Fine service: five UK tennis breaks

Is Wimbledon inspiring you to get off the sofa and on to a court? Pack your kit, says Liat Joshi - there are plenty of places to improve your game in style

If Wimbledon has tempted you to book a tennis holiday, you no longer need to head abroad. Courts at British hotels used to be patches of pot-holed tarmac or overgrown grass with rusty net posts. But now a handful of four and five-star hotels offer facilities worthy of SW19's finest. Some have indoor tennis centres (so rain can't stop play) and intensive coaching programmes; others are luxurious resorts with top-class tuition, numerous courts and spas for that post-match massage. And most have the advantage of enough off-court activities to keep non-tennis playing partners as happy as a Wimbledon champion.

If Wimbledon has tempted you to book a tennis holiday, you no longer need to head abroad. Courts at British hotels used to be patches of pot-holed tarmac or overgrown grass with rusty net posts. But now a handful of four and five-star hotels offer facilities worthy of SW19's finest. Some have indoor tennis centres (so rain can't stop play) and intensive coaching programmes; others are luxurious resorts with top-class tuition, numerous courts and spas for that post-match massage. And most have the advantage of enough off-court activities to keep non-tennis playing partners as happy as a Wimbledon champion.

Stoke Park Club, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

Stoke Park's six immaculate grass courts attract leading players, including Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis, to enter the annual Champions Challenge tournament held there each June. Add three indoor and four all-weather courts and you've got a surface to suit every player's taste. As well as being a hotel, Stoke Park is an upmarket country club where guests can join regular organised tennis sessions, or book individual lessons with the three pros. An award-winning and stylish spa offers soothing sports massages and the on-site pro-shop is equally swanky, stocking Ralph Lauren and Prada tennis kit.

As impressive off court as on, its stately Palladian main building is surrounded by 350 acres of parkland, partly designed by Capability Brown, and the golf course where 007 played Goldfinger in the 1964 James Bond movie. The rooms are romantic enough to make even sweaty, exhausted tennis players feel glamorous, with opulent furnishings and sizeable roll-top baths: ideal for a good soak while daydreaming about winning your first Grand Slam.

Stoke Park Club (01753 717171; www.stokeparkclub.com) offers doubles from £270 per night room only, based on two sharing, with free use of courts. Individual lessons cost £35 per hour.

Hampshire Centrecourt, Basingstoke

Basingstoke doesn't top most people's weekend break wish-lists but the intensity of Centrecourt's courses means there is little time to explore much beyond the indoor tennis centre anyway. The coaching team, which trains some of Britain's best young players, leads an achingly tough 10 hours of play over two days, using video analysis to fine-tune those forehands. The socialising is intensive, too, as guests are encouraged to dine together.

Centrecourt is so tennis-focused that it's built around a central courtyard containing an outdoor clay court - hence the name.

Though it might lack the manicured grounds and impressive mansions of other options for a tennis break, the hotel is newly and tastefully refurbished and the quality of coaching makes this an ace choice for anyone seeking serious improvement in their game.

Hampshire Centrecourt (01256 330360; www.marstonhotels.com/tennis) offers two nights' full board from £203 per person, based on two sharing, with tuition.

Virginia Wade Tennis Week, The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire

Gleneagles might be better known for golf than tennis but each July it draws the former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade north to "Tennis Week" - actually five days, from Sunday to Thursday.

Accompanied by her coaching team, Wade runs group clinics each morning, with optional "social" play in the afternoons. The course starts with an assessment of playing standards - ensuring everyone gets appropriate tuition - and culminates with a tournament and champagne gala dinner. As well as five outdoor courts, indoor facilities are available.

Wade is tremendously hands-on and there is ample opportunity to hear tales of her Grand Slam glories - she won three and 52 other singles titles.

While Gleneagles has all the trappings of a traditional country estate - with hunting, shooting and fishing - its bedrooms are firmly 21st century. The chintz was chucked out in a recent overhaul which has resulted in a moody, masculine look, with tartan throws adding a typically subtle Scottish touch.

Virginia Wade Tennis Week, 25 -30 July 2004 (0800 3893737; www.gleneagles.com/virginiawade) costs £1,365 per person, including five nights' half board, with lunch on the last day, and tuition.

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

Five times a year, Chewton Glen's coach, Matthew Salisbury, runs "tennis masterclasses", with enough tuition to ensure you go home a better player but sufficient free time to explore the nearby New Forest and Hampshire coastline. The unusual artificial clay indoor courts are a delight to play on - so much so that Monica Seles practised here a few years back.

Think that your racket-wielding exertions mean you'll go home several pounds lighter? Well, no - five-course dinners each evening in Chewton's Michelin-starred restaurant more than make up for calories burned on court.

Chewton, with five red AA stars, is deservedly renowned for its impeccable service. Everything is top quality, from the Valrhona chocolates in your room to the handmade shortbread provided for your journey home. Chewton Glen (01425 275341, www.chewtonglen.com) offers two nights for two people from £695, including half board and tuition. Individual lessons cost £35 per hour.

Grand Slam Weekends, Foxhills, Surrey

Foxhills is a sporting haven, set in 400 acres, just a toss of the ball from the M25. As well as 12 outdoor courts, there's an enormous gym, 50 weekly exercise classes, squash and racquetball facilities, a nine-hole golf course and three swimming pools. Fifteen hours of free coaching clinics are available each week and beginners needn't worry about being aced too often, as players are grouped by ability. Three pros provide individual coaching and a "matchmaking service" that finds guests suitable opponents.

All this should work up an appetite for dinner in the restaurant, in the 19th-century mansion's romantic former music room. The four-star hotel bedrooms are tastefully furnished and spacious, with thoughtful touches such as proper coffee, fresh milk and stacks of glossy magazines.

Foxhills is ideal for parents who want to bring their future champions along: with children's tennis and golf sessions and a crèche for under-fives.

Foxhills (01932 872050, www.foxhills.co.uk) offers its Grand Slam package for £95 per person per night, including half board and tennis clinics. Individual lessons cost £25 per hour.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape