View Full Version : What's the tennis scene like in London, UK?

06-01-2005, 04:31 PM

I was hoping someone could give me some inside info on where to play tennis in London. I am a 5.0 player currently residing in Sydney, Australia. I love to play in competitive leagues and tournaments. I will be moving to London in August to do my MBA and will be there for at least +2 years. Most likely I will be living in North central ie St Johns Wood, Maida Vale, Hampstead, Marlybone, Belsize Park OR i'll be living Barons Court / Fulham way.

I'm looking for a club with a good depth of players, REASONABLE membership / court fees, ability to play year round if possible.

So far my research has come up with the following clubs / courts:

Paddington T.C.
The Globe (Belsize Park)
Cumberland (Maida Vale)
Regents Park (Public)

Some wide variety there. Have I missed any? Is it worth joining a club or is there a good depth of players and access on Public courts? What other clubs are good tennis-wise but are not in those areas?

What is the general tennis scene like in London? Is it tough to find players with good standards?

Any advice would be most appreciated.


tricky nicky
06-02-2005, 03:41 PM
You can forget Queens man,

Unless you are loaded and have friends there already who will put you up for membership. one needs to be approved, oh yes!

the facilities are pretty good for 5 mins untill the grass is worn out then it's just a posh club like most everywhere else in london except you need 2 grand large just to get in the door.

then you might have a lairy American banker get out of a chauffer driven mercedes and try to barge past you into the pro shop wearing whites with a pink cashmere v neck and cravat topped of nicely with a navy double breasted blazer.

Gotta tell ya I enjoyed shoulder barging him into the middle of next week and looking at him in such a way that he said sorry.

the pratt forgot that good manners dont cost a penny.

the members lounge & restaurent is wicked though.

best breakfast I ever did eat and top notch coffee too.

but it needs to be at those prices.

Queens is also up for sale as the LTA are pulling out and moving to the new national training centre at Roehampton.

it will probably remain a tennis club albeit a smaller one cos the property developers are licking their lips at some prime central london real estate.

anything could happen, I heard from a reliable source that some members are trying to actually buy the place, serious money man, to buy the place.

also Lockers have been free to full members for years and now theres an annual charge for them.

the wealthy natives may be getting restless.

best pass if I were you.

mind you watching the idle rich trying to out impress each other while not being very good at tennis is pretty amusing.

Ive only seen the new Rolls Royce once and guess where I was?

the part of london you want to play in is very particular (public courts aside)when it comes to tennis.

what sort of member wants an antipodean coming to their club to beat them at tennis?

your up against it.



ps Do let me know how you get on dear boy,what!

06-02-2005, 04:32 PM
As posted before forget about Queens. David Lloydís clubs arenít bad you can hit all year round as they have indoor courts and there will be a few people at not a bad level for you to play with. If not find a local club there are loads in north London if you want more info on clubs I might be able to help you just give me an email and ill forward you any help you kneed as I live in the areas youíre talking about.

06-02-2005, 05:15 PM
Tricky Nicky: Yes I had a friend who checked out the club for me last weekend. His report is not suprisingly similar to yours:

It is the top club in London.† Trouble is, you pay for the joy of having the security gates opened for you by the blazer wearing security guards. Two people need to nominate u, (no easy task), but the killer part is the fees!

£1900 one off entry fee (unless u 28 or under on joining)
£1220 pa (unless 28 when it is £920)
£5 ph all out door courts
£10 ph grass courts
£15 ph indoor courts at peak time

I cannot believe that after dishing out over GBP 3,000 that i still have to pay court fees. Ridiculous. SO Queens is out - never was really an option.

What about the other clubs I mentioned?

THE ANIMAL: Would appreciate any advice you have to give. I took a quick look and have not seen any David Lloyd clubs in Zone 1 or 2. Again my main requirement is a club that has a good depth of players and the ability to get a court 3-4 times during the week. I heard Cumberland has a good standard and GBP 500 annual fees (no additional court fees).

Also what is the tournament scene like in London? I have checked out the LTA site and noticed there are very few tournaments in London. Quite a few more Junior tournaments than Senior (as per normal). I have heard the League system is quite popular ie: Surrey league, Hampshire league, etc. What is the standard? eg. is the Premier division equivalent to 6.0+, etc.

Sorry for the question overload!! Just want to be well prepared before i go over so I won't find myself twidling my thumbs and having my racquets collect dust.

tricky nicky
06-03-2005, 03:52 PM
If you are able to find a club within the area you mentioned your going to find the problem of court availabilty....time and time again....

you might be better off moving out a little further and being late for seminars and lectures in order to find a club that:

wont break the bank. (fees)

wont break your heart. (court availabilty)

wont break your will to live. ( existing members of your new club)

London is a tough place to find a court let alone a club......

I know a couple of performance players who live in Middlesex but have to travel to hampshire to train and get good hitting partners.

try esporta dot com



good luck

06-04-2005, 01:32 AM
As Tricky Nicky said you got to head a little further out from St Johns Wood. Hampstead onwards you start getting a good no of tennis clubs with good players and from St Johns wood itís only about 15 mins away in non rush hour. There is a good concentration of clubs in the Finchley, Barnet and Highgate and further out areas.

06-04-2005, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the advice gents.

tricky nicky
06-05-2005, 01:09 PM
any luck with Esporta?

Carl Maes former coach of kim klisters and Justine Hennin hardene is leaving the LTA to take up position of director of tennis based at esporta chiswick (west london) combining this with new manager of Belgium fed cup team.

you could always give him a match.



06-05-2005, 01:44 PM
You might consider getting the district line down to Wimbledon. It's about 20-25 minutes from Earl's court. There are a bunch of clubs in and around Wimbledon. I play at a club about 5-10 minutes walk from Wimbledon station called "Wilton". £180 pa IIRC, inclusive of everything including lights, no court fees. 4 floodlight hard courts, resurfaced within the last year. Nice private clubhouse with a bar. 7 serious mens teams, and the head coach is an Australian!

His email address:

tricky nicky
06-05-2005, 03:49 PM
I think Deluxe might be having a laugh,

Can anyone imagine getting on a tube train with a racquet bag.

last time I tried getting on a tube train there wasn't any room for me let alone a sports/racquet bag.

How much is the return fare from earls court to wimbledon gotta be circa £5

if CD does consider this I dont think it will take hime too long to make his mind up it's a no no.

better to live closer to a club and travel further to his university.

thats gotta be easier eh?



06-05-2005, 05:10 PM
Tricky: I checked out the esporta website. Beautiful facilities, looks VERY flash. Not suprisingly i couldn't find any info on on membership rates, I have a feeling it's going to cost a mint. But so far that club looks great. I'll drop them a mail.

Deluxe: I don't think Wimbledon is a go because it's a bit too far out.

06-05-2005, 05:19 PM
Esporta is around £70/month. They've got 10 nice indoor courts in Croydon, but if you want to play with a non-member, its a £10 guest fee.

06-05-2005, 05:39 PM
deluxe: are there any court fees?

I'm guessing there are if u play indoor.

How many months of the year can u play outdoors?

06-06-2005, 01:19 AM
No court fees in Croydon. Don't know about elsewhere. I'm an Esporta member and I've just payed the £10 guest fee for my wife whenever we've been. I play outdoors 12 months a year :-). It can sometimes get rained off, or snowed off, but it's not like there will be a whole month where you can't play outdoors. Not even a whole week really.

06-06-2005, 04:56 AM
Thanks deluxe. I would be interested in the Chiswick Esporta. hoprfully they'll have the same rates.

Must be crowded on the courts now - on the eve of Wimbledon.

I hear England is tennis crazy for 2 weeks of the year and then it subsides as quickly as it came.....

06-06-2005, 05:07 AM
Should be the same rates.

Not too crowded at the moment. Will be soon though.

06-06-2005, 11:14 AM
okay already, forget queens!! I belonged to the Globe for 5-years and loved it. I am a 4.5 player, I found lots of good juniors to hit with (I don't work bankers hours), and some ringers my age 30-40. It was very social too. Eclectic mix of folks, but that's London for ya. It was my home away from home (though I lived less than a mile away). Cumberland and Chandos (south of Golders Green) are also finefor north london clubs. good luck.

06-06-2005, 03:59 PM
tennisphotog: Globle does look good. I won't be working banker hours either as i'll be a student. Thanks for the promising words.

06-07-2005, 04:41 AM
The other great thing about the Globe is that it is 30-meters from the Belsize Park tube stop. Good luck, I will be playing there with a buddy when I go back to London next week to cover wimbledon.

Tennis Psycho
06-08-2005, 07:16 PM
What tennis court that I can play at since I am going next week is the closest to o Wimbeldon?

Tennis Psycho
06-09-2005, 11:23 AM
I am going to Wimbledon next week and I am bringing my tennis racquet. I will be living in Wimbeldon also. Where is the nearest GRASS tennis court that I can play at?

06-11-2005, 09:54 AM
If you are going to LBS then Maida Vale is a smart place to live and you can join Paddington Sports Club, where I play. There are 10 hard courts, either rebound ace (7) or artificial grass. There is floodlighting. If you are able to play during the week its ideal -- no pressure for courts at all most of the time. Weekends are much busier. The clubhouse has reasonable Thai food. There are leagues within the club, and the club plays matches. But what you need is the pros to check out you game and find you people to play with. There are plenty of good players -- some in the world top 500 or thereabouts. The mix of club members is pretty international.

Don't believe everything negative you hear about Queens. It is true that there is a lot of crassness attached to it, but it also has excellent facilites and some very good players.

If you choose to live South West (mad from the point of view of getting to LBS) there is a very good Virgin tennis facility.


Tennis Psycho
06-12-2005, 01:10 AM
So anm grass courts that are useablu near Wilbeldon?

06-13-2005, 02:04 AM
Thanks crosscourt. I think i now have a good idea of clubs in that area. Can i ask how much a yearly membership would run? over GBP 500?


06-13-2005, 10:22 AM
The sub is less than that, but there is a signing on fee and I can't remember what that is. Whatever the fee, if you can play during the week you will find it good value. The facilities are almost unused during that time.


06-13-2005, 07:50 PM
Thanks. I will be attending LBS, but I haven't figured out where I'll be staying. But I have spent some time in Maida Vale (Little Venice), and it is a beautiful neighborhood. The Warrington Hotel is a great Pub on a sunny day.

06-14-2005, 01:08 AM
Maida Vale is very convenient for LBS and the property is reasonably valued round there (at least for central London). There is also a good feel to that area and the local facilities are good. As you say there are good pubs and restaraunts, though the area is pretty residential. Still its 10 mins from the West End and you can walk to the LBS in 20 mins, or take a bus or tube in much less. The journey takes you past Lords. By the time you arrive a passer by at Lords will have to endure the painful sight of once invincible Australian cricketers shuffling around bewildered, asking passers by pitifully for money to by tickets so they can learn about cricket. The prospect makes me shudder.

If you want to mkove a little further out, an area alike Queens Park is again pretty residential, but with some lively pubs and restaraunts, and the Bakerloo line takes you straight to Marelebone station for LBS.

If you want to move further in, you can find places to live around Baker Street and Marylebone. I used to have a flat there. While I was there it got a lot more expensive. If you're thinking of staying on after the MBA and want to work in the City its pretty convenient for that. Just four or five stops from Baker Street to Moorgate.


06-14-2005, 03:48 PM
Ha Ha!! Don't get me started on the Ashes. Your recent victory was planned to lull you into a false sense of security. England has a good team this year - the best in recent times, but Australia is still head and shoulders above everyone in terms of Test Cricket. I'm hoping for a competitive series for once!

06-14-2005, 06:31 PM
If we are going from tennis clubs to "where to live in north London", do not miss Primrose Hill, it is a great village, sweet locale, just down the road from the Globe tennis club.

06-14-2005, 06:48 PM
The tennis scene must be as boring as every year, hoping that Henman will grow some balls and win the bloody thing and everyone else celebrating that Wimbledon is finally here as it means the end of the grass season. pathetic.... grass is for the cows.

06-14-2005, 06:53 PM
Primrose Hill is nice, but expensive!

Tennis Psycho
06-14-2005, 08:35 PM
So, is there any playable courts in Wimbeldon that I can use and are grass courts? That is my goal.

06-15-2005, 10:59 AM
I think it's unlikely that there are grass courts around Wimbledon that you can play on. I don't know for sure, but I doubt it.

07-01-2005, 11:05 AM
mmmm timely thread. I'm living in london at the moment and looking to get back into tennis. some good tips here on courts and i'll check out paddington sports club.

any other courts/clubs in or close to notting hill anyone can recommend??

would also be good to meet up with other players who can guide me through the london tennis ropes if anyone's interested. unfortunately i do work banker hours so will be limited on the times i can play.

cdnaus76 we should try and get in touch when you arrive. i'm also orginally from australia and was on the lbs wait list during the recession swelled intake for 2003. if anything we can get some sort of mini davis cup going.

07-02-2005, 04:21 AM
I play in Esporta Hamilton (up here in Scotland but my dad works in London so i go down)
if you join Esporta you can go to anyone of the (200 i fink) Esporta's i think all of them have the bullet speed carpet which i love.
If you get an existing Esporta member to reccommend you you get a gift pack with a lesson a Wilson pack (racquet,bag and balls)

07-03-2005, 04:28 PM
Hi Nation,

I'll definently be looking for a hit when i arrive. I'm actually from Canada, but have been living in Sydney for the past 2-3 years. Best of luck in your search for a london club. Sounds like there are plenty of players, but not courts.

07-03-2005, 04:29 PM
JonnyF: Have you ever played at Esporta Chiswick? Also do you have to pay a court fee for INDOOR courts, or is it included in your monthly membership fee?

tricky nicky
07-04-2005, 01:56 PM
jf is a tosser who averages 15 posts per day!!! most of them complete and utter rubbish......a bit like this.

hes probably played there in his drams/dreams/dads dreams.

esporta Chiswick is a pretty serious club, just appointed Carl Maes as director of coaching........

expect to pay a fee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Andy Hewitt
07-04-2005, 04:11 PM
They play on... grass... they are clearly mad.

07-05-2005, 01:15 PM
Westway sports centre sounds interesting for something informal:


Anyone play here? Might do a quick flyby and see how the courts stack up. They say they're the only public clay courts in London. Takes me back to my roots, I grew up on sand courts. Shouldn't be too dissimilar to clay but the idea of getting dirty :confused:

Are the courts at Paddington Recreation Ground the same as Paddington Sports Club??

07-06-2005, 02:14 AM
jf is a tosser who averages 15 posts per day!!! most of them complete and utter rubbish......a bit like this.

hes probably played there in his drams/dreams/dads dreams.

esporta Chiswick is a pretty serious club, just appointed Carl Maes as director of coaching........

expect to pay a fee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Excuse me i was saying that if Esporta Chiswick is ANYTHING LIKE ANY OF THE OTHER ESPORTA'S (one which i play at least 3 times a week then it will have Indoor Carpet and outdoor synthetic grass and unless they've changed their polocies then if you pay a monthly membership ( i'm not sure if you have to have the racquets membership) then you WON'T have court fees
and Tricky i coach at Esporta i think i'd know what it's like.
That was also uncalled for.

07-06-2005, 03:23 AM
johnny f- You coach mate? I thought you were 15?

tricky nicky
07-06-2005, 12:15 PM
like I said.......15.15 posts per day mostly all kiddy chat room junk and now he coaches at Esporta..............

total dreamer and a tosser.

hey Johnny...........when did you say you were going to America with your dad?


tricky nicky
07-06-2005, 12:16 PM
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

07-06-2005, 12:58 PM
nation -- the courts at Westway are public, but there is some kind of membership scheme. I can't remember the details. The outside courts are green clay. I have played there and they are quite well maintained. It was on a bitingly cold day and the courts are under the Westway flyover, so there wasn't a lot of competition for courts. The indoor courts are acrylic. If you leave anything at Westway unattended for a minute, my experience is that it will be stolen.

Paddingon Rec is not the same as Paddington Sports club. The rec is another public space. The courts aren't very well maintained, but get a periodic refresh. If you wan't reasonably maintained public courts try the six courts in Queen's Park.


07-07-2005, 08:12 AM
Thanks for the tips crosscourt. Yeah I think the deal with Westway is a one off £1 registration fee.

09-03-2005, 12:00 AM
Hey cdnaus76 and nation!

I live in Maida Vale and have been desperately looking for something of a tennis scene in the area. I am from Austria and compared to there, the scene seems pretty lame here. Or maybe it is just as someone said that most of the action takes place a bit further out of town.

I play on the public courts in Paddington Recreation Grounds with a coach and some friends. The 6 Astro Turf courts they have there are nice but if you don't already have a partner, you won't find one there. A friend of mine plays at the Paddington Tennis Club (around the corner) but frankly, I don't like the vibe and the setting of that place... But maybe that's just me.

I am glad I found this board though! Finally some kindred spirits! I will check out the clubs mentioned in the previous posts but if any of you want to get together sometime, please drop me a line. I am between jobs right now, so have plenty of time. I want to use that to improve my game.

09-03-2005, 07:32 AM
Hi Austro,

I have recently arrived but am still living out of my suitcase. haven't had a hit since beginning of August!

It would be good to have a hit in a couple of weeks once i have found a place and settled in.

09-03-2005, 09:02 AM
Okidoki, sounds good! Let me know if you need some tips for life in London, although it sounded like you already know your way around pretty well. Oh, and before I forget, it also sounds like you are a much stronger player than me... I don't even know what my rating would be. But will ask my coach.

I'll watch this space and in the meantime, I'll check out the clubs that have been mentioned here.

10-03-2005, 05:47 AM
I don't really know what your standard is but if your a half reasonable club player you should try and get into the Cumberland LTC Alvanley Gdns, West Hampstead - very sociable and very good standard. A Proper members club, professional membership and floodlights.

10-04-2005, 04:28 AM
How is it going cd? Let us know if you have made any decisions. rfj is right about the Cumberland -- it's a nice club.

10-05-2005, 04:51 AM
Hi Crosscourt,

Have started playing here at London Business School. They have a pretty active tennis club (approx 200 members). We play down at Regents park at a reduced rate of GBP 4 per hr. Courts are ok. I'm living in Lancaster Gate, so Cumberland is a bit of a trek for me. But i was thinking of popping in to see if one could get a preferential / discount membership if you joined one of their county teams.

If anyone wants to grab a game let me know.

10-05-2005, 03:07 PM
Hi, cdnaus76, I've just moved to London. Live in Bayswater so right next to you. Just checked out esporta chiswick - great facilities but joining fee 850 and mthly 150 though plenty of indoor courts! I will be checking out cumberland and perhaps globe this week. In meantime, I'd like to grab a game too.

10-06-2005, 05:25 AM
I checked out some of the clubs mentioned here. The Globe in my opinion is what you would call a dive if it were a bar. But good enough if a court is all you are after. Cumberland is very nice but the problem there is that you cannot book in advance, you can get the court only for 45 mns and it's not in my parking zone!

10-06-2005, 10:50 AM
cd -- glad your settling in and getting a hit.

10-17-2005, 01:21 PM
Hi gents,

The tennis scene here at LBS is getting a bit "thin". Anyone in Central London want to grab a game? I'm play around a NTRP 5.0.

I play down at Regent's Park and can get a student rate of £4 per hour. Obviously being a student I normally play during the week, mornings or afternoons -> so very easy to get a court. If anyone doesn't work "normal" business hours e-mail me if you would like a hit vlittke@hotmail.com


10-03-2006, 10:09 AM
Hi gents,

The tennis scene here at LBS is getting a bit "thin". Anyone in Central London want to grab a game? I'm play around a NTRP 5.0.

I play down at Regent's Park and can get a student rate of £4 per hour. Obviously being a student I normally play during the week, mornings or afternoons -> so very easy to get a court. If anyone doesn't work "normal" business hours e-mail me if you would like a hit vlittke@hotmail.com


If you are still looking for playing partners please let me know. I'm about 5.0 and can hit at Regents Park. Also Westway, which may be a better option for the present weather.

10-13-2006, 12:13 PM
I believe there's a large club njust norht and east of the Acton Town tube station - might even be called Acton Town T.C. You can see it as you go north on the Piccadilly line

10-13-2006, 10:43 PM
If you are looking for a great health club with the finest tennis facilities in central London its only Chelsea Harbour Club, its not cheap to be a member in there but the best tennis programms for adults which you can find in the UK are there. It is located in Chelsea/Fulham (zone 1/2) and there is no court fees once you are a member! I used to work at this club as a tennis pro and can def. say its the best health club where I have ever worked! You can also meet there very well known people, one day when I was giving a tennis lesson and J. Jackson was playing on the court next to me.
Check it out: www.harbourclubchelsea.com

10-20-2006, 11:13 AM

I lived and played 5.0 level tennis in London for 15 years.
In my opinion there are only a few clubs offering high standard
of play.
Harbour Club. I am a member here and it is free to play once you have joined.
15 indoor courts.
Queens Club. I have been a member. Quality not as high as Harbour and more stuffy. Pay to play on the indoor courts which is a rip off.
Aside from these the quality starts to slide rapidly.
Chiswick has the next best courts.