While London and its suburbs are not known for their rock faces, there are many places in the UK's capital where both beginners and experts can enjoy rock climbing. Indoor climbing in the city falls into three broad categories - bouldering, top-rope climbing and lead-climbing. If you wish to try rock climbing London, you will find over a dozen sites around the capital. A good place to start searching for inspiration is here. Most indoor rock climbing centres will offer different experience levels for all three climbing types. Centres usually have all the necessary equipment available to hire, and all reputable centres will insist on at least an induction course before they let you loose on the ropes!
The Castle Climbing Centre in Stoke Newington is located in a converted Grade II Victorian water pumping station. This climbing centre has two unusual features, you can abseil down its tower, while the cafe's food is grown in the centre's own garden. Check out the menu here. This enormous centre has over 450 climbs which are changed frequently, so you will never get bored. All equipment except for lead climb ropes are provided and the most economical way to use the centre is to register as a member. Everyone has to undergo a rope safety induction and if you wish to climb unsupervised you will have to take its Learn To Climb Course, even if you are an experienced climber. The centre, which is open seven days a week, also has a gym and caters for all ages.
The Mile End Climbing Wall is said to be the oldest dedicated climbing venue in the country and is housed in an old industrial building, a pipe engineering works at Mile End Park. All types of climbs are offered, as well as the 'Monkey House', where climbers can enjoy hanging around on bouldering routes across the ceiling! Climbers of all ages and experience have to undergo a safety induction course and undergo instruction if they want to climb unsupervised. The Wall offers the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) sessions for young people, and is also a great venue for birthday parties, whatever your age. For more information on courses and events, click here.
Other places to try out are The Reach at Woolwich, Climb London, which has seven venues in the capital, and the Westway Climbing Centre, which also offers multiple activities. The Reach is the largest climbing wall South of the Thames and is right on the river, while Climb London offers smaller venues within gyms and sports centres. At the Westway Climbing Centre you can enjoy pitch and court sports as well as use the swimming pool and fitness centre. Their website, has all the information you need.