Last month, a new craze came to Bristol – urban axe throwing!
We were invited to attend a blogger preview event before Whistle Punks officially opened their Bristol venue. We had a lot of fun trying something new and adventurous together.
Fancy giving it a go? Here’s everything you need to know about urban axe throwing in Bristol…
What is Urban Axe Throwing?
Axe throwing is a little like archery in that you’re aiming at a target to earn points. The big difference (obviously) is that you’re throwing an axe rather than shooting arrows.
People have likely been throwing axes since they were first invented in 6000 BC. However, the first documented use of warriors carrying axes especially made for throwing was in the 3rd Century AD. By the late middle ages, throwing axes were a common weapon.
According to legend, the first axe throwing competitions were held by the frontiersmen in North America; though there are reports of competitions being held among Celtic tribes as well.
Today, axe throwing is a popular event within most lumberjack competitions. And in the last twenty years, axe throwing has been brought inside to create urban axe throwing. This has been immensely popular within the USA and now Canada, Thailand, Australia, France – and soon to be the UK once word spreads.
Official Axe Throwing Competitions
Although we’re axe throwing newbies ourselves, we’ve heard that a truly skilled axe thrower will rotate the axe just once, so that the sharpened edge hits the target where they want it to. You can throw the axe using one hand or both depending on what suits you best.
The axe throwing line is usually 21 feet away from the target, however some of the more serious competitions ask participants to throw across as much as 15 to 30 foot distances. Don’t worry – when trying it yourself for the first time in Bristol, you’ll be much closer to the target.
Targets have five rings; the outer ring is worth one point, the inner next ring is worth two points, then three, four and finally the bullseye is worth five points.
Practice targets and throws are provided before competitions start. After that, each player gets five attempts to score up to 25 points. But they will score zero if they step over the axe throwing line.
Although there are many types of throwing axes, a popular one to use within urban axe throwing is a single-bladed hatchet, which is heavier than it looks!
Urban Axe Throwing in Bristol: Where To Go
Even though there are a few places in Bristol that allow you to take part in axe throwing (e.g. Bristol Activity Centre, Battle Archery Bristol and Essential Adventure), we know of only one place in Bristol (currently) that does urban axe throwing for the perfect rainy day activity.
And that is Whistle Punks on All Saints Street.
Whistle Punks was founded in 2016 and is the first company to take axe throwing out of the woodland and onto the UK high street. Bristol is the fourth and largest UK Whistle Punks venue.
What To Expect From Your First Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing Session
Despite the fact that we attended a press event, we were told that the session we experienced was just like a “real” Whistle Punks session.
Here’s what you can expect from your first try at urban axe throwing in Bristol.
Tutorials and safety briefings
Before you start, you’ll be given a full safety briefing and tutorial from the instructors.
These discussions will include things like where spectators should stand, how to throw the axe safely and how to hit the target.
One of the best things about the Whistle Punks sessions is that your instructors will watch how you throw the axe and will offer you individual pointers.
Every axe thrower is different so you’ll be given unique tips on where and how you should stand, when to let go of the axe and even pointers on where to aim for.
Each lane (there are six in total at the Whistle Punks Bristol venue) has two targets and a maximum of ten people are allowed to throw per lane. So you should find that you get plenty of practice throws and tutorials from your instructor.
Top Tip: During our session, we were told multiple times to loosen up and release tension in our upper bodies in order to throw better. Remember that one for your own session!
Tournaments and prizes
Once you’ve had a few practice goes, it’s tournament time!
You’ll each take turns at throwing the axe but this time for points. Eventually the instructors will whittle it down to two finalists who will compete against each other for the ultimate prize: victory! They’ll even be a shiny trophy up for grabs if you book a ‘Big Shot’ or ‘High Flyer’ lane package.
At Whistle Punks, alongside the scoring mentioned above, there are also a couple of places at the corners of the board, which are worth a whopping seven points each!
Each Whistle Punk session lasts for 70 minutes so there’s plenty of opportunity to score lots of points.
Top Tip: Even if you haven’t done very well in the practice session, don’t despair! I was awful during the practice and kept missing the board entirely. But by the middle of the competition, I was able to score a bullseye for five points! We were even doing “trick shots” by the end too!
Food and drink
At Whistle Punks Bristol, they’ve partnered up with Pizzarova who sell delicious sourdough pizzas – even vegan and gluten free ones! They’re delicious pizzas and well worth sharing after your axe throwing session.
Alongside Pizzarova pizzas, there’s also a bar onsite selling sodas, cider, craft beer and wine. Just remember to save the bulk of your alcoholic drinks until after you’ve finished slinging axes!
Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing: FAQs
Can children do axe throwing?
No. As axe throwing is dangerous in the wrong hands, only over 18s are allowed to take part.
It’s also over 18s only in the entire venue, so urban axe throwing makes for an adventurous and unique date idea!
How long are the sessions?
Including the practice throws, each session lasts for 70 minutes.
How many people can take part?
There are six lanes at the Bristol venue. Each lane has two targets and a max of ten players per lane.
How and where do I pay?
Head on over to the Whistle Punks website. You’ll be asked to choose your venue and package. You can either pay for individual tickets and share your lane with other smaller groups.
Or if you have enough players to book out an entire lane of ten then you can purchase a lane package.
You can also upgrade your lane package to a ‘Big Shot’ lane, which includes a trophy for the tournament winner and two snacks or drinks each, or a ‘High Flyer’ lane, which includes everything in the ‘Big Shot’ package as well as a box of Whistle Punks swag.
Can I just turn up and pay on the door?
Yes but it’s not recommended. Given the limited numbers per lane and that this is likely going to be a popular activity once it really takes off, it’s best to book in advance online to avoid disappointment.
Are spectators allowed?
Definitely. Spectators can chill in the bar area, which has groups of tables and chairs. Or they can watch you from anywhere outside of the axe throwing areas.
Where can I keep my bag and coat?
At the end of each lane, there are shelving units to keep bags and coats stowed away. Just remember not to take any large luggage as you probably won’t be able to fit it on the shelves.
What should I wear?
Something comfortable. You’ll need plenty of movement in your upper arms so avoid anything too restrictive. You’ll need to wear closed-toed shoes and you’ll also have better luck if they are flat. Trainers or canvas pumps are best.
Where is the Whistle Punks Bristol venue?
The Whistle Punks Bristol venue is in the city centre close to The Lanes bowling alley at Unit B The Programme, All Saints’ Street, Bristol, BS1 2LZ.
Where else can I do urban axe throwing?
Whistle Punks also have venues in London, Manchester and Birmingham. But they are growing as a company so keep an eye on their website for new venues.
Scott and I attended a blogger preview event at Whistle Punks’s new Bristol venue before it officially opened and received free entry, pizza and drinks as part of that. As always, all thoughts, photos and opinions are entirely our own. Urban axe throwing in Bristol was so much fun and we think a lot of you reading this would also have an AXE-cellent time! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the urge…
Have you ever done urban axe throwing before? Would you try it? Is there anything else you want to know before doing it? Jot down a note in the comments below and we’ll reply back to you asap…
Did you like this? Share it with your friends and family now!