The government’s new guidelines issued on the 11th May state that you can exercise outdoors as many times as you wish each day and that you can ‘use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart.’
With these new rules in mind, here are the sports you can try your hand at over the next few weeks:
Tennis is now permitted as long as you play within your household or family group. Below are three London tennis clubs with park courts that you can book without becoming a member:
Greenwich park tennis club
Perched on the top of the hill in Greenwich park is a tennis association whose courts are available for anyone to hire. No membership required. Treat yourself to a game before enjoying the panoramic view over Greenwich University and the Thames towards Canary Wharf.
Battersea park millennium arena
This set of courts sits right by the Thames, so play a game and then stroll along the river to take in the view.
Kensington Memorial Park
Head to Ladbroke Grove to combine a game of tennis with some sunbathing in the park afterwards. Don’t forget to pack the Pimms.
The perfect socially distanced game, this is a great way to catch up with friends whilst getting some fresh air. The rules state that you can play golf with an individual outside of your family so long as you abide by the two-metre social distancing rule at all times. Richmond Park, Brent Valley and South Herts are three of the better known courses in London, with an abundance of driving ranges also available – N1 Golf, World of Golf in New Malden and Chingford Golf are three to check out.
Who can forget the iconic beach volley ball court rigged up on Horse Guards Parade during the 2012 London Olympics? Played within your family group, this seems like a good option to try in your local park for those without the garden space. Amazon currently stocks a portable outdoor volley ball net for those wanting to give it a go. Another similar and less bulky park game to try is Spikeball which involves throwing balls onto a small trampoline-like net for those on the other side to try and catch.
City dwellers need not miss out on this hobby. Clapham Common ponds, Alexandra Palace boating lake, Epping Forest or Birchmere Lake in Thamesmead are all stretches of water where fishing is permitted with many areas selling day tickets to anyone wanting to pitch up and try their hand at a catch. Read our guide to learning to fly fish here.
If the warm weather makes a return, then why not? Those near the coast are spoilt for choice but, as Daniel Start points out in his definitive guide to the sport, even inland there are plenty of hidden waterways to root out. His book is a must read for those looking for clean and crowd free swimming spots. Although the London lidos will remain closed, The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman who is a keen open water swimmer recommends taking a dip at Marble Hill in Richmond.
Since we’re now allowed to drive to take our daily exercise, those near beaches can begin to surf again. Keen surfer Benjamin Russell recommends Thurso East in Scotland and Fistral Beach in Newquay as two of the best spots. We wait to see whether in-land surfing centre The Wave in Bristol will be allowed to reopen. For those looking to learn a new water sport, Spectator Life’s Damian Reilly recommends kite surfing, which you can do just an hour from London at Hayling Island.
Outdoor basketball courts are specifically cited in the government guidance as a permissible public place to play sport within family groups. Why not take on another household, playing at separate times, in a shoot out competition and see which group can net the most balls. Clapham Common and Southfields Playing Fields are just two of the London parks that boast public courts.