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6 of the best places for families to try climbing

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The best places to go climbing with kids

Take a look at our top picks of kid-friendly UK climbing centres where families can learn to climb together, get lessons, or improve their technique

Indoor climbing is not only addictive fun, it’s also a great way to keep fit and build confidence. Here are six adrenaline-pumping spots to hang out with your kids

1. The Castle Climbing Centre, London 

Whether you’re first-timers or experienced climbers, you’ll find plenty of challenges at The Castle Climbing Centre. Start with an instructor-led family or kids’ taster session. If you’re climbing as a family then children can have a go from the age of five.

For more experienced climbers who want to take the sport further, The Castle has clubs for children and youngsters aged five to 17. There’s even a chance for talented climbers to train for regional, national and international competitions. Those new to climbing must book in advance.

2. Quay Climbing Centre, Exeter

There are challenges suitable for pre-schoolers through to experienced climbers at this former electricity works. From 26 different obstacles in the Clip ’n Climb zone through to boulder caves and 15-metre-high walls, there’s something for athletes of all abilities to conquer. The centre runs taster sessions in the climbing arena for those aged seven and up. And if your little monkeys want to take their new skills further they can join one of the holiday and term-time clubs for four to 17-year-olds. Booking is advised for all activities.

3. Rock Up, Hampshire

This indoor climbing centre was built especially for families and has activities for all ages, including a soft play for babies and toddlers. The real climbing starts during mid-week sessions for pre-schoolers with automatic belay systems taking up the slack as they tackle 26 climbs on fun and colourful obstacles.

The big question is will their older siblings and parents be brave enough to tackle the same course? Booking is not necessary during the week but is advised for weekends.

4. Craggy Island, Guildford

For a full-on indoor climbing experience Craggy Island has plenty of challenges for beginners and competent climbers. There are more than 300 routes up walls incorporating overhangs, slabs and arches. For solo climbers there are eight auto belay stations of varying difficulty in the ABzone.

Younger visitors can join one of the kids’ clubs designed to introduce your little crag hoppers to the sport and turn them into competent climbers. Booking essential.

5. The Climbing Academy, Bristol

If you prefer the idea of climbing without ropes and belays then bouldering is for your family. TCA Bristol specialises in this form of the sport with family-focussed sessions starting as soon your little ones are born.

While babies might not actually get on the walls, they are entertained by soft play toys on the crash mats while their parents get in some climbing. From the age of five there are children’s clubs to develop your youngster’s climbing skills and confidence. Families can sign up for membership or pay as they climb.

6. Go Below, Snowdonia

Turn your climbing experience into a real adventure in the abandoned mines of Snowdonia. Families can book a half-day of climbing, scrabbling and zip lining through underground caverns with the guidance of trained instructors. No experience is necessary but children must be over the age of ten and accompanied by an adult. All equipment is provided – just bring a sense of adventure! Book in advance online.

These climbing activities are from Claire Hall, who blogs about her family's travels and adventures at Tin Box Traveller.

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