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Top places to try out rock climbing

A woman wearing a helmet and a roped harness climbs up a cliff above the sea
Rock climbing on the cliffs at Stackpole, Pembrokeshire | © National Trust Images/Jennie Woodcock

Rock climbing and scrambling are great ways to develop new skills and confidence as you explore the outdoors. There are lots of places for beginners to have a go, and children can tick off a ‘50 things’ activity – No. 46 Clamber over rocks. Please remember that you should only climb in a supervised environment, wearing a helmet.

Getting started in rock climbing and scrambling

All indoor climbing walls will offer training, but if you’re climbing outdoors you need to hire a qualified instructor. Instructors must have an SPA qualification as a minimum, and preferably an MIA or MIC qualification too.

Joining a training course or event will take you to some of the best places for climbing in our care – all with qualified instructors at your side.

Start with a scramble

If you don’t quite feel ready for rock climbing, you could start with clambering and scrambling over rocks. It’s an excellent way to find out if you might enjoy rock climbing.

Many of the skills and techniques will help you to learn how to climb. You’ll discover how to balance accurately, and where to position your feet to move to the next rock.

Top places to try climbing

Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons), Powys
There are indoor facilities for beginners here, and more experienced climbers can arrange an outdoor session.Visit the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons)
Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire
Brimham’s varied and dramatic natural landscape makes it an exciting place for climbing. Children as young as seven can have a go at one of our family-friendly events.Visit Brimham Rocks
Carneddau and Glyderau, Eryri (Snowdonia)
The slabs and faces of Tryfan and Cwm Idwal are famous climbing spots. Training is available for children, beginners and experienced climbers at the National Mountaineering Centre at Plas y Brenin.Visit Carneddau and Glyderau
A child in a roped harness climbing on slab in the mountains, with a lake in the background
Climbing in Snowdonia, with the lake Llyn Ogwen in the background | © National Trust Images/Tom Simone
Castle Ward, County Down
Pre-book the climbing wall at Castle Ward as part of an adventure package with Clearsky Adventure.Visit Castle Ward
Fell Foot, Lake District
Children can climb trees with ropes, knots and karabiners at Fell Foot Park. You can also hire rowing boats and kayaks here from April to October.Visit Fell Foot
Great Langdale, Lake District
Gorge scrambling at Stickle Ghyll in Langdale is perfect for beginners and children as young as five. Bouldering lessons are also available. These are just a few of the many activities on offer at Great Langdale campsite.Visit Great Langdale Campsite
Climbers wearing helmets and roped harnesses climb up through the fast-flowing water of a rocky ghyll
Scrambling up Stickle Ghyll in Great Langdale | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris
Keswick, Lake District
The Keswick Climbing Wall provides everything you and your family need to safely try rock climbing and abseiling – with trained instructors on hand. Scrambling for beginners is available nearby at Cam Crag Ridge, in the Langstrath Valley.Visit Borrowdale and Derwent Water, near Keswick
The Lizard, Cornwall
Half- and full-day rock climbing lessons are available on the Lizard, with Lizard Adventure. Rope up for a climbing experience at Old Lizard Head or try the popular adventure sport of coasteering – scramble, climb, swim and jump your way around the coast and see the Lizard from a unique angle.Visit Lizard Point
The Mournes, County Down
Groups can learn to rock climb and abseil in the vast Mourne mountains with Clearsky Adventure. There are routes with varying levels of difficulty, suitable for ages 5 and upwards.Visit the Mournes
There are lots of activities to try at Activity Pembrokeshire in Stackpole, including rock climbing, kayaking and coasteering sessions from Stackpole Quay. The team run a daily programme of activities during the school holidays.Visit Stackpole
Visitors exploring the rocks in the Owler Tor area of Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire

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