Park and public court tennis is undergoing a transformation. Partly thanks to all your efforts playing matches in parks and enjoying these once-neglected facilities, public courts all over the UK are now being restored to their former glory. Has there ever been a better time to be playing in the park?
"The new red artificial clay courts at Craiglockhart offer a lovely surface to play on," says Alex Harkins, Tennis Development Officer for Edinburgh Leisure. "You can use them all year, the floodlights are really good and they are a cheaper alternative to the indoor courts!" There are six of these brand new, all-weather, open all-year clay courts at Craiglockhart, Edinburgh's premier tennis centre and they are easier to book than the indoor courts. What's not to like?
At the other end of the UK, in Exeter, the city has just improved a three-court park venue at Cowick Barton, refurbished to LTA-specifications. The tennis courts have been re-surfaced, re-painted and re-netted and like all Exeter City Council's tennis provision are completely free.
While some cities, like Bristol, have introduced a charge for the first time for its park courts, all the profit will go towards maintaing the courts. The fee is also so low - less than 1pence a day for unlimited access for a household - that getting membership is a no brainer. Buy a Christmas voucher for membership before 13 December, and Wesport will even include a free tube of balls! For this and a round up of the new courts, see below.
ADUR & WORTHING
Homefield Park. Six brand new courts will be ready in January next year with new pay and play and membership options, plus remote gate locking and booking system. A great new addition to the Adur & Worthing Tennis League venues.
Canford Park The 8 tennis courts here have been completely re-surfaced and as of this month are playable. They are due their final re-painting in March/April next year.
Eastville Park The two tennis courts here have been cleaned and will also be re-painted in March 2019.
St George Park Five tennis courts completely cleaned this year. Of the five, two are finished and three are due to be re-painted in March/April 2019
The tennis courts in these 3 parks are fantastic venues for the Bristol Tennis League and from January 2019, they will managed by the charity Wesport. It will be offering an annual membership for just £35 a year, which means everyone in your household can play as much tennis as they wish for just .67pence a week!
Wesport is also extending a special offer to LTL players. Buy a memembership voucher for Christmas and you also get a FREE can of tennis balls. This offer is open until 13th December. For details click here
Cowick Barton Following the refurbishment of the tennis courts in Heavitree Pleasure Ground a few years ago, the three courts at Cowick Barton have also been brought up to LTA-specifications. What's more these all first class tennis courts are completely free! Anyone for the Exeter Parks Tennis League?
Craiglockhart Tennis Centre Six new, floodlit all-weather red clay courts, allowing year round play were opened in September this year at Edinburgh's premier tennis centre. It's also home to the Craiglockhart Tennis League, one of six local tennis leagues in the Scottish capital.
Addiscombe Recreation Ground, Croydon. Following the refurbishment of these four tennis courts and those at Ashburton Park, below, we are delighted to be starting the Croydon Tennis League on 18 April, 2019.
Ashburton Park, Croydon. Two tennis courts, refurbished this year.
Biggin Wood, Croydon. A three-court site refurbished this year. Although technically in Croydon, this venue is less than two miles from the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, home to the Crystal Palace Tennis League.
Clapham Common, Lambeth. A hugely popular 8-court site which has recently re-opened after refurbishment. This is the key venue for the Clapham Common Tennis League. Matches in the Lambeth Doubles Tennis League can also be played here.
Brockwell Park, Lambeth. A great venue in a beautiful park, these tennis courts were finally upgraded and re-opened this autumn. With Kennington Park, they are the primary tennis courts for the hugely popular Kennington & Brockwell Parks Tennis League, and the Lambeth Doubles Tennis League
Kennington Park, Lambeth. A floodlit venue with great newly-refurbished courts which reopened this autumn.
Gunnersbury Park Ealing/Hounslow. Long awaited and recently opened, this is a state-of-the-art venue with 8 tennis courts. We will be combining this with the Acton & Southfields Park Tennis League from next spring.
Queens Park City of London. The six courts here, which are operated by the City of London, re-opened this week after major refurbishment. It seems no one knows this yet, so if you want to be sure of getting a court, this is the place to come! They will be re-painted in the spring of 2019. There is a great café next to these courts for reviving yourself after matches in the Queens Park Tennis League.
Parliament Hill, Hampstead, City of London. What feels like an exclusive club on the edge of Hampstead Heath is in fact a brilliant public facility, owned and managed by the City of London. Of the ten tennis courts here, four needed work which has been completed this year and the courts are open again. They will be re-painted in the spring of 2019. Enjoy them in the Parliament Hill Tennis League.
Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith & Fulham. In a borough already boasting some great park courts, Hammersmith and Fulham will have four more at the end of this month when the set at the southern end of the park, by the tube, are re-opened. Lines for tennis have also been painted on an additional 3 MUGAs in the park, bringing the total number of courts at Ravenscourt Park to 10. Perfect for enjoying a match in the Hammersmith & Fulham Tennis League.
Virgin Active Fulham, Hammersmith & Fulham. There are three tennis courts here, all of which are open to the public and they due to get floodlights within the next 6 months, when they will make a welcome addition to the number of tennis courts available for evening matches in the Hammersmith & Fulham Tennis League.
Boscawen Park, Truro (left). The 8 tennis courts in the park were re-opened in May this year after major re-furbishment. They got a bit hot in the summer (a heatwave is not good for newly laid courts which still need to 'cure'), so were closed briefly and re-opened in September. We hope to re-start the Truro Tennis League in the summer of 2019.
Woking Park The five tennis courts in this park are due to open in January 2019 after completel re-furbishment. Subject to planning permission, floodlights will also be installed which will transform this great facility in a tennis hub. A new gate access systemand Clubspark booking facility will be installed to help plan matches in the Woking Tennis League.
WINDLESHAM (for the Woking Tennis League)
The Windlesham Club & Theatre. There are three, free, tennis courts at this great community venue. They will be resurfaced in the spring next year to bring them back to prime condition.