Rock climbing is an activity with many different purposes. Not only is it a fun way to exercise or learn a new skill, but it’s also a fun alternative to a night out with friends or even a date. And in London, where there is notoriously too much to do, there are places across the city where you can try it. While this isn’t a definitive list, here are some of the best places to go rock climbing in London.
As the name may suggest, you could go rock climbing in a building that looks like a castle. This site in Stoke Newington – a 5-minute walk from Manor House tube station (Piccadilly Line) or a 15-minute walk from Finsbury Park tube station (Piccadilly/Victoria/National Rail) has over 450 routines, meaning that there are many different options for you to try out. After registering, you can decide to climb on a pay as you go basis, have pre-paid visits or take out a membership. It’s pretty reasonably priced too, with a student ticket for a single peak time ticket costing £10 and an off-peak ticket (Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm) costing £8.
A fun fact about this site is that you can abseil down the main tower and that at the top of some of the walls, you can see Arsenal Stadium out of the windows. How cool is that?
This company has sites all across London – Vauxhall, Kennington, Harrow, Hammersmith, Croydon, Bethnal Green and Canary Wharf – so it’s perfect if you don’t feel like going all the way across London. In fact, the site in Harrow is the largest bouldering centre in the UK, with 40,00 square feet of climbing activities. Online registration is free and gives you access to all sites, so you could even alternate if you happen to live near a couple of the sites.
While the prices may differ a little between sites – a single student drop in ticket at VauxWest, VauxEast, HarroWall and RavensWall cost £12.50 at peak times or £9 off-peak, while at CroyWall, BethWall and CanaryWall, a single student ticket at peak times is £11.50 or £8.50 at an off-peak time (off-peak times differ for each site – check the website), it still provides a number of different options for you to try out.
Stronghold has sites in Tottenham Hale or London Fields in East London. If you’re new to rock climbing, you must complete an induction course. You have the option to do supervised or unsupervised courses, perfect for both the newbie and the veteran. One of the benefits of coming here is that they have a social space, so you can have a drink with your mates after climbing (though not before!). A day pass is £9.50 for students, meaning that you can stay for as long as you like. And, if you really like it, there are memberships available too.
Westway is located in White City, near Westfield Shopping Centre. It has 200 square metres of bouldering wall and 350 climbing routes of 110 rope lines up to 13.5m, of which the routes are reset every month, so you’ll have a new experience every time. It’s part of a large sports centre, so there are many other activities for you to try out. Like most other sites, any new climber will have to complete a beginner’s climbing course. In terms of prices, a taster course will cost you £22, a peak time (Monday-Friday 5-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 8am-8pm) student ticket will cost you £9.50 and an off-peak (Monday-Friday 6am-5pm) student ticket will cost you £6. For serious climbers, the site also has National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) sessions, if that’s something that you like the sound of.
This isn’t a definitive list, but here are some of the best places to go rock climbing in London. It’s a fun alternative to the traditional night out, and you do some exercise at the same time (what more could you want?). If you’re looking for other new night out suggestions, check out our articles on the best venues for laser tag and indoor mini-golf in London.