As lockdown restrictions gradually start to ease, many more places have been opening their doors for the first time this year.
One thing that has benefitted from the slight relaxation is indoor sports, meaning places like gyms and swimming pools were allowed to reopen earlier this month.
Another such activity which offers some fun is climbing, with many centres now back open all across the capital.
Climbing is easily accessible and you can start as a total beginner and quickly work your way up to more challenging structures.
There are a host of fantastic climbing facilities in London, which encompass bouldering, top-rope and lead climbing.
Venues generally offer a range of on-site facilities such as changing rooms and showers, with kit hire (chalk bag and shoes) normally very low cost in addition to your booking fee.
Most venues allow room for all the family to get stuck in, with centres also allowing children to try their hand out at climbing if they are accompanied by an adult over 18.
Here are some of the best centres which are now open once more around London.
VauxWall is one of the LLC’s multiple sites across the city and offers bouldering for all abilities, starting right from beginners and have more complicated walls for those looking to climb to loftier heights.
It’s split into VauxWest and VauxEast, with the former being a short walk from Vauxhall station.
They also offer 75 minute long private sessions for up to four people (currently only from the same household) which can be great to get an introduction into bouldering, or even if you fancy a session learning to climb as a family.
Under 18’s are allowed at the centre, with 14 to 17-year-olds allowed to climb solo if they pass an unsupervised junior assessment. Those aged 14-15 must be accompanied by an adult to be signed off and those aged 16-17 are able to come unattended but must bring a copy of their form signed by a parent or guardian.
Pre booking is currently required before making your way to VauxWall, which can easily be done on their website.
They are also currently working on a brand-new gym space which is set to open this summer.
Address: South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, SW8 1SR
Hackney Wick Boulder Project
Based in the increasingly buzzing Hackney Wick, this is one of the newer climbing centres on the block.
It opened in 2017 and promises a friendly and warm welcome to all who want to try out their hand at bouldering.
Those new to climbing can book a taster session with an instructor and they also offer monthly membership starting from £45, as well as pay as you go climbing.
Climbers aged 14 to 17 are also allowed to partake in unsupervised climbing but they must have a parental consent form and with those aged 14-15, it will also be at the duty manager’s discretion.
Address: 117 Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, E9 5LN
Mile End Climbing Wall
A few minutes walk from Mile End Tube station, Mile End Climbing Wall is a firm favourite of those on the London climbing scene.
The venue opened in the 1980s and is currently allowing walk-in climbing sessions during the day, moving on to timed sessions from 5.30pm onwards and at weekends. Two hour slots can be booked on their website.
The wall is also maintained by charity ‘DEVELOPMENT through CHALLENGE’ which encourages personal development through challenging physical activity, particularly within young people.
The charity helps to offer up opportunities to those who may not usually be able to access them, such as vulnerable young people or those with special educational needs.
The centre – which runs as a not for profit organisation – offers bouldering at all abilities, with more advanced areas also giving the opportunity to get stuck in with lead and top-rope climbing.
Address: Haverfield Road, Mile End, E3 5BE
The Font Wandsworth
With its more chilled out atmosphere, Wandsworth climbing venue The Font is going from strength to strength having only recently opened its doors for the first time.
It also boasts a strength and conditioning area to help with that upper body strength as you progress your way up the climbing ranks.
They’ve also become a licensed venue and partnered up with Belleville Brewing to serve a range of their beers in their outdoor seating area for anyone who’s in need of a refreshing pint after their climb.
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The new space allows children as young as four to try out supervised at all times by a parent or guardian. Those aged 14 and over can also take a junior test, which allows them to climb unsupervised if passed.
They’re also open from 6am on weekdays and 8am on weekends, so if you fancy an early morning climb – this is the place for you.
Address: 30 Lydden Road, Wandsworth, SW18 4LR
The Castle Climbing Centre
The Castle is the UK’s largest climbing centre, offering up a mixture of four different types of climbing: bouldering, lead, auto belay and top-roping.
It has bouldering rooms those of all ability can enjoy and there’s even outdoor climbing on offer too.
On-site, there is an organic cafe and multi award-winning community garden for those visiting to enjoy with the latter having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
There are a host of climbing clubs which regularly meet at The Castle which are listed on their website.
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They are also currently allowing bookings in two hour blocks which must be booked in advanced online.
Adults wishing to climb with their children must sign up as a registered unsupervised climber and have the ability to belay and tie in safely.
In addition, it also offers a range of services which will help you get more from your session, such as massages and yoga.
Address: Green Lanes, Stoke Newington, N4 2HA