Festival of Sport returns to Norfolk in 2022

Rugby legend and co-founder Will Greenwood will once again be running coaching sessions at the festival

Rugby legend and co-founder Will Greenwood will once again be running coaching sessions at the festival - Credit: Festival of Sport

Imagine grabbing a bite to eat from a gourmet food van on Holkham’s Estate and finding yourself chatting to the international rugby legend next to you.

That was the reality for families at last year’s Festival of Sport as they got the chance to rub shoulders with their sporting heroes.

From being coached by the very best in their sports, playing alongside them or even dancing with them to live music as the sun sets, the inaugural event in 2021 went down a storm with both parents and children.

Featuring more than 30 international and national sports stars, the full weekend of fun will run for an extra night when it returns this year, so that families can kick back and enjoy Sunday night’s closing party.

Austin Healey, co-founder of Norfolk's Festival of Sport

Festival of Sport was co-founded by Austin Healey, who says this year’s festival is going to be even bigger and better than last year - Credit: Festival of Sport

International rugby legends Will Greenwood and Austin Healey teamed up to co-found the event and are excited to be bringing it back to the beautiful Holkham Estate from Friday, August 12, to Monday, August 15.

They hope it will inspire families to be more active and take up new sports, as well as attracting people to visit Norfolk by basing their holiday around the festival.

Rugby World Cup winner Will said: “We can’t wait to get back to Holkham for this year’s Festival of Sport – it’s going to be even bigger and better than last year.

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“It’s such a good opportunity for youngsters to improve on their existing skills as well as try completely new sports, with a complete package of fun for the whole family – I don’t think there’s anywhere else that you could have that same experience all in three days.”

Stars of the sporting world attending for the first time this year include Team GB hockey gold medallists Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, rower Alan Campbell and freestyle footballer Charlotte Lade-Rogers.

Alongside Will and Austin, those returning in 2022 include cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, trampolinist Amanda Parker, Paralympic rowers Vicki and Tom Aggar, netballer Tamsin Greenway and golfer Graeme Storm.

Former England striker Dean Ashton is looking forward to returning to the Festival of Sport

Dean Ashton is looking forward to returning to the festival with his family this year - Credit: Festival of Sport

Former England striker Dean Ashton was one of the household names imparting his knowledge and skills last year and is looking forward to tackling this year too.

The ex-Canaries and West Ham player said: “The whole experience last year was fantastic – not just the opportunity for kids to try so many sports in one weekend, but there was so much else to do too.

“My family and I absolutely loved it and we can’t wait for this year’s event.

“I’m really looking forward to catching up with some familiar faces from 2021 to see how they’ve progressed since then, and hopefully there will also be a whole raft of new faces to share top coaching tips and, more importantly, have fun with too.”

The festival gives youngsters the chance to hone their skills in their favourite sports, or try out completely new disciplines. And the overriding theme of the weekend is that “no one gets left on the bench”.

The event kicks off on the Friday evening with a warm welcome to the festival, and open-air cinema, while Saturday and Sunday daytimes are packed with sessions ranging from rugby, football, cricket, netball and hockey, to kayaking, martial arts, boxing, archery and trampolining, as well as fun runs, exhibitions and showcases.

New sports for this year include Pentathlon GB’s laser run, where athletes both run and shoot laser pistols.

While the programme is mostly aimed at five to 17-year-olds, there are plenty of activities for pre-schoolers, including baby gym sessions and dance classes, and adults can take part in selected sporting activities themselves as well as yoga classes, expert talks or a sports massage.

A wide range of food and drink is available throughout the weekend from a range of carefully selected providers, offering the best in local and more exotic flavours and including several licensed bars.

And of course it would not be a proper festival without live music and DJs to party to each evening, plus the chance to camp on-site, either in your own tent or campervan, or in a range of glamping options from bell tents to Airstream trailers. 

Music event at Norfolk's Festival of Sport 2021

The evenings offer fun for all the family with music and DJs - Credit: Festival of Sport

How to book

Tickets for the full weekend are on sale now, at £370 for one adult and one child aged 5-17 (under 5s go free). Additional adult tickets are £160, additional child tickets £210.

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, or ready-erected bell tents from £250 (three nights, up to six sharing).

Find out more at www.festivalofsportuk.com