Archery is a sport that has captivated people’s imaginations and been enjoyed as a fulfilling pastime for centuries. Blending precision, skill, and a connection to nature, you can learn archery at any age; there are no rules around this. You know best what your body is capable of and it’s a great way to boost your fitness levels, so there’s no time like the present if you want to get started.
Our rich history and thriving archery community make the UK an ideal place to start your archery journey, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced archer looking to improve your skills. It’s a sport with quite a low barrier to entry, as this timeless institution continues to embrace new enthusiasts. All you have to do is find a nearby archery school or club and try out this rewarding new hobby.
In this article, we guide you through some of the best places in the UK to learn archery and outline everything you need to know about getting started.
How do I start archery in the UK?
Before you pick up a bow, begin by researching archery to understand the basics. Read books, watch videos, and explore archery websites and forums to familiarise yourself with the sport and gather information. You can then look into where you can start learning. You’re best placed to consult experienced professionals, as it isn’t recommended at this stage to practise archery at home in your garden, for safety reasons. Once you gain some experience and become confident, it is perfectly legal to shoot in your own garden, if you have enough room and it won’t pose a danger to any members of the public. However, most advice will tell you to go to a registered venue to partake in the sport.
It’s mandatory to complete a beginners’ course before you can join a UK archery club. Many clubs, schools and instructors offer these, consisting of everything you need to get started. These courses typically cover safety procedures, archery equipment, and basic shooting techniques. They should be run by experienced instructors who will support you through every step, give you guidance to start improving and answer any questions you may have. You’ll be provided with the necessary equipment (bow and arrows) to get started, so you can start familiarising yourself and building your skills without having to invest in your own kit. As you progress, you may then choose to purchase your equipment, once you understand your own needs.
Keep up to date with archery news and developments in the UK by subscribing to archery magazines or newsletters and staying connected with Archery GB, the national governing body for archery in the UK. There’s even a national event designed to bring in budding new archers. Start Archery Week was created to welcome in future toxophilites and provide a seven-day-long opportunity for clubs to open their doors to potential new members. The 2023 event saw 106 events held over the week across the UK, with an estimated total of more than 6,000 people trying out the sport.
Where can I learn archery near me?
There are plenty of places you can learn archery in the UK, from national archery schools to local clubs and specialised training centres. Start Archery, which is provided by Archery GB, was founded as an inclusive initiative to assist anyone wanting to get involved for the first time. Both of these have a club finder tool on their websites to see where you can participate in your area, from with accredited coaches at affiliated venues. Bear in mind that all the clubs within their database are located around the East and South East. However, there are plenty of other places you can go to if you’re based elsewhere; read more about them below.
Local archery clubs
Local archery clubs are the heart of the archery community in the UK, offering plenty of fun and camaraderie. They welcome beginners and experienced archers alike, for a casual sense of community and a platform to hone your archery skills, whatever your current form. Joining a club can be a great way to meet like-minded people who share your passion for archery, in an informal setting. Simply search online for archery clubs near your location. Most of them should let you do a taster session if you want to try them out before you join.
Archery training centres
Archery training centres are specialised, prestigious facilities dedicated to the sport of archery for people at the stage of taking it more seriously. They often have a long and esteemed history, boasting some of the most noted experts. With professional coaches and state-of-the-art equipment, these centres are an ideal choice for those looking to take their archery skills to the next level.
Some well-known archery training centres in the UK include the Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre in Shropshire, and the Royal Toxophilite Society in London. These centres offer comprehensive training programmes and are often used by elite athletes for training purposes.
Archery schools and private instructors
For a more personalised archery learning experience, you have the option of enrolling in an archery school or hiring a private instructor. The UK is home to an array of schools that offer training courses for archers of all levels. Some instructors offer one-on-one coaching, which can be highly beneficial for beginners looking to accelerate their learning process. Additionally, private lessons can be tailored to your specific needs, experience level and goals. Bear in mind that instructors will need to be fully licensed and qualified.
Costs for learning archery will vary between venues and instructors. However, the fees for a one-off class generally tend to start at around £20-30. You can usually block-book a course of sessions for a discount. Beginners’ courses usually consist of four or five sessions, each with a duration of a few hours.
Private coaching sessions can cost anything from £25 per hour, to £125 for 75 minutes, depending on the instructor and company. You’ll get a more intensive, personalised level of support in a one-to-one lesson, with the unique opportunity to gain valuable feedback from someone highly skilled and knowledgeable.
If you decide you’d like to purchase your own kit, you can expect to pay from around £60 for a basic take down bow, up to around £180 for one of a higher quality, with a better handle. Specialist bows made for competitive athletes can cost over £500. You may also want to purchase accessories such as bracers (arm guards), quivers (to hold your arrows), a bow stand, finger tab for protection and bow stringer.
Outdoor experience centres
Many outdoor experience centres across the UK offer archery as one of their activities. These centres are a fantastic option if you want to combine archery with other outdoor adventures. You can enjoy archery in scenic settings in nature, while also trying your hand at other activities like rock climbing, canoeing, or hiking. Many of these centres cater to families, so you can have a fun day out suitable for all ages.
National Archery, for example, is a huge network of experience centres focusing specifically on the sport. They offer exhilarating packages to let you brush up on your talents with friends or colleagues. There are 340 locations across the UK and Ireland, from London to Birmingham, Galway to Kildare, Leeds to Coventry and many others besides.
National Trust sites
You can try your hand at archery at various National Trust sites on set days and special weekends. Locations include Trelissick near Truro in Cornwall, Bodiam Castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex and Dapdune Wharf in Guildford. At certain times you can also watch archery demonstrations to see how others improve their skills, as well as taking in entertaining shows featuring medieval reenactments of archer battles.
How hard is it to learn archery?
Archery is relatively easy to learn. You should be able to familiarise yourself with the basic techniques within a few weeks. If you want to become a proficient archer, then this will naturally take longer, so you’ll need to remain committed over at least a few years. Consistent practice is key to improving your skills. You’ll need to keep up attendance at regular sessions and practise as much as possible at a shooting range, to perfect your shots and hit the target from a range of distances. Engage with your fellow archers and be an active part of the archery community. You can learn a lot from experienced bowmen and build lasting friendships.
As you become more proficient, you may want to take part in archery competitions and events. Your club can guide you on how to become eligible and sign up for these activities.
Remember that archery is a sport in which you absolutely have to put safety first. Pay close attention to instructions and rules provided by your club and Archery GB. Always follow guidelines, such as wearing appropriate clothing, using arm guards, and adhering to range safety protocols.
Get Archery Insurance with SportsCover Direct
When you’re enjoying your favourite sport, you want to relax in the knowledge that you have measures in place should anything go wrong. In an ideal world, you’ll safely participate in hobbies and plans will go ahead as expected. However, it’s good to be prepared for life’s unforeseen events.
Whether you need help with an accident, unexpected medical costs or something impacting a trip abroad, SportsCover Direct’s Archery Insurance has been created to support you in doing what you love. With three policy options giving you different levels of cover, you can opt for travel insurance, a bolt-on to your existing policy or sports accident insurance. They’re designed for your needs whether you’re playing competitively or for leisure, close to home or going abroad.
Get a quote today for SportsCover Direct’s Archery Insurance. If you need any support, our friendly team are on hand to help.
This blog has been created as general information and should not be taken as advice. Make sure you have the correct level of insurance for your requirements and always review policy documentation.