Anyone for tennis? The best places to play year-round in Suffolk & Cambs
Summer might be drawing to a close but Emma Raducanu’s US Open win has got me inspired, so here are some ace local clubs for lessons, matches and more throughout the year.
Whether you’re a beginner, need to fine-tune your game or just want to get your kids off a screen, there’s never been a better time to pick up a racquet. Forget sunshine and strawberries (though I do love both), the emergence of domes and all-weather courts in Suffolk & Cambs means the game’s now a play-all-year sport and we’re here for it (though probably in a hoodie and gloves).
Newmarket Tennis Club, Suffolk
Suffolk LTA’s Club of the Year 2021 has got it going on. Junior term-time courses kick off this week (13 Sept) through to December, with sessions for four to 17 year olds throughout the week. Events, holiday camps (hello half-term) and adult coaching are on offer too – sign up for membership (there’s a family option) for money off lessons, easy court booking, entrance to the Wimbledon ticket ballot and social tennis sessions. Loving the fact it’s non-profit and run by enthusiastic volunteers and with seven courts, three covered by a bubble, you’re not going to be short of a court if you join.
Cambridge Lawn Tennis Club, Cambridge
Cambridgeshire’s LTA Club of the Year 2021 award went to this slick city club *round of applause* and it won last year too. Situated near Emmanuel College Sports Ground, there are men’s, women’s and mixed teams to get involved in for members, with beginner and improver courses for non-members starting this week (13 Sept). It’s the largest club in the area, with more than 800 members, so there’s plenty of chance to practice your social skills along with your forehand. If your kids have been inspired by Emma this weekend, they can sign up for junior Autumn term coaching sessions for ages four to 11 years plus, which run for 13 weeks through to December after school and at weekends.
St Neots Lawn Tennis Club, Cambridgeshire
This friendly club lies on the banks of the Great River Ouse and has four flood-lit, all-weather courts, ideal if you’re planning to train for Wimbledon 2022 this winter (we can dream, right?). Pro Nick Peck’s on hand to improve your game, while the kids can get involved with mini tennis and junior programmes after school or during the school holidays, plus there’s an Aces Programme for talented players wanting to take things further. After lessons and games you can hang at the clubhouse bar or hit the pro-shop for tennis bits or to get your racquet stringed. Become a member and you get to join in the club sessions – the next one’s a free adult beginner session (18 Sept) from 9-10am.
Woodbridge Tennis Club, Suffolk
Lots to float your boat at this flourishing club, where six all-weather courts mean you can play rain or shine (though preferably shine). Right by River Deben, Tide Mill and Pavilion Cafe, this club wins our unofficial most scenic award. Adult beginner and improver sessions are available Monday to Friday, which non-members can join, and there’s plenty for kids here too, with LTA youth coaching for various ages throughout the week post-school under the guidance of coach Jon Mansfield.
Huntingdon Tennis Club, Cambridgeshire
New at Huntingdon are Tots & Parents tennis classes on Monday and Wednesday afternoons in September – Venus and Serena’s dad started them at four years old, so what are you waiting for? After school courses for other age groups start this week and run until December, including improver and beginner sessions, which you don’t have to be a member to book. The club has three covered tennis courts and four flood-lit outdoor courts, plus a club house and lots of social events. Keep a look out on the website for half-term holiday courses.
Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club, Suffolk
Totally acing it, Felixstowe has nine grass courts for the summer and nine all-weather courts to handle the rest of the seasons. There’s a fancy clubhouse, loads of club sessions for members, but coaching for non-members too through head coaches Matt Hough and Jez Cowley’s Makeaball Tennis Academy. A new Autumn programme starts this week (14 Sept) through to December, including beginners, intermediate and advanced sessions from just £9 for a non-member. Get involved.
It’s members only at tennis-focused DL clubs, which all have outdoor and indoor courts (Cambridge has eight inside, five out). Once you’re signed up – there’s a three-month trial option if you want to test out how much you use it before you commit to an annual fee – there are lots of courses to choose from, including a four-week beginner session, a refresher course if you want to get back into the swing of thing or some one-on-one with a coach to improve that serve. The social side of things tends to be good at these clubs if you want to find tennis partners and there are tournaments for those wanting more than a knock around.
A big bonus with DL clubs are all the other things on offer, from after school clubs and swimming pools to a rolling fitness programme including yoga, pilates, HIIT and strength and conditioning.
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