Where to go Rock Climbing in the UK

The UK is unusual in that it has a huge variety of rock types and climbing areas confined within a relatively small area.

Famously we have the grit outcrops of the Peaks; exhilarating sea-cliff climbing; and the long, classic mountain routes of Snowdonia.

The climbing areas on this page intentionally describe the places I use from my base in the south of England, and are listed approximately from northmost to southmost. I've also given an indication of the length of trip that is likely to be worthwhile from London (i.e. close enough for 1, 2 or 3 days).

This isn't intended to be a complete list.

Multi-pitch limestone climbing in the UK

Live in the south-east?

There's ample climbing close enough for a day-trip.

A lifetime's-worth of the UK's best climbing is easily accessible if you can do a two or three day trip.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

More on where to go Rock Climbing in the UK:

Mountain Routes in Snowdonia

The view from Mur y Niwl, Craig yr Ogof, in Snowdonia

Snowdonia has much of the UK's most famous climbing, densely packed around its two main valleys.

Almost everything is on offer, from high-quality single-pitch routes to long and adventurous mountain days.

A two day trip is just worthwhile from London if you leave early — three days are better.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Gritstone Climbs in the Peak District

Peapod at Curbar Edge

Peak gritstone is is unusual in the degree of precision and types of skill it requires from a climber. Holds are rounded, but there's a phenomenal amount of fricton.

You'll find numerous routes of all grades and characters, from thuggy cracks to delicate slabs; and the rock is generally both very solid and single pitch, making it a good place to learn to trad climb.

A one day trip is fine from London if you can start early — two days are better.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Pontesford Rocks

View from the top of Pontesford Rocks - my mum has just finished a route!

Pontesford Rocks are near Shrewsbury and, although a minor venue, are handy for learning to trad climb.

Pontesford is a good venue for locals, but I prefer to go to the Peaks, Wye Valley or Avon.

One day is fine from London.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Rock Climbing in the Wye Valley

Top of Wintour's Leap, Wye Valley

The Wye Valley is the home of much limestone single and multi-pitch climbing.

It's a very peaceful place, often in woodland, but with beautiful views when you get above the treeline.

There are places either to learn trad-climbing, or to develop your climbing on multi-pitch routes.

Good for a one day trip from London.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Rock Climbing in Gower

Rock climbing in Gower, South Wales, is beautiful and very accessible.

Three-Cliffs is a wide, sandy beach with climbs rising straight out of the sand.

Climbs are mainly single-pitch, are trad rather than sport routes, and there is plenty to do at all grades.

Good for two day trips from London.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Rock Climbing around Bristol

Climbing underneath the Brunel suspension bridge

There are a many crags around Avon — all limestone — from the magical, wooded Goblin Coombe; to sport climbing in the local quarries; to the multi-pitch routes at Clifton in Bristol.

There are even some routes under the Brunel Suspension Bridge if it's novelty you're after!

Easily done from London and good for one day trips

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Southern Sandstone Rock Climbing

The Southern Sandstone is close to Tunbridge Wells, and is a good venue if you're reasonably local.

It has its limitations — you can't place trad grear, only toprope or solo — and it needs to be dry.

There are pleny of lines to choose from, and the style is similar to gritstone so will work your technique to the full.

It's also really good fun, easy to learn to set up ropes, needs minimal equipment and never feels 'serious' in the way that trad-climbing areas sometimes do.

Easily done from London and good for one day trips

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Sport Climbing in Portland

Portland is a gem for winter warmth in England.

It is almost exclusively a sport-climbing venue, and has routes all around the island with dramatic sea views.

The smallness of the island can be exploited to make the most of the sun, since it only takes a few minutes to go from east to west as the sun goes over.

It's not unusual to be climbing in t-shirts in December!

Can be done as a one day trip from London, but you need an early start.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Sea-Cliff Climbs in Devon

Urizen and Lost Horizon, Long Rock Slab, Devon

Devon has some amazing rock climbing.

It has warm sunny slabs and steep intimidating cliffs, sometimes with long abseils onto sea-washed platforms.

There are some wonderful quality multi-pitch and single-pitch trad routes here.

I recommend learning the ropes elsewhere, and making this your reward!

Can be done as a two day trip from London.

To book a rock climbing course with Alice Turner click here:

Recent Photos, Rock Climbing Info

Page Contents:

Snowdonia

Peak District

Pontesford Rocks

Wye Valley

Gower

Avon

Southern Sandstone

Portland

Devon