The non-homogeneity of concrete as a structural material is likely to have a considerable influence on the distribution of strains, even under uniform loading. Strain measurements in structural concrete are largely limited to measurements on the surface owing to difficulties associated with the use of embedded strain gauges. In order to capture the true distribution of strains in discontinuous regions such as holes (eg, holes of prestressing ducts and service ducts), an attempt was made to measure the internal strain variation around the holes in plain concrete panels subject to direct tension using embedded strain gauges and surface strain gauges. Rubber membrane strain gauges were developed to measure the internal strains along with embedded strain gauges. Strain variation in two orthogonal directions was studied. Experimental results obtained were compared with results of finite element analysis. Measured strains near the hole boundary showed high values at the surface compared to interior regions. Analytical results were in agreement with the internal strains, but failed to estimate the high strains at the surface. Stress concentration factors obtained experimentally were found to be higher than those predicted analytically.