Win Castle Sleepovers and More Super Prizes In Great 1066 Arrow Hunt

Great prizes are up for grabs as English Heritage launches 1,066 arrows to mark the Battle of Hastings in - you guessed it - 1066.

Castle sleepovers, private tours with experts, holiday cottage stays at historic sites and lifetime membership of English Heritage - with free entry to sites all over the country -  are among the prizes you could win if you find one of the 1,066 arrows English Heritage has hidden at 257 historic sites around the England. The first arrow, a giant one, was planted at the battlefield spot, in Battle, where King Harold fell. The rest of the arrows will be a lot harder to find.

The great 1066 Arrow Hunt marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings when William the Conqueror's forces killed Anglo Saxon King Harold and changed the course of western history. To win a prize in the 1066 Arrow Hunt you must first find one of the red-tipped arrows. Each of the arrows is tagged with a unique code. Enter the code on the arrow hunt website and you're a...MORE winner. A map on the arrow hunt site indicates how many arrows are still to be claimed nationwide and how many can still be found at each of the sites around the country.

The competition runs until the last arrow is found or until October 31, 2016 - whichever comes first.

The website has a list of all 257 sites included in the hunt so you can find one near where you are staying or where your travels will take you in the summer of 2016. You can also check the website for other events commemorating the Battle of Hastings anniversary around the country. 

Meanwhile, to get you started on your hunt, here are a few of the historic locations where arrows have fallen from the air and are waiting to be found:

  • 01 of 07
    Dover Castle
    ••• Norman re-enactment at Dover Castle. Neil Holmes/Getty Images

     William the Conqueror considered the castle he built on a hill overlooking the white cliffs of Dover,  "The Key to England". Together with Windsor and the Tower of London it was one of William's first and most important castles in England. The Roman's had already recognized the importance of the location by building a lighthouse that still stands on the site. The hill was probably an Iron Age hill fort before fortified by William's men.

  • 02 of 07
    Portchester castle, England
    ••• Richard Fairless / Getty Images

    They say that Porchester Castle combines all of English history in one place. It is a 1,700-year-old Roman fortress - its outer wall and towers almost intact - wrapped around the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon chapel and Abbey and the royal rooms of a Norman/Plantagenet castle. So there's a lot to see - and plenty of place to search for that arrow.

  • 03 of 07
    Minster Lovell Hall Sign
    ••• Find the church and you'll find the hall. © Ferne Arfin

    Haunting ruins of a 15th century manor house, on a site occupied at least three hundred years earlier than that are romantic and may well be haunted as well. The site glowers beside the dark and deep River Windrush, near Oxford in the Cotswolds. Its romantic stories tell of choosing the wrong side in wars between kings and of wedding night games of hide and seek gone badly wrong. Even if none of them are true, its easy to believe the ghosts of tragic brides and misguided aristos still haunt this place.

  • 04 of 07
    DSC_0347.jpg
    ••• Rochester Castle. © Ferne Arfin

     Rochester Castle was designed by William the Conqueror's master builder, Bishop Gundulph - who also designed the Tower of London and Rochester Cathedral. It has the tallest castle keep of any castle in Britain and, if you have a head for heights and don't mind medieval stone staircases, a climb to the top will reward you with fantastic views across Kent and the Medway.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Tintagel
    ••• Tintagel Gateway. plusgood

    A Medieval castle perches precariously on these North Cornwall Cliffs and clings to the cliff faces above crashing seas. Parts of this castle are more than 1,000 years old and all sorts of legends swirl about it. They said King Arthur was conceived here after his father, Uther Pendragon, seduced the Lady Igraine. Other legends connect the castle to King Mark, whose betrothed wife Isolde was stolen by Tristan. Whoever built this castle, it was definitely occupied by ancient Cornish nobles. Railings and steps make exploring it less hair raising than in the past but you still need a head for heights. And while you are there, look for Merlin's cave. 

  • 06 of 07
    stonehenge.jpg
    ••• Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. © Ferne Arfin

    The ancient stones have been mystifying visitors and romantics for centuries. Nobody is terribly sure who built Stonehenge, or why. But new research is showing that Iron Age - and maybe even Stone Age - Britons traveled from all corners of England for rituals here. Improvements at the site and a new visitor center make Stonehenge more satisfying to visit than ever before. And check out some of the newest theories about what Stonehenge was for. 

  • 07 of 07
    Old Sarum
    ••• Old Sarum. moonpie

    The Romans built walls and a fort on it and so did the Saxons but the signs are that this was an Iron Age hill fort and settlement about 3,000 years before the Romans arrived in Britain. Old Sarum's story suggests that government corruption is as old as time. Until a Parliamentary reform in 1832, Old Sarum sent two MPs to Parliament, even though the place was completely unoccupied then for at least 500 years. While you're poking about the ruins looking for a prize winning arrow, take in the fabulous views of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance. 

I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth I knew not where

Just like the speaker in the poem "The Arrow and the Song" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, English Heritage shot its arrows into the air and has no idea where they've fallen. It's up to you to find them.