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A tour of some of the craziest sports in England

posted by Chris Valentine

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Had enough of watching the same old sports week in, week out? Are you past caring about whether Serena Williams will pick up another grand slam or Chelsea will win the Premier League? If so, then it makes perfect sense to just pack your bags and go off in search of some truly bizarre sports to reinvigorate your passion for competition. There are so many weird and wonderful sports out there. Here’s a look at a few that are all on home soil and would be easy to travel to.  

Worm Charming

Worm charming is a method of attracting earthworms from the ground by vibrating the soil and various other techniques. It’s primarily used to find worms to use as bait in fishing, but can also take the form of a competitive sport. The World Worm Charming Championships are held in Willaston, Cheshire. There are only a few rules: Your plot can be no bigger than 3X3 metres, you get a 5 minute warm-up period, and you need a 3 person team of charmer, catcher and counter. The current world record was set in 2009 by 10-year-old Sophie Smith, who raised a whopping 567 worms during the competition.


Shin-kicking is an English martial art and is also known as hacking or purring. It is a combat sport where two opponents hold onto each other’s collars and take it in turns to kick each other in the shins. The aim is to try and force your opponent to the ground. The World shin Kicking Championships are held at the Cotswold Olimpick games and it draws crowds of thousands of spectators every year.

Rock Paper Scissors

Everyone knows the classic game of rock paper scissors that is particularly useful in deciding who can eat the last chocloate or sit in the front seat. Some people also believe that they possess serious skill and talent when it comes to selecting which of the three hand gestures will beat their opponent. Those who belong to that camp will be delighted to hear that they can now put their belief to the test in the UK Rock Paper Scissors Championships. One to circle in your alternative sports calendar, this competition involves 250 contestants battling it out at the Green Man pub in London. The winner receives a grand prize of £100, and of course respect from all of their fellow rock paper scissors athletes.

Wife Carrying

Over in Finland they have a sport called wife carrying which is exactly what it says on the tin. A man has to run an obstacle course of 235.5 metres through forests, sand and water while carrying his wife. Don’t worry if you’re not married, you can just borrow someone else’s wife. The wife must be over 49 kilos though. If she isn’t she will have to wear a rucksack to get her up to the required weight. To carry the wife you can use a piggyback or fireman’s lift method, or rest her crosswise on the shoulders (Estonian-style). The Wife Carrying World Championships have taken place in the city of Sonkajarvi every year since 1992 and the winner receives the wife’s weight in beer. The most entertaining couple, best costume and the strongest carrier are also awarded with prizes.

It’s common knowledge that northerners love their gravy, so much so that they have even started using it in sport. The World Gravy Wrestling Championships take place in Lancashire and have earned a place in a list of the top ten weirdest sports and pastimes. Competitors have to defeat their opponents in a 2 minute long wrestling match in gravy. Points will be awarded mainly on fancy dress and entertainment value.  

With these and many more weird and wonderful sports out there, there is plenty to watch that deviates from the norm. It could be a great trip driving round England in search of the craziest sport of them all. You could even think about participating yourself- get some Bisto and practice for your big moment!

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