens, outdoor pools, four indoor squash courts and a fitness centre, with a half-size Olympic indoor pool and a plush spa. Guests are expected to be just as well-kept as the grounds: a strict dress code frowns upon flip flops and it is compulsory to wear tennis whites when playing (at least 80 per cent of each item of clothing must be white). Curse if you must after a double-fault, at the risk of the prim peacocks giving you a sideward glance.

Queens Club, West Kensington 

Address: Palliser Road, Hammersmith, London, W14 9EQ
Facilities: clubhouse, restaurant, cafe, museum, function suites 
grass, shale, Plexi courts and artificial grass
Membership fee:
purchase required of a redeemable share upon joining, £15,000
Dress code: tennis whites
Notable members: Andy Murray, Boris Becker, Feliciano López

Andy Roddick, who dominated the Queen's Club Championships during the early 2000s, has called the courts at the Queen's Club "arguably the best in the world". Concluding the week before the grass-court championships at Wimbledon, the Queen's Club Championships has welcomed the world's greatest tennis players over the years, including Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. The club gives honorary life membership to the winners of each championship, meaning that you could be practising your swerve alongside Boris Becker. 

Interesting fact: Roger Federer has never played at Queen's because, in his early days as a pro, he was declined a wildcard to the tournament – a decision Queen's probably regrets. Membership to the club is dependent on one being proposed and seconded by two existing Members.

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Roehampton Club, Wandsworth

Address: Roehampton Lane, London, SW15 5LR
gym, indoor and outdoor pool, wellness studios, 18-hole golf course, squash courts, croquet, clubhouse, sports shop
grass, synthetic grass, Poraflex® acrylic court, smash courts, mini courts 
Membership fee: 
from £850 (annual subscription)

Head southwest of central London towards Barnes and Richmond and the capital takes on a more leisurely atmosphere with leafy streets and quaint 19th-century homes. The Roehampton Club, set in a hundred acres of parkland close to Richmond Park, is known for having some of the finest grass courts in the country – many tennis pros play here at an intimate pre-Wimbledon tournament. Alongside the tennis, there is are myriad sporting and leisure facilities including an 18-hole golf course.

Holland Park Lawn Tennis Club, North Kensington 

Address: 1 Addison Rd, Kensington, London, W14 8DU
Facilities: Clubhouse
Surfaces: Grass, synthetic grass
Membership fee: Full member joining fee £1,200, plus £565 per year (discounted fees for under 28s and over 65s)

Set on a quiet hilltop and surrounded by affluent Holland Park Avenue mansions, the Lawn Tennis Club is a firm favourite of sporty types from Notting Hill and beyond – many of whom treat it like a second home. The club has eight courts in total. Five of these are all-weather (artificial grass) courts, which are floodlit and open throughout the year, while the remaining three are grass courts, open between May and September. It’s well worth mentioning the club’s opening hours: seven days a week, from 9am until 11pm – you can no longer blame your sketchy serve on lack of practise.

Campden Hill Lawn Tennis Club, North Kensington 

Instagram: @dominiccap 

Address: 1 Addison Road, Kensington, London, W14 8DU
Grass, synthetic grass
Membership fee:
Full member joining fee £1,200 + £565 per year (discounted fees for under 28s and over 65s)
Notable members: Violinist Vanessa-Mae, novelist Sebastian Faulks

This North Kensington Tennis Club is situated on Campden Hill, in between Notting Hill Gate and Kensington High Street. It was founded in 1884, soon after the first Wimbledon Championships, and has 12 courts – six outdoor and six indoor – together with a practise area and a Clubhouse. The not-for-profit club is owned by its members and runs for the benefit of its membership of about 1,600.

The Gardens Tennis Club, Wimbledon

Address: Fann Street, London, EC1Y 0SH
Facilities: Clubhouse
Surfaces: Artificial grass
Membership fee: £255 per year 

Something of a hidden gem considering it's down the road from the world-famous All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, The Gardens Tennis Club prides itself on its open membership policy. Those who haven't had success in joining the elite clubs above may breathe a sigh of relief that the club accepts about 30-40 new adult members for the new membership year.

Golden Lane Tennis Courts, City of London

Address: Fann Street, London, EC1Y 0SH
Facilities: Indoor swimming pool, gym and fitness centre
Surface: Hard court
Fee: From £13.60 per session

In what must be one of the most unique residential estates in Europe, the Golden Lane Tennis courts are situated next to the Barbican Estate, a Grade-II listed Brutalist masterpiece. Courts are available for all members of the public to use by booking online. With apartment balconies overlooking the courts, you'd better hope your backhand is on form.

Will to Win, multiple locations

Will to Win, Regents Park

Address: Multiple
Synthetic grass, hard court
From £14.50 per hour

With multiple courts throughout London, Will to Win is the easiest way to start playing tennis in the capital. The organisation offers a 'Pay & Play' scheme meaning tennis courts can be booked up to three days in advance. There are tennis courts available at the following locations: Chiswick House Gardens, Hyde Park, Greenwich Park, Lammas Park, Pitshanger Park and Regent's Park.

Read more: The most picturesque outdoor lidos in London