Shooting can be an exhilarating and rewarding pastime, but the perception of shooting ranges being located only in far-flung places often acts as a deterrent. The reality is quite different: there are shooting ranges all over the UK, whether you want to hunt game or take aim at clay targets.
In this guide, we’ve picked out a selection of the best shooting ranges the UK has to offer. We’ve included a broad cross-section of different venues, including those aimed at beginners, indoor venues that focus on entertainment, and famous shoots for game birds in the countryside.
Holland & Holland
This is not only one of the best shooting ranges London and the surrounding area has to offer, but it’s also very well set up for beginners. Shooting can be a complex sport to learn, and somewhat intimidating for a first-timer, but Holland & Holland is a great place to dip your toe into the water.
You’ll be spoiled for choice when you get there: 60 acres of rolling countryside play host to 145 clay traps across 40 stands, meaning you’ll face an interesting challenge whatever your level of experience. The sculpted landscape means that many sections of the site are completely closed off from each other, helping you get a real sense of privacy and exclusivity. Guns and equipment can be made available for you to use on the day, while there’s also an indoor rifle range for you to try your hand at.
Holland & Holland is located in Northwood, close to the M25 and M40, making it one of the most accessible shooting ranges you’ll find.
Ian Coley Shooting School
The Ian Coley Shooting School is located in the picturesque Cotswolds, just outside the spa town of Cheltenham, and is a superb facility that really does offer something for everyone. Set in woodland and with well-laid gravel pathways linking the complex, you’ll be able to choose from two dozen different shooting stands, three high towers and much more.
If you’re a beginner, then you’ll be able to get tuition from fully qualified coaches who can help you get up to speed. Once you’re experienced enough, then you’ll be able to call in for individual practice sessions on automated clay traps, and get all the equipment you need from its extensive gun shop on-site.
The staff work hard to mix up the targets across different stands on a regular basis, meaning that there’s always something new to try if you’re a repeat visitor. There are also plenty of events and competitions for shooters of all ages, and the venue is also suitable for groups and corporate events, too.
The Spitfire Shoot
The Spitfire Shoot is in Hampshire, on the A30 just to the south of Andover, and makes a special effort to cater for people of all abilities and levels of experience. It’s been established for 30 years now, with a total of 11 stands for clay shooting giving you plenty of variety.
As well as longer training courses, the Spitfire also provides taster sessions for those who are picking up a gun for the very first time. Additionally, you can also book in for a ‘shooting fundamentals’ course, which can be particularly useful if your progress has stalled or you’re trying to work out why you’re struggling. All this takes place in the beautiful setting of the rolling Houghton Downs, while there’s a range of pubs and restaurants to choose from in the nearby town of Stockbridge.
If you’re up to speed and a licence holder, then you’ll also be able to visit for some solo practice shoots, too.
Cloudside Shooting Ground
If you’re interested in the kind of shooting that you’ve seen at the Olympics, then the Cloudside Shooting Ground near Congleton in Cheshire should be near the top of your visit list.
Cloudside has a range of immaculately-kept layouts, suitable for English Skeet, Compak Sporting, Down-The-Line, Sport Trap, Automatic Ball Trap and more. The venue is owned and run by an experienced shooting family, who share your enthusiasm for the sport and understand exactly what makes for an excellent day out.
Hard standing makes this a great venue for shooting all year round, and Cloudside is accommodating for all levels of experience. There’s also an excellent restaurant on site that serves breakfast and lunch, and you can bring your own alcohol with you (for a small corkage fee) if you want to enjoy a relaxing drink after your shoot.
Slebech might be a fair trek to reach, located in Pembrokeshire in the west of Wales, but the quality of the experience makes it well worth the journey. It’s one of the premier venues in the UK for shooting some of the smaller and more challenging game birds to shoot, such as woodcock, teal and snipe.
The estate is set in 700 acres of the Pembrokeshire National Park, and there is huge variety in the landscape: one moment you might be around boggy marshland, the next you’ll be navigating dense forest. The team of beaters that work Slebech is first-rate, and they’ve got plenty of experience in flushing out the woodcock and other birds into the open.
The Slebech Estate is also a fantastic place to stay in its own right, with sumptuous dining and top-notch accommodation; in 2018, it was named in the Guardian’s Top 50 Country B&Bs and hotels. But if you’re looking for a place where you can shoot multiple types of birds in one place and in a single day, then this should be near the top of your list.
The East Allenheads shoot is located on a part of the sprawling Allendale Estates, which cover a total of 26,000 acres of Northumberland countryside to the west of Newcastle. It’s still reasonably accessible as it’s just off the A69 that links Newcastle and Carlisle, and it’s a mecca for anyone who’s a fan of shooting grouse.
The keepers at East Allenheads put a strong emphasis on conservation, so that sporting shoots can still take place without threatening long-term numbers of the species. One of the other stand-out features here is just how hard the grouse can be to pin down: they can move surprisingly quickly, so a keen eye and a decisive shot are especially important here.
This is considered one of the more exclusive shooting ranges in the UK, so you’ll definitely need plenty of experience before securing an invitation. But if you make it there, it’ll be an experience you’ll remember for a long time.
One of the best things about a good shooting range is being able to combine your favourite pastime with some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the country. And one place where you’ll certainly tick both of those boxes is at Brigands in Snowdonia.
Brigands is an excellent test of your long-range ability, as the pheasants that are flushed out here soar high into the north Welsh sky. Indeed, on one of the drives, the flush point is just over 140 metres above the pegs. Some of the drives can be challenging, but the evocative names involved, such as The Oaks, Waterfall and Humble Pie hint at the thrills on offer for pheasant shooters of all abilities.
An added bonus is the ability to do a bit of plane-spotting while you’re there: the RAF regularly use Snowdonia for some of their training runs, so don’t be surprised if you see some fighter jets on the day. Some of them fly so low through the valleys that you might even find yourself looking down on them from your drive!
Get shooting insurance with SportsCover Direct
All of the shoots listed here will be obligated to ensure that events can take place as safely as possible, but risk can never be completely eliminated. If you have your own guns, equipment and apparel, any loss, damage or theft could be expensive when you have to source replacements.
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