First time climbing in london?

What is CLimbing?

Climbing’s special. Few sports offer the same physical and mental challenge from the very first time you try them.

It’s also accessible for everyone, from beginners starting off their fitness journey to the exercise-mad who want another sport to conquer.

But there are a few things you’ll want to know before you head to the wall for your first time climbing in London. Here’s your beginner’s guide to climbing in the capital.

People trying climbing in London

It couldn’t be easier to get started!

Adults (18+)

Start climbing straight away. No pre-booking is required, you can be on the wall within 5 minutes of walking through the door!

All you need to do is pre-register, which we advise doing ahead of your visit, and turn up ready to climb!

Want to find out more? Keep scrolling for LCC’s Guide to Climbing.

Juniors and families (17+)

If you have children aged 17 and under, there are several ways you can get them climbing.

Please read the three options over on our Pre-Register Page or find suitable courses on individual centre pages.

Want to find out more? Keep scrolling for LCC’s Guide to Climbing.

Your essential guide to climbing in London

‘Climbing’ is the catch-all term for three different disciplines within the sport:

  • Bouldering – Climbing on short walls, around four metres, above the protection of a mat. This is the discipline the London Climbing Centres specialise in, and is all about solving problems to unlock a short sequence of movements that take you to the top of the wall.
  • Sport Climbing – Climbing high up a wall with the added safety of a rope and harness.
  • Speed Climbing – Racing an opponent up an identical 15-metre-high climb.

The primary offering at all eight of the London Climbing Centres is bouldering, but we have a few auto-belay lines at HarroWall for some roped climbing.

Why bouldering?

Bouldering is climbing stripped down to its raw essentials. There’s no need for mastering complicated knots, ropes or harnesses, and all you need to take part is a pair of climbing shoes. That makes it perfect for those living and working in London, just pop in after a day in the office!

Your challenge is to climb short but challenging boulder ‘problems’ using technique, balance, strength, and your brain.

The beauty of bouldering is that every ‘problem’ (the technical name for each short climb) has its own solution. To climb it successfully, you need to figure it out. Depending on your body shape and personal strengths, your solution could be totally different to the next person’s.

You don’t need experience or lots of expensive kit to have a go, making it easy to get into if you’ve never tried it before. All you need to take part are a pair of specialist climbing shoes, which you can hire from us, and you’re set to go!

climbing near bethnal green

Fun, functional fitness in London

Join a friendly, welcoming community

A unique sport like no other!

What first timers say…

“Super fun physically and mentally. Getting fit and strong feels like an added bonus! Not to mention the most supportive community.” – Holly D

“Regardless of your level you’ll find something fun to try!” – Quentin L

“I visited for my first time and now I’m addicted! Would recommend to anyone who wants to try something new and fun, and put your body to the challenge. – Jen K

“Once you start climbing, you won’t want to stop (but your arms will let you know when you probably should…)” – Chris W

Can I climb with an instructor on my first visit?

Of course, if you’d like some more guidance ahead of your first visit, all individual centres host regular instructed induction sessions that are perfect for beginners.

They’re super friendly one-off sessions that will give you all the info you need to enjoy this new sport.

We run them at various times at our eight centres, so head over to Classes & Courses to book on at a centre near you or find a nearby centre below.

FAQs: What will my first visit be like?

Starting a new sport can be daunting, but we’re here to help. Here is how most first sessions roll out.

  • Once you arrive, you will complete your registration at reception. This involves a couple of safety questions from the induction video, so please ensure that you watch it.
    We recommend renting climbing shoes if you don’t have your own. The fit should feel snug but not painful.
  • For clothing, we’d advise going for sportswear that you feel comfortable in. Anything you wear should allow you to be able to move freely on the wall.
  • Familiarise yourself with the centre and find the grade chart to know which colour climbs are easiest. We recommend warming up and doing some light stretches in our gym areas before trying some easy climbs.
  • Pace yourself, taking a rest between climbs, and use chalk to keep your hands dry and your grip secure.
  • For your first time, we recommend around one hour of climbing.
  • Climbing centres are sociable environments where everyone tries to solve the climbs on the wall. So don’t be alarmed if someone starts chatting to you! You’ll may unlock a new technique.
  • We serve refreshments and have seating areas if you would like a more extended break, and our gym facilities allow you to mix up your training sessions.
  • When you’re done, head back to reception to drop off your shoes and check out.
  • All our centres have individual showers and towel hire if you want to freshen up.
  • Expect your arms, hands, and fingers to ache the next day! This is normal, climbing exercises muscles and tendons that most other sports simply don’t touch, and your body will adapt with a few more sessions. You will also learn more techniques to ensure you climb more efficiently.
  • Don’t forget to come back and visit us again!

Our team is always happy to help if you have any questions during your session.

Next step, find a climbing centre near you!