The launch of The London Shooting Show demonstrates just how popular the sport is with urbanites and countryfolk alike. And whether you’re renewing a past passion or trying out a new sport for the first time, Mayfair has the expertise to guide you…
Words: Nick Hammond
Whether you’re renewing a past passion, refurbing some old kit or diving in at the deep end with a new hobby – sporting Mayfair awaits you. Although it’s a fair trek to open countryside and its fin, fur and feather, our little enclave of civilisation caters for the fieldsports lover with just as much TLC as it does for any of its confirmed urbanites.
Shooting can be another in a long line of daunting prospects to the uninitiated; what’s the difference between a 12-bore and 20-bore? An over-and-under, or a side-by-side? Game shooting and clay pigeon? A bewildering array of firearms and ammunition; hanger after hanger of wildly differing clothing and accessories, accoutrements, gadgets and knick-knacks litter every shooting shop, magazine and website.
But help is never far away in Mayfair. Take the Home House Shooting Society, for example. The private club’s Society was founded 16 years ago by the crackshot PR guru Claire Zambuni at its luxurious base in Portman Square. She set out to introduce like-minded folk to the splendours of top-end shooting, whether clay pigeons or, eventually, game. And before you cry foul – the Society is open to non-members.
‘I started it not long after joining Home House,’ says Zambuni. ‘And I thought it was crazy there wasn’t something already set up. I’d been originally introduced to shooting by a friend I met in the corporate world, having had no interest in shooting whatsoever. I fell in love with this new sport that exuded tradition, culture and the outdoors.’
A typical Home House Shooting Society event takes place at a clay ground near London. The Holland and Holland Shooting Ground, for example, is just 17 miles away and set in 60 acres of rolling woodland. It provides every sort of testing shot imaginable, from complete beginner to Olympic standard. And you won’t go short of hospitality there, either.
Shooting Society newbies will be taken under the wing of an experienced shot at all times. And no, you don’t need a shotgun licence to go along and try the fun. A little light refreshment to start, then some practice shots at the clays, some basic tuition provided where needed and after all the fun, a few popped corks and a refreshing glass of wine. What’s not to like?
If you get well and truly hooked, Mayfair will still continue to look after you. You can zoom straight from the ground to the Holland and Holland sister shop in Bruton Street and salivate over the exquisite range of guns on sale here, not to mention the clothing, gun slips, cartridge cases and artwork.
Then there’s the legendary English gunsmith, James Purdey & Sons, based at Audley House in South Audley Street. Or the Berretta store of St James’s Street, on which you will also find the classically British William Evans, complete with wall-to-wall armoury and the finest country clothing imaginable. Orvis of Regent Street may be a name synonymous with fishing, but they make a killer range of shooting clothing and accessories too.
And before you know it, you’ll be losing delightful hours of your life browsing in these shops and others like them; glorious smelling, aesthetically pleasing, full to the brim of covetable goodies – and all of it redolent of a day in good company in the great outdoors, gun tucked under your arm. Welcome to the club. It’s time to load up.
Home House Shooting Society – call 020 3137 9078 to find out how you can attend a meeting
London Shooting Club is not tied to any one location, instead the club selects the best tuition, shooting venues, and instructors in London, the UK and beyond. See londonshootingclub.com
West London Shooting School, Sharvel Lane, West End Road, Northolt UB5 6RA; 020 8845 1377; shootingschool.co.uk
Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds, Ducks Hill Road, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2ST; 01923 825349; hollandandholland.com
Holland & Holland Flagship Store, 33 Bruton Street W1J 6HH; 020 7499 4411, hollandandholland.com
James Purdey & Sons, Audley House, 57-58 South Audley Street W1K 2ED; 020 7499 1801; purdey.com
Beretta, 36 St James’s Street SW1A 1JD; 020 7408 4411; beretta.com
William Evans Ltd, 67A St James’s Street SW1A IPH; 020 7493 0415; williamevans.com
Orvis, 11B Regent Street, St James’s SW1Y 4LR; 020 7930 8521; orvis.co.uk
London Shooting Club and West London Shooting School are collaborating to launch The London Shooting Show. The show will be an invitation only, exclusive event on the 16-17 September 2016 at the West London Shooting School in Northolt located only 30 minutes from the centre of London.
Britain’s finest gunmakers have welcomed the opportunity to display their guns to the mainly London shooters who will be invited to visit the show. With over 300,000 gun licence holders within one hour’s drive of the show ground, the visitor list will be carefully managed and this will be the shooting event of the year for game shooting enthusiasts.
Clive Hetherington from the London Shooting Club, who is managing the show, has said that ‘we expect every make of gun sold in the UK to be available at the show to try and buy’. Visitors will be able to shoot both rifles and shotguns on the ranges.
Entry is ticket only and surplus from the £10 entry price will be donated to charity.