On our last few holidays to Butlins the kids have tried climbing walls and loved it so much that it’s something I want to get them into properly, I’ve been looking into climbing centres in London for kids so they can carry on something which they love.
Both Paul and myself used to climb regularly prior to having children and loved it so much, we would go weekly just the two of us or would meet up with friends for a longer climbing session. Paul has been on climbing holidays with a friend who is an amazing climber and we have both abseiled our local church raising money for Cancer Research.
The benefits of climbing for children’s health
Rock climbing can often be thought of as a dangerous sport that is not suitable for children, when actually the opposite is true. Statistically, climbing is one of the safest sports around when compared to football, rugby and other more mainstream sports, and the benefits for children’s physical and mental development can be massive, provided it is done in a safe environment with all the safety equipment used alongside proper supervision.
- Climbing is a great way to improve stamina as well as strengthening the core muscles across different muscle groups.
- For young children, climbing can be a crucial way of improving motor skills and basic movement.
- It also promotes flexibility and coordination.
- It is not just the physical aspect of climbing which is beneficial, given the layout of different climbs, problem solving is also a key part of learning to be a good climber.
- Completing a challenging climb is also a big confidence booster, especially for kids with low self esteem.
- Social skills are also improved given that climbing is normally practised in groups, often in pairs.
Types of Climbing
- Bouldering — A style of rock climbing, bouldering is rope-free climbing undertaken at a low height over crash pads so that falls do not result in serious injury. Routes are graded according to difficulty and little equipment is required, usually just climbing shoes and a chalk bag – harnesses aren’t worn for this type of climb.
- Top-rope climbing — This is the style most often seen at climbing walls. Climbers are harnessed and attached to a rope which passes through an anchor at the top of the wall and then back down to a partner at ground level, who pulls the slack rope tight so the climber does not fall if they let go.
- Lead climbing — For more experienced climbers, lead climbing presents a greater challenge as the climber is not anchored in to the top of the wall. Instead, they progressively clip themselves into different points on the wall as they ascend it, with their partner below giving out new rope as and when the climber needs it.
With the Summer holidays now upon us I have started to look into climbing centres where the children could attend and learn to climb properly, for this as beginners I’ve been looking for centres which offer top-rope climbing. I am also thinking of booking a block session of climbing lessons for the kids and staying over in a central London location such as the Park Grand London Hyde Park Hotel so they can make the most of this experience and also have some more fun in London as there are plenty of free activities and places to visit for kids.
Climbing centres in London for Kids and Families
The Castle Climbing Centre – Green Lanes, London N4 2HA
This is actually where Paul and myself used to go climbing all those years ago.
Offering family taster sessions and kid taster sessions so you can see if your kids will like it.
The Family Taster is a 1.5 hour climbing and bouldering session suitable for parents/carers with children aged 5 to 17. Both the parents and children climb together, giving you a chance to try a fun new activity with your child. Young children in particular often feel more comfortable trying a new activity with their parent, so this is a great way to introduce them to climbing and give them the confidence and support they’ll need to get to the top!
- Minimum Age: 5
- Duration: 1.5 hour
- Cost: £20
- Climber to Instructor Ratio: 6 to 1
Children must be accompanied by a participating adult so if you do not wish to climb with your child you’ll need to attend the Kids taster sessions. Kids Taster Session is a 1.5 hour session for children aged 9 to 15 and includes bouldering and top-rope climbing in a safe and closely supervised manner. This session is suitable for all levels of experience.
- Age: 9-15
- Duration: 1.5 hours
- Cost: £20
- Climber to Instructor Ratio: 6 to 1
Mile End Climbing Wall – Haverfield Road, London E3 5BE
This centre is designed for adults but does have a teaching rom where children are allowed to climb a long as supervised by a competent climber over 18. That climber must know how to fit a harness, tie-in, belay and lower off to be able to supervise.
This Summer Holiday Mile End Climbing Wall is offering young people aged 7 and older the chance to have a go at Indoor Climbing.
The emphasis is on fun, with roped climbing, bouldering and maybe even an abseil.
The sessions are fully supervised by one of our nationally qualified instructors and all equipment is provided.
Each session is 1.5 hrs long and costs £10 per person.
Vauxhall Climb Centre – VauxWest Arch 46 – 47a, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London SW8 1SR
VauxWall are happy to welcome Under 18’s, depending on the age they offer different entry methods:
For under 6 years old the only way to enter into the Centre is supervised by a competent Adult.
The adult must be registered at VauxWall as a Bouldering Supervisor which means that a Supervisor Assessment has been completed successfully.
For children 8 years old and above they offer Junior Clubs.
Concessions peak times £10.00
Concessions off peak times £7.50
You can also pay £75 for 10 entries paid in advance
Clip n Climb Chelsea – 19 Michael Road, London SW6 2ER
No climbing experience is necessary and full training is given, with a 30 minute induction as part of your fun-packed 90 minute session and full equipment provided. The automatic belay devices take in the slack as you climb and then lower you gently to the ground so no need to have a belayer with you meaning there are much lower barriers to getting involved.
An all-weather space where adults and kids can enjoy some healthy, action-packed fun! 21 individual and multi climber wall challenges of varying design and difficulty, testing agility and courage in different ways! We also have 3 special attractions – the infamous Vertical Drop Slide, Leap of Faith and Stairway to Heaven!