Curious to try indoor climbing in Cornwall?
Well, here is the perfect guide for you to find out the best indoor climbing wall Cornwall has to offer!
Cornwall, located in Southwestern England, is a popular tourist attraction that has pristine beaches and pleasant weather. While you can explore some amazing outdoor terrains in Cornwall, you do not want to miss out on the fun Cornwall indoor activities too (especially when it rains)!
Indoor climbing is an excellent way to get the adrenaline rush without worrying about wild creatures. It is also a good entryway to become more comfortable with heights as you explore the different indoor rock climbing routes!
The indoor climbing scene has exploded over the years, especially with the introduction of sport climbing to the 2020 Olympics which sparks more indoor rock climbing Cornwall locations across the county!
As we explore various indoor rock climbing locations, you may have questions like what are the indoor climbing prices like? Is it child-friendly? Is there a convenient parking space?
Our WWB rock climbing enthusiast, Anna, will walk you through the nitty-gritty info with each climbing center so you can find the best indoor climbing UK has grown!
7 Places to Go Indoor Climbing in Cornwall
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1. The Tide Climbing Centre
- Adult £12.50 ($ 16.26)
- Child £10.50 ($ 13.66)
- Taster session (ages 4+) 1 hour : £ 20.00 ($ 26.10)
Located in the north part of Cornwall, The Tide Climbing Centre is the largest indoor climbing wall in Cornwall and the newest in town.
It has over :
- 100 bouldering problems
- 22 top-roped routes
- 4 auto-belay routes
It is a family-friendly gym, catering for climbers aged 4+ and above, as well as a dog-friendly location.
If you are looking to refine your climbing techniques, this indoor climbing gym conducts specific climbing courses as well as fitness classes and daily yoga sessions.
Also, come hungry – you do not want to miss out on their delicious handmade pizzas!
Parking is free, albeit limited so try to come before peak hours.
To know if the gym is full, check out their website at the bottom where they have a capacity counter that monitors their gym capacity in-real time!
- Adult: £7.50 ($ 9.75)
- Student £6.50 ($ 8.45)
- Junior ( < 16) £6.00 ($ 7.80)
- Taster session (ages 7+) – ½ hour/person : £ 20.00 ($ 26.10)
The Barn Climbing Centre is an all-rounded Cornwall indoor climbing gym nested at the Devon/Cornwall border near Tavistock. Their facilities include:
- up to 100 bouldering routes
- 45 top-roped routes
- 2 auto-belay routes
- 70 lead routes — 9.5 meters (31.17 feet) high!
The highlight of this location is the free-standing boulder in the middle of the climbing gym where you can climb all the way to the top and rest above it to get a 360 degrees view of the gym (or looking down at your peers).
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned climber, there is something for everyone.
The indoor rock climbing routes’ difficulty range goes from French grade 2 (kid-friendly) to 8a+ (professional). If you plan to train hard, this is the perfect gym for you. They also offer outdoor rock climbing courses if you are keen on gripping real rocks!
There is free parking on site. And if you need a furry friend, Myra the Samoyed will be around to cheer you on!
- Adult visitor :
- £8.50 ($ 11.06) (off peak)
- £9.50 ($ 12.36) (peak time)
- Taster session (ages 5+) – 1 ½ hours / 1- 4 people : £ 50.00 ($ 65.09)]
Granite Planet is the largest West Cornwall indoor climbing center.
It has multiple indoor climbing wall in Cornwall that are catered to all levels. They have :
- over 140 climbing routes (including top-roped and lead)
- a traverse room
- a bouldering cave (with climbing holds up to the ceiling)
This gym feels like a playground built for adults with its unique setup of indoor rock climbing routes.
Boulderers can test their finger and core strength with the 1-100 numbered wall.
If you would like to know how Santa climbs out of the house, you can explore their creative chimney routes that come in two different sizes. The indoor rock climbing routes’ difficulty range from French grade 3a (kid-friendly) to 8a (professional).
Granite Planet is also a solid location to practice lead climbing as they make it beginner-friendly with protection walls. It is also not as tall as the lead walls in other climbing gyms, with its highest wall at 8 meters (26.24 feet).
A fun quest for you: Spot the climbing holds that resemble Cornwall’s famous items: pasties and tin mines!
- Adult : £ 11.00 ($ 14.31)
- Child: £ 9.00 ($ 11.71)
The Climbing Hangar has 7 different indoor rock climbing locations across the UK, with the closest location situated on the outside of Cornwall, in Plymouth.
The Plymouth location opened in 2018 and is an indoor bouldering Cornwall gym that consists of some of the finest competition-level bouldering walls (This means the climbing walls you see in Bouldering World Cups are replicated here!)
Step in and be amazed by the well-organized layout of the spacious 9,000 square feet indoor climbing gym, with its visually impressive walls.
You will find a comprehensive training area, mini-climbing walls designed especially for children, and a cozy cafe that is vegan-friendly as well.
They provide free onsite parking along with bike racks. Also, this place welcomes dogs!
Unlike most climbing gyms, the Newquay Sports Centre is an all-in-one sports center that is not limited to indoor rock climbing. They have a newly installed gym complex as well as indoor squash courts, a shooting range, a rugby field, and meeting space facilities.
It has one of the largest indoor climbing walls in Cornwall and was revamped recently in the past year!
However, as of April 2022, they are not open to the public yet but told us to keep an eye out on their social media. Stay tuned for the latest updates!
- 1 – 2 people (30 mins): £ 20.00 ($ 26.13)
[e.g. if you have 2 people, you pay £ 10.00 ($ 13.06) each]
- 3 – 6 people (45 mins): £ 9.00 ($ 11.71)
Have you seen an outdoor activity center that has all the outdoor activities and an indoor climbing facility? I had not until I found Adventure Fit Southwest !
Based in Looe, it is a family-run business that organizes many outdoor activities such as canoeing, paddleboarding, mountain biking, and camping along the river in this fishing town. In 2018, they decided to expand into indoor rock climbing in Cornwall and set up routes at The Old Sardine Factory.
The climbing wall has :
- 6 roped climbs
- 3 auto-belay routes (including a chimney route)
- Low traversing wall
The wall is suitable for both beginner and experienced climbers alike.
However, as they are a small facility, they only allow groups of maximum 6 people to climb in one session and open climbing for all ages only happens during weekends. But fret not, they are looking to open more slots in the future, especially during the holidays.
If you have a larger group of more than 6, you can contact them with your requirements.
Once you are done with your climbing session, you can explore the center’s other activities such as paddle boarding and kayaking! There is free on-street parking by the river at West Looe.
Clip ‘n Climb is a fun climbing concept where you can climb structures that are different from your conventional indoor climbing: find yourself going up very tall ladders or stepping on vertical tubes of different heights!
It also has a wide range of walls with different colored patterns and textures so that it is appealing to anyone.
Clip ‘n Climb routes are for all climbing levels and anyone aged 4 and above can hop onto this wall. They are either located in stand-alone facilities or shared with other activity centers. You do not need a belay partner as the auto-belay device will be clipped in to support your climb.
Here are two indoor climbing Cornwall UK locations that have Clip ‘n Climb Facilities:
- £ 10.00 ($ 13.01) (off peak)
- £13.50 ($ 17.56) (peak time)
- adult-only session : £15.00 ($ 19.51)
(30 mins sign in + 60 mins climb session)
Clip ‘n Climb Plymouth is UK’s largest indoor climbing center, with 44 indoor climbing lines for everyone aged 4 and above to keep hanging around all session long! Some of their popular routes include:
- UK’s tallest ‘Big Cheese’ — a 10.8 metre (35.43 feet) high wall
- ‘Stairway to Heaven’
If you are feeling brave, you can take on the following challenges (do note that there is an additional cost of £2.50 ($ 3.25) each with a minimum height restriction of 120 cm)
- ‘Leap of Faith’
- ‘Vertical Drop Slide’
For the adults who prefer to have the playground to themselves, there is an adult-only session every Friday at 7:30 pm. Do book your slots in advance, as they sell out fast!
There is free parking at the back of the climbing center but it fills up fast. An alternative would be the ‘Pay & Display’ car park within 300 meters (984 feet) from the location.
Fee: £ 15.00 ($ 19.51) (60 mins climb session)
Base Camp is one of the largest indoor centers for kids (and adults alike!) who enjoy Cornwall indoor activities.
Located inside the luxurious Gwel an Mor Resort, you do not have to stay a night there if all you want is to climb! They have over 2,000 square feet of soft play with:
- 10 Clip ‘n Climb walls
- 3 zip lines
- ball pools
There is free common parking outside the area.
Indoor Active is Cornwall’s biggest soft play center and it famously had a variety of Clip ‘n Climb climbing wall in Cornwall Services.
However, they made a tough decision to close the Clip ‘n Climb section with its last operation on 3rd January 2021, to the disappointment of many fans!
However, not all hope is lost as Clip ‘n Climb will continue to be within reach at a new location, Hendra Holiday Park in Newquay. As of today, it is not open to the public yet but we are looking forward to some good news soon!
What Is Indoor Climbing?
Indoor climbing is rock climbing inside a building that consists of man-made climbing walls and rock replicas. It allows climbers to climb at any time of the day, rain or shine. There are many types of indoor climbing:
Bouldering walls are on average 4.5 meters (15 feet) high.
As there is no rope involved, the only way to come down is either jumping down, down climbing, or if it is a free-standing boulder, climbing over. Because of the short route, it often focuses on strength and technique to stay on the wall.
It is also relatively inexpensive compared to other types of climbing because of the minimal gear used. Boulder routes are often called boulder problems and are graded according to the V system.
- Beginner routes: VB – V
- Intermediate routes: V3 – V4
- Advanced routes: V5 and above
Once you pass the beginner routes, it will get more difficult to send each level as the technique and strength required will differ.
Everyone’s progression is different so do not feel dejected if your friend who is a first-time climber sends a V4 route while you are stuck at V3! Always go at your own pace to avoid injuries.
Top-roping is the best way for beginner climbers to familiarise themselves with rock climbing. You will scale walls taller than bouldering walls, and will have a belayer (person holding the other end of the rope) to support your climb and prevent any falls.
Belayers will have a belay device to take the rope as you climb or descend.
The route difficulties are based on the French grade and can go from 2 to 8a+ depending on the gym.
- Beginner routes : 2 – 5c
- Intermediate routes : 6a – 6c
- Advanced routes: 7a and above
If you plan to climb solo, some gyms have auto-belay routes where you are clipped in from their locking carabiner to your belay loop and take in slack as you climb and slowly lowers you when you descend.
3. Lead/Sport Climbing
Lead climbing is an intermediate climbing style that focuses on particular techniques and moves to scale up the wall.
Falling is expected and many climbing lead courses will teach you the right way to fall to avoid slamming against the climbing wall. They will also teach the belayer how to catch you as you fall and give rope when you climb.
Outdoor climbing involves lead climbing techniques so if you are interested in transitioning to the outdoors, get practice in indoor lead climbing.
Is There A Climbing Wall In Truro?
No, there is no climbing wall in Truro. The nearest climbing wall is Granite Planet Climbing Centre which is 9.6 miles away (via A39).
Who Is Indoor Climbing For?
Indoor climbing is for all ages, the young and old alike. Yes, even your grandparents can climb! Climbing gyms will make their walls as inclusive for everyone as possible so there are definitely indoor rock climbing routes that are as easy as climbing up the stairs!
Is Indoor Climbing Safe?
Yes, indoor climbing is safe, especially in comparison to outdoor climbing. Commonly bad injuries occur when the belayer is negligent or climbers fall incorrectly on a bouldering problem. However, there is always a safety crew on the lookout to prevent any of these from happening!
How To Get Into Indoor Climbing
1. Your Indoor Climbing Gym
Search for “indoor rock climbing locations near me” to get started! Finding somewhere convenient that you can head to after work or is nearest to where you live will push you to climb more.
Want to try out the area first?
Many gyms have a taster session or package for you to experiment with the indoor rock climbing routes before committing to a location.
2. Find Your Climbing Buddy
The climbing community is one of the friendliest and most welcoming sports communities, which is why you often see climbers being cheered on when attempting a route!
Get to know new climbers when taking a course or getting some route tips (called “beta” in climbing lingo) from them on a climbing problem.
Having a climbing partner is also necessary when you need a belayer or a spotter on the roped walls and bouldering walls respectively.
So go forth and be social – the more the merrier!
Note: you will often hear climbers shouting “Allez”, which means “Come on” in French to encourage climbers to send the route!
3. Have A Set Climbing Time
With the exponential growth of indoor climbing in Cornwall UK, climbing gyms are now offering different prices for peak hours and off-peak hours. I encourage you to go during off-peak hours such as weekday lunch breaks to get the most out of your climbing experience.
4. Get Your Climbing Gear (Or Rent Them)
All climbing gyms will provide gear rentals before you decide if climbing is for you.
- For indoor roped climbing, you will require
5. Pick A Climbing Project
Do take note that the indoor rock climbing routes are not forever.
Having a goal in mind such as sending a difficult route can help you evaluate your techniques and improve your climbing. That route you have been trying for the umpteenth time?
That’s your project. The crux that you cannot get over with? That’s your project. Don’t feel defeated and climb on!
6. Keep the Indoor Climbing Walls (and Floors) Clean
I have witnessed some new climbers walking into climbing mats with their outside shoes. Major yikes!
This also means that you should not be walking into the bathroom with your climbing shoes on!
Also, while it is nice to have chalk on your hands, do not forget to wash them. Remember you are sharing climbing holds with everyone else!
7. Warm Up, Cool Down
It is easy to get excited before and after a climb and skip the preparation.
I was once an excited beginner climber too until I started overdoing it and have sore finger joints and arms all because I did not warm up.
Taking a couple of minutes to do some stretches or climbing on easier walls will get your blood flowing and ease recovery.
8. Keep Your Ego Off The Wall
Climbing is a journey, not a destination. Failed to send that climbing route on your first try? That is OK.
The kid that sent the route you struggled on? That is OK too!
Do not feel defeated. The first step to turning it up is to turn up in the climbing gym. The progression will come.
Difference Between Outdoor And Indoor Climbing
Indoor climbing is safer than outdoor climbing. Indoor climbing is usually used as a training ground for outdoor climbing. Indoor rock climbing routes are reset frequently by route setters and are often set up nicely for the ease of the climbers.
Outdoor climbing requires more gear than indoor climbing such as quickdraws
The routes are often harder as the holds are not as visible (compared to indoor climbing’s colourful holds). In addition, some routes may have eroding rocks so always have a helmet ready!
If you want to know how to start and where to rock climb in Cornwall outdoors, you can check out Cornwall Outdoor’s Introduction to Rock Climbing course to enhance your climbing skills.
Climbing Equipment For Beginners
Getting your first gear may seem like an expensive investment at first but it will be worth it for its durability.
Look out for CE and UIAA certification to ensure gear safety.
Climbing gyms will offer shoe rentals but if you are planning to climb once a week, it is time to get one of your own.
Get a pair that fits comfortably: you want to feel the precision of your toe movement, like ballet shoes on climbing walls.
Climbing shoes will wear out the fastest due to the friction of the walls and holds on the rubber.
As you get better in your climbing, you will start looking into shoes that can refine your techniques better (i.e. smaller fitting for precision, more downturn for hooks). It is ok to invest in multiple pairs.
At the end of the day, you want to find the best shoe size that fits you regardless of the brand. If you are unsure what your climbing shoe size is, you can check it out at your local outdoor store.
Chalk Bag And Climbing Chalk
The good thing about chalk bags is that they are pretty inexpensive and the only item in your climbing gear that you can express your personality.
My current chalk bag is an animal chalk bag (it’s cute, fits my hand and everyone loves it!) but the ones above work just as well.
Chalk is not required but is often recommended as it will help you grip on holds better.
Chalk is often sold either as a :
However, if you are blessed with non-sweaty hands, you can skip the chalk.
If you are planning to climb roped routes, a harness is a must. They are a durable investment that can last for a pretty long time.
The difference between most harnesses is comfortability and colour.
Some will have adjustable leg loops and some will have more padding to support your weight. I personally use a PETZL Selena and it still lasts for years up till today.
Word of advice: A harness is the only item I would advise NOT to buy second-hand as you may not know if the harness has been exposed to harsh elements previously and can degrade your safety!
Belay Device And Locking Carabiner
Most gyms will introduce you to the ATC belay device, a tube-like belay device.
The ATC stands for “Air Traffic Controller”. The ATC belay device technique is helpful for belayers to learn the necessary rope techniques to stop any potential climber falls.
The alternative to the ATC belay device is an assisted braking belay (ABD) device which “bites” into the rope to catch any sudden climber’s fall. Because of this mechanism, it is not as easy to lower the climber after they have finished the route.
The most popular ABD device is the PETZL GRIGRI and it is my favourite device for lead climbing.
All belay devices will need a locking carabiner to go with it, and I would recommend the Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate.
Always make sure to check that your carabiner is secured before you belay your partner. In the case you might forget, the auto-lock carabiner will definitely give you more peace with its auto-lock feature.
There you have it, the ultimate guide to Cornwall indoor climbing.
Have fun challenging yourself (or against others!) with the different levels of difficulties on the walls and be a rock star.
Warning: you may get addicted to this fun workout.
You will find a competitive side as you try different moves to reach for a climbing hold, and a sense of achievement (and relief) when you reach the top. And before you know it, you will be embarking on an adventure to the glorious sea cliffs!
If you like this article, share it with your friends and family members who are planning to make a trip down to Cornwall!
Are there places we might have missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Want to explore other Cornwall indoor activities? Here are some links that you will find useful: