Sport for all: the festival that welcomes all ages and abilities

Archery at Norfolk's Festival of Sport 2021

More sports than ever will be on offer at this year's Festival of Sport - Credit: Festival of Sport

Festival of Sport returns to Holkham Park this summer bringing with it a wealth of world-class talent willing to share their expertise. Ellen Collison and her family attended last year's event, and she says she knew from the moment she arrived that it was going to be a great weekend. 

The mum-of-two, a keen rugby fan, said: “The first face we were greeted by was none other than Mr Will Greenwood, offering us ice pops. LEGEND. I couldn’t believe it, I knew him and Austin were part of it, but not actually part of it.” 

Co-founded by former England international rugby stars Will Greenwood and Austin Healey, the weekend from August 12 to 15 is all about active family fun.  

For teenagers who are passionate about more mainstream sports like rugby, football, cricket and netball, it gives them the chance to learn from the best and take their skills to the next level. 

And for those looking to try something new, they can opt to take sessions in sports such as battle games, archery, rowing, boxing and golf. 

Sessions are in groups by age, so that young athletes can learn and compete with their peers.  

Will Greenwood explains: “For the under-10s we focus on the basics and skills training, whereas for the older age groups we’ll give them specific coaching to improve existing knowledge and have a proper competitive match so that they can put that into practice.” 

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Sports stars for 2022 include cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, hockey players Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh and Alex Danson, trampolinist Amanda Parker, footballer Dean Ashton, Paralympic rowers Vicki and Tom Aggar, netballers Tamsin Greenway, Karen Greig and Karen Atkinson and golfer Graeme Storm.  

All legends actively participate throughout the weekend, coaching and playing alongside youngsters, as well as their accompanying adults, with special Grownups vs Legends games. 

Isabell and William with former England international rugby star Will Greenwood

Isabell and William with former England international rugby star Will Greenwood - Credit: Ellen Collison

Ellen, who lives in west Norfolk with children Isabell, 10, and William, seven, said: “The festival gave the kids a chance to try every sport they wanted to. Cricket with the legend Ryan Sidebottom, who was brilliant with both of mine, neither of whom has ever bowled a ball. Archery and golf, sports they had never tried - trampolining and dodgeball, all new to them.  

“Evenings were just as good – barbecue and open-air cinema on Friday night, then on Saturday a fantastic band on the main stage. Again our two hosts Will and Austin and various sporting legends were ever-present, helping to make the best memories for my kids.” 

Ellen said: “I got to play rugby with Will, Austin and Mike Tindall. It was awesome. I was one of only two mums on the field of play, but there was no way that I was missing that!” 

Ellen said: “Isabell and William had the best time and made life-long memories. This festival brought them confidence, experiences and enjoyment. We can’t wait to come back again this year.” 

New for this year is the chance to stay an extra night, on Sunday, to enjoy the closing party, while more sports than ever will be on offer, including laser run, kayaking, mixed martial arts and a range of wellbeing activities too. 

Futsal at Festival of Sport 2021, Holkham Estate

The Festival of Sport gives young people the chance to try something new with coaching from sporting legends - Credit: Festival of Sport

The sports programme is aimed primarily at youngsters aged between five and 17 years old, but there are plenty of additional activities to keep pre-schoolers and adults occupied and entertained too. 

For older children, the festival provides a safe space for them to have a bit of independence in the evenings and enjoy the festival vibe with new friends.

Festival of Sport takes place at Holkham Park, Norfolk from August 12 – 15, 2022. Tickets for the full weekend are on sale now, priced at £370 (one adult + one child aged five-17 years). Additional adult tickets £160, additional child tickets £210. Under 5s go free. 

Tickets include access to the event and full programme of sports sessions for all children plus entertainment on all three nights. Accommodation on site starts at £70 for three nights for a tent or campervan pitch, ready-erected bell tents from £250 (three nights, up to six sharing).  

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