Has the gentle thwacking of tennis balls on Centre Court inspired you to dig out your old tennis gear? Does the promise of long summer days and a gentle soft breeze make you long for manicured lawns, lashings of ginger beer and a jolly good game or two with friends? Well, then, it’s time to find some outdoor sporting activities – and there’s no two games that say High Summer more than tennis and golf. Here are the best options near you.
TENNIS – OXFORDSHIRE
Dig out those tennis whites! Many public tennis courts in Oxfordshire are open for 55-minute slots, some of which you can book here. If there aren’t any near you, try one of these instead.
Thame Tennis Club, Thame
Those in Thame will want to hotfoot it over to the Thame Sport Club, as all five courts are currently open. The two artificial grass courts are available to non-members, while members can take advantage of the clay courts.
Cropredy Tennis Club, Banbury
Small but perfectly formed, Cropredy Tennis Club is home to two all-weather hard courts in Cropredy Sports Field. Sign up for free to LTA Advantage to book a court or alternatively, become a member for £40 and get involved with the social side.
David Lloyd, Oxford
If you’re a member of David Lloyd, then head down to the Oxford club where there are three outdoor and three indoor courts – all free for members who usually have access to racquet facilities. There’s also a four-week free refresher course on offer if you need to give your game some, er… polish.
Wychwoods Tennis Club, Shipton-under-Wychwood
All three of the club’s artificial grass courts are now available for members – but you’ll have to get in quick! Wychwoods is very popular, being home to over 300 members in the surrounding area. Non-members can come as guests for the costly sum of £3 per game.
Henley Tennis Club, Henley
A handy club for Henley locals, there are five courts available here, all just a 15-minute stroll from the centre of town. Currently all five courts are open and new members are welcome; it costs £75 for the year. Non-members can book a court but need to sign up and will be required to pay a one-off fee.
TENNIS – BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Buckingham Tennis Club, Buckingham
It might be easy to miss these three courts in the centre of Chandos Park, but they’re ideal for a quick game, and online bookings are currently open to the public as well as members.
Chesham Moor Fitness, Chesham
The two hard courts at Chesham Moor Gym and Swim can be booked on a ‘Pay to Play’ basis for £8 for 55 minutes. Members have access to the courts as part of their monthly fee. Advance booking only.
Prestwood Tennis Club, Prestwood
This award-winning tennis club near Great Missenden has recently re-opened its three all-weather tennis courts to its members. If you’re not yet a member, you can try a seven-day trial to see how you like it.
Gerrards Cross Lawn Tennis Club, Gerrards Cross
For sheer numbers, it’s hard to beat Gerrards Cross! There are a whopping 18 courts to choose from here, including eight clay courts and seven grass courts – perfect for a little socially distanced exercise. The courts are only to members only, but there are membership offers for new joiners.
Aston Park Tennis Club, Aston Clinton
Aston Park is a friendly village club with three outdoor courts, which are free to members. ‘Pay to Play’ is available for non-members – £10 for an hour. And, of course, booking needs to sorted online before you turn up.
GOLFING – OXFORDSHIRE
Heythrop Park, Chipping Norton
This four-star hotel and spa is also home to the 18-hole Bainbridge course (above) which sports incredible Cotswolds views, a peaceful woodland setting and water elements. The course is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30am to 4.30pm, for members and non-members. Stop by for a drink in the Charlbury Bar afterwards of book in for an afternoon tea in the Wedgwood Lounge.
Henley Golf Club, Henley
You’d never know this 18-hole course is just a mile outside of central Henley, as the surrounding woodland and epic views make Henley Golf Club feel like it’s slap-bang in the middle of the countryside. Now’s the time to visit too, as the club is offering membership with no joining fee. A word of warning – some of the uphill slopes are a slog, so not one for dicky knees.
Frilford Heath, nr Abingdon
This three-course club near Abingdon has had a lot of time to perfect its golf offering – it’s been around for over 110 years! The Red, Green and Blue courses mean you have a whopping 54 holes to choose from (plenty of space for social distancing), and the club is now accepting membership enquires for April 2022. If you’ve been dithering about taking the plunge, now is the time.
The Oxfordshire, Thame
Those who love a challenge should enjoy the expansive course at The Oxfordshire, which is a popular spot for professional tournaments. Less traditionally British than others on this list, the course has been designed in an American style (plenty of bunkers and man-made lakes) – so if it’s a sunny day, you can pop on your sunnies and pretend you’re in Florida. Open to members and non-members, with a maximum of four players.
Tadmarton Heath, nr Banbury
Tadmarton has long been popular with golfers after a speedy-but-sweet course, and is one of the top picks in the north of the county. Membership is currently full and people wanting to join are being added to a waiting list. However, visitors are now welcome following lockdown lifting and advance tee times can be booked online.
Studley Wood Golf Club, nr Oxford
A hidden gem of a course, you’d never know Studley Wood is just five miles from the city centre, thanks to the 177 acres of rolling countryside and mature woodland. The club’s 18-hole course was designed by architect Simon Gidman, who has names like Galgorm Castle and Centurion Club under his belt, so you know you’re in for a treat. Visitors are welcome and you can book tee times online up to four days in advance.
GOLFING – BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges
Stoke Park (above) is being prepared for a full multi-million pound refurb so afternoon teas are on hold but in the meantime we’ll just have to enjoy its tip-top 27-hole golf course instead. After all, it’s not often you get to play the same course as 007 (Stoke Park was the location for the golf game in Goldfinger). Bonus: the grass and clay tennis courts are open to bookings two weeks in advance. Available to members only.
Oakland Park Golf Club, Chalfont St Giles
Hidden away in the leafy village of Chalfont St Giles, Oakland Park makes the most of its Chiltern parkland location with an 18-hole course that twists and turns. All levels are welcome here – there’s enough variety to interest pros while not being too intimidating for beginners. Open to members and visitors.
Woburn Golf Club, Milton Keynes
Woburn is best known for hosting the British Masters for 20 years, and its three courses regularly rank in the top 100 golf courses in the world. It’s open to visitors and members, but if you’re umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether to sign up, it’s worth noting that members get discounts at Woburn Safari Park, Woburn Abbey and Gardens and The Woburn Hotel too.
Wexham Park Golf Club, Slough
Straddling the Bucks and Berks border, Wexham has an 18-hole Blue course and a 9-hole Green course to choose from, both of which are currently open to members and visitors. If you’re a newbie and want to sharpen up your swing, 1 to 1 golf lessons are also being offered (appropriately socially-distanced, of course).
Wycombe Heights Golf Club, High Wycombe
What better way to take advantage of the chalky hills of the Chilterns than to pop a couple of golf courses down? Wycombe Height boasts a main course and a short course, both of which are 18 holes, and golf aficionados will be pleased to note that the main course was designed by former Ryder Cup captain John Jacobs. Both are currently open to members and visitors.