Warwick Castle welcomes back the Festival of Archery for February half term, kicking off with a special moment as local GB Para Squad member Jamie Harris was given the honour of shooting the first arrow.
Jamie, who is currently preparing for the Fazza Para Archery World Ranking Tournament in Dubai at the end of February, took time out of his schedule to come down to the castle and help them launch their annual festival dedicated to archery.
The Festival of Archery transforms Warwick Castle’s expansive grounds into a captivating archery spectacle, featuring the skills of the castle's expert traditional archers, who are put to the test through a series of spectacular performances.
For Jamie, it was a chance to showcase archery’s modern prowess against the backdrop of a thousand years of history, but to also get involved with introducing new people to the sport. “Any opportunity where I can see people engaging with archery for the first time or rekindling a love for shooting is something I really enjoy. It not only reminds me of how far I’ve come but it’s also great to see the spark light up in people as they try archery for the first time,” he said.
The castle's master archer, Christoff, shared his experiences participating in the Festival since its inception: “I’ve been doing the Festival since it started back in 2019. Some of the rounds have changed a bit to make it a little bit more exciting, a little harder for people competing as well, and the finale is always full of suspense, with a nail-biting finish.”
Kristoff stressed the importance of the Festival in bringing attention to archery, especially longbows, and showcasing its historical significance: “You get to see the power of the bow – what it was back then and how it's evolved over the years. The Festival is really important because archery and especially longbows are something you don't see a lot, and it doesn't get the hype it really deserves.”
Despite being one of the castle’s experts, he often must go up against his toughest opponents: children. “One of the most fun things that we do is we have a round called Beat the Archer. So if any of the kids have done particularly well at the have-a-go range, they get to come and face off against four of our archers. That's the round that has the most nerves for all the archers because the kids normally put us in our place.”
As Warwick Castle's Festival of Archery unfolds, it offers an immersive and entertaining experience, blending history, skill, and excitement for archery enthusiasts and newcomers alike. From live shows and daring challenges to interactive quizzes and have-a-go archery sessions, the festival promises family-friendly fun throughout the February Half Term.
Find out more about the Festival of Archery on Warwick Castle's website.
If you can't attend the Festival, you can also try archery at your nearest club: