14 June 2019

Love the lawn

The grass court season is fleeting, lasting just a few months every year. Enjoy it while you can on some great and inexpensive publicly-available facilities

Wimbledon is so close now, you can almost smell the freshly cut grass and sense the hush of the Centre Court crowd.  The grass court season blooms for a few short months, from May to September, and if you have never played on the green stuff, it is well worth having a go.  Points are short and fast, and if you can serve and volley, so much the better!  They say having your own grass court is the ultimate status symbol who needs one when there are a surprising number of public grass courts – if you know where to find them. Here is our list and if you know of more, let us know.

The Avenue Lawn Tennis, Squash and Fitness Club
A not-for-profit members’ club with first class facilities, the Avenue Lawn Tennis Squash & Fitness Club has ten superb grass courts. It generously allows Members of the Havant Tennis League who are playing a league match against an Avenue Club member to play at the Club for a special guest fee of £5 instead of the normal rate of £8. The next round in Havant starts on 27 June.


Maltravers Park (above)
A hidden gem tucked away off a residential street, Maltravers Park is well worth a visit. A beautiful facility, it has 3 grass courts alongside hard courts and is adjacent to the very attractive people’s orchard.  The perfect venue for a summer match in our brand new Littlehampton & Bognor Tennis League, starting on 20 June.

AELTC Community Sports Ground (below) 

The king of the crop. No one knows more about grass courts than the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which hosts the Wimbledon Championships. But you need membership to play there and the waiting list is so long, they say the best chance to get in is to win Wimbledon. Fortunately, there is another option (which even comes with the Kipling quote used at Wimbledon).  The AELTC’s outstanding Community Sports Ground in Raynes Park, south west London. Before and during the Championships the grass courts are used for practice by the pros but after that, they may be open for the community tennis sessions, subject to availability and weather conditions. Sixteen more championship-standard grass courts are due to open in May 2020. Play here in our AELTC Community Sports Ground Tennis League. The next round starts on 4 July.

Eltham Park South
Apart from the City of London (see Golders Hill Park below), Greenwich is the only London borough we know of which has grass tennis courts open to the public. They are in Eltham Park South. Worth a try for the Greenwich Tennis League? The next round starts on 4 July.

Golders Hill Park (main picture & below)

The City of London takes great care of its facilities and these two grass courts on the west side of Hampstead Heath are no exception. There are also four hard courts adjacent to the grass. The next round of the Golders Hill Park Tennis League starts on 22 August

Iffley Road Sports Complex and University Parks
One of the advantages of living in the home of a great university, is the chance to use some of its amazing facilities. The uni’s Iffley Road Sports Complex has 6 grass courts and the huge and beautiful riverside stretch of green known as University Parks also has grass courts. Anyone can apply for summer membership for £65 (runs until the end of September) and get unlimited use of the grass tennis courts at both venues. Need a new place for Oxford Tennis League matches? Look no further. The next doubles round starts on 20 June and the next singles on 4 July.

Canoe Lake Leisure  
The highly impressive Canoe Lake Leisure (a philanthropic venture) has added 10 tournament-grade grass courts to the already outstanding tennis provision in Portsmouth.  The centre is open to everyone and you can pay and play on the grass courts for just £8 an hour. That’s what we call a bargain. Enjoy in the next singles round starting on 1 August.


Silks Meadow (Frankwell), Saint Michaels Rec, All Saints
Shrewsbury has not one but three venues with grass courts which are open until September: Silks Meadow (2 grass courts), Saint Michaels Rec (1) and All Saints (2).  Sign up to the tremenous value Key Play scheme for just £55 a year (includes holder and 3 guests) and use the grass court, and the hard courts at Monkmoor Rec, as much as you like. The Shrewsbury Tennis League which starts a new round on 11 July, is the perfect opportunity to do so.