Pinter wrote The Homecoming in six weeks in 1964 from his home in the Sussex coastal town of Worthing, where, according to theatre critic John Lahr, "the magnificent barrenness of the play's North London setting was imagined as he sat at his writing desk overlooking gardens, within earshot of the sea." According to Lahr, Pinter remarked that "it kind of wrote itself."
Pinter's close friend and former schoolteacher, Joseph Brearley, was visiting Pinter after he had written the play. "I gave him the play to read," Pinter recalled. "I waited in another room. About two hours later, I heard the front door slam. I thought, Well, here we are. He doesn't like it. About an hour later, the doorbell rang. I answered it. He said, 'I had to get some air.' He said, 'It is your best.' "