Rock Climbing in Cornwall: Your Ultimate Guide for 2023

Rock climbing in Cornwall offers an exceptional experience for climbers.

 Located at the southwestern tip of England, Cornwall is home to glorious beaches, stunning sea cliffs with over 300 miles of pristine coastline, mysterious coves, and peaceful creeks, making it a dream climbing destination for all types of climbers.

Climbing in Cornwall will offer you an unforgettable adventure of being on the rocks while the waves crash below! Do not worry if you are a new climber. The rock climbing routes in Cornwall are perfect for complete beginners through expert climbers.

Let’s begin climbing in Cornwall now!

Rock Climbing Cornwall Ultimate Guidance

Here are the highlights of this article to help you plan your Cornwall climbing trip:

  • Best Places To Rock Climb In Cornwall
  • The Best Season For Rock Climbing In Cornwall
  • Book A Guided Rock Climbing In Cornwall
  • Is Rock Climbing A Safe Outdoor Sport?
  • Safety Kits Climbers Should Bring For Rock Climbing
  • What Should You Eat Before Rock Climbing?
  • Mentally Prepare Yourself Before Rock Climbing
  • Why Rock Climbing?
  • Is Rock Climbing For You?


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7 Best Places To Rock Climb In Cornwall 

1. West Penwith

rock climbing cornwall west penwith

West Penwith (also known as the Land’s End Peninsula) would be a great start to your climbing in Cornwall as it is the focal point of rock climbing in Cornwall. It is home to great granite sea cliffs and a world-class traditional climbing spot.

There are over 20 different crags of various sizes, but the most popular crags of West Penwith are Bosigran, Chair Ladders, and Sennen

Bosigran and Sennen are by far the most suggested spots for rock climbing in West Penwith due to their ease of access, non-tidal (so you don’t have to worry about checking the tide times), and variety of climbing grades that are suitable for beginners and expert climbers. 

2. Bosigran

rock climbing cornwall bosigran

Bosigran is one of the most classic climbing areas of Cornwall and has one of the finest crags in England.

Located in West Cornwall in West Penwith, Bosigran is a great climbing spot for varying abilities, from experts to beginners. 

Many of the routes at Bosigran are non-tidal, thus much safer, and you can enjoy the flexibility of climbing and access to the majority of other sea cliffs along the coast. These include:

3. Chair Ladder

rock climbing cornwall chair ladder

The next rock climbing adventure in Cornwall is Chair Ladder at Porthgwarra, West Penwith. For multi-pitch sea cliff climbers, Chair Ladder is one of the UK’s premier destinations you must look forward to.

It offers an exceptional range of climbing from the easier scale up to Extreme 3 or E3 for those looking for a challenge.

All the climbs at Chair Ladder routes are worthwhile and unbeatable, with a multitude of pitches up to 70m high that offers immense sea cliffs view.

For advanced climbers, get into the Terrier’s Tooth route adventure, or try out other routes, including Pendulum Chimney, Pegasus, and Bishops Rib.

4. Sennen

A 30 minutes drive from Bosigran, you will arrive at Sennen. It is home to a stunning cliff of golden granite where you can practice various rock climbing techniques, including slabs, cracks, and overhangs for all levels, up to 90ft in length.

Sennen is one of Cornwall’s true gems and suitable for less-experienced climbers.

It has many more accessible routes, non-tidal, and easy walking distance to Sennen Beach, which is one of the best beaches in the UK. 

And after a memorable climbing adventure, grab your Cornish pasties and cream teas in Sennen village.

5. Pentire Point

Next, climbers can rock climb in Pentire Point. Located in North Cornwall near Polzeath, home to a fantastic beach and one of the world’s most renowned surfing destinations. 

Pentire Point is a beautiful headland on the Atlantic Coast and has a huge vertical wall that provides quality climbing terrain. It has 4 main climbing routes, and the most popular route is Eroica;

6. Trewavas Head

On Cornwall’s South Coast, Trewavas Head will offer climbers some of the most accessible and enjoyable climbing adventures. 

The recommended rock climbing route is Trewavas Main Cliff, as it has many single-pitch routes for climbing adventures.

7. The Tide Climbing Center 

If you are looking for an indoor climbing center in North Cornwall, one of the places you can look forward to is The Tide Climbing Center

Launched in 2019, this is a family-friendly indoor climbing center that welcomes climbers of all abilities. They have over 100 bouldering problems for you to try, 1-to-1 coaching sessions to track your progress in this sport, and yoga and fitness classes for you to join. 

when is the best season for rock climbing in cornwall

When Is The Best Season For Rock Climbing In Cornwall?

The most preferred seasons for rock climbing with ropes are summer, spring, and autumn as the temperature is between 32 F and 80 F. It is from March to October as the weather in Cornwall is not too sunny, rainy, and cloudy.

The good thing is summer in Cornwall is the most comfortable as it never gets as stiflingly hot as in the rest of England. 

Climbing in weather that is too hot exposes climbers to risks, including dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. 

Severe dehydration could result in serious health problems, including brain damage, seizures, or even death. Besides, climbers will sweat a lot, and your hands will not be able to grip effectively, exposing yourself to danger. 

The same goes for climbing in extremely cold weather, as you cannot comfortably cling on your rope or hang on the rock.

As you need to wear lots of clothes and gear to keep you warm, these will reduce your range of mobility and make you feel heavy to climb. Furthermore, the rubber in your shoes will make it more challenging to mold to the shape of the rock you are stepping on.

where can i book a guided rock climbing in cornwall

Where Can I Book A Guided Rock Climbing In Cornwall?

Planning climbing in Cornwall but do not want to hassle yourself from planning and preparing for your rock climbing trip? Book yourself a guided rock climbing trip in Cornwall to save you some trouble.

1. 1 Day Multi-Pitch Sea-Cliff Climbing Cornwall

For adventure seekers, this one-day multi-pitch sea-cliff climbing guided by Kernow Coasteering should be on your bucket list. You will know why many climbers are drawn to Cornwall’s epic sea cliffs once you take this multi-pitch adventure.

The prerequisite is for climbers to have some previous experience and, most importantly, have confidence in belaying and preferably seconding a lead climber. 

Climbers do not have to worry as the instructors have a wide range of knowledge of all the major Cornish crags. They will teach you how to tackle the various climbing routes so your adventure will be a memorable one.

It is 1 to 1 coaching, or the maximum is 1 to 2 client coaching at $178 per day.

2. 2 Day Climbing Holiday In Cornwall

Another option for climbing Cornwall is a 2-day climbing holiday with Hatt Adventures. Climbers will have the adventure of being on the rocks while the waves crash below and will also enjoy a spectacular view of the Channel and Atlantic ocean.

It is recommended for climbers to have experience in climbing and confidently tie in and belay. 

If climbers prefer climbing routes, they can inform their experienced instructors. They will adapt the climbing to suit your needs, allowing you to progress at your own pace.

It is also important to note that the minimum age for climbers here is 18, and the maximum weight is 120 kg.

3. 1 Day Climbing At Newquay Sports Centre

One of the largest climbing walls in Cornwall is Newquay Sports Centre. This modern sports center is not far from Newquay town. The facilities include a sports hall, squash courts, and an indoor climbing wall. 

Newquay climbing wall is child friendly where they have added ‘clip and climb’ with auto-belay devices so when the climber reaches the top, or if they fall, this device will automatically catch the climber and slowly lower them to the ground. 

Rental services for climbing equipment are available, and they have monthly route setting and challenges to unlock. Do check out Newquay Sports Centre memberships for more info.

For outdoor rock climbing in Newquay, check out Salt Air Adventures Climbing. They are experienced instructors that will make sure you conquer the granite cliffs of Cornwall within your best level of comfort.  

From $40, this full day of climbing will include all climbing equipment and expert guidance to help climbers enjoy the stunning rocks and crags of Newquay. 

climbing at newquay sports center

4. 1 Day At The Tide Climbing Center Cornwall

If you are looking for indoor rock climbing in Cornwall, The Tide Climbing Center has a Cornwall climbing wall gym located in North Cornwall, 7 miles from Wadebridge City. 

This center offers rope climbing and over 100 bouldering (free climbing that is performed on an artificial rock without any harness embed link) for climbers to try. 

They offer 1-to1 coaching to help climbers of all ages to track their progress within the sport.

Another option for an indoor climbing wall in Cornwall climbers can look for is The Barn Climbing Center.

This indoor climbing center in Cornwall offers bouldering, auto-belays, a variety of fitness classes such as yoga and roped climbing, in which climbers climb up a suspended vertical rope using only their hands for any adventure junkies.  

You will find this indoor climbing center to be your second home as the community here is friendly, helpful, and dedicated to helping every new climber excel. 

Is Rock Climbing A Safe Outdoor Sport?

Yes, generally, rock climbing is a safe physical outdoor activity. A study in 2012 stated that rock climbing has a lower injury rate compared to other sports like sailing or basketball.

Before climbing, it is essential to always check all your rope and belay devices, as well as the protective climbing gear, are in their best condition to reduce the risk of equipment failure during climbing.

Most of the time, your climbing instructors will always inspect the climbing equipment beforehand to ensure one’s safety. 

So, do not worry too much, and as a climber, always listen and pay attention to the instructions given by your climbing instructors. 

Safety Kits Climbers Should Bring For Rock Climbing

It is always better to be safe than sorry. In rock climbing, there is always a possibility for injury to either yourself or your climbing partners. Rock climbing, being an inherently dangerous activity, brings with it the possiblity of sustaining different types of injuries. 

As such, it is important to have essential first aid items on hand. These items should be able to treat wounds, bleeding, blisters, headache, pain, and broken bones. 

Recommended first aid items that you should bring include:

1. Gauze pads or rolls/ Sterile dressings

Gauze pads are your must-have items in first aid. It is made from light, thin, loosely woven.

Gauze pads are ideal to stem the flow of blood and to clean wounds. You can also use them to apply ointment to any wounds.

These pads are highly absorbent that help to clean dirt and germs from the injured area. 

2. Medical adhesive tape/Surgical tape

Next, bring surgical tape or medical adhesive tape with you. It helps to ensure bandages, gauze, or other dressings attach firmly to the skin around wounds.  

3. Moleskin

Rock climbing requires climbers to wear tight shoes for a long period of time. It can cause blisters as there is friction between the skin and the shoe.

To prevent blisters, apply moleskin. It is a type of bandage that sticks firmly on your skin. Moleskin tends to stay in place better than traditional bandages. 

It is also thicker, which adds more support and cushioning, making it comfortable to wear all day. Also, it can alleviate the pain associated with existing foot wounds and bunions.

4. Disinfecting ointment

Rock climbing uses a lot of grip strength. Sometimes your hand might get injured. The best medication to prevent and treat minor skin infections caused by small cuts and scrapes is disinfecting ointment. Apply the ointment to your skin to relieve the pain. 

5. Over-the-counter pain medication/Ibuprofen


What Should You Eat Before Rock Climbing?

The night before your climb, it is good if you can have a nutrient-rich, carb-heavy dinner that consists of whole grains, beans, and fruits to store glycogen which is the fuel source for climbing. You can try to have whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce complemented with veggies. 

This dish has vitamins, fiber, and good carbohydrates that give energy and help the proper functioning of the body.

Consuming the right amounts and preparing them healthily helps you stay fit and slim. Other options would be chicken and avocado to provide a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. 

Good food brings good nutrition and helps with one’s health.  As rock climbing needs a lot of energy, it is crucial for climbers to be selective in their diet.

Your food intake for rock climbing should be aligned with the intensity and duration of your climbing.

By knowing this, climbers can avoid feeling too full or deprived while climbing. If you are going on a shorter and higher intensity climb like bouldering, have easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as:

If your climbing involves longer and lower intensity sessions like alpine climbing, have slower digesting carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, beans that can sustain your energy for the whole climbing session. 

What Should You Eat Before Rock Climbing

Climbers need food that is packed with not only vitamins but nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that help to reduce inflammation, promote recovery and support energy production. The lists include:

  • Berries 
  • Buckwheat
  • Wild rice
  • Yams
  • Legumes (Peanuts, Chickpeas, Beans, Peas, Soybeans) 

Meanwhile, for more long-lasting energy, have good sources of healthy carbohydrates in one’s diet that includes:

  • Oats
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts (Almond, Walnuts, Macadamia, Hazelnuts) 

A good source of  protein is crucial to keep climbers feeling full, and they can take:

Healthy fat food such as fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds are also a good diet. Do not forget to drink enough water to stay hydrated during climbing.

Climbing Is A Mental Sport

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right”. Mental strength in climbing is crucial, as is your physical strength.

Having great mental strength will help improve the climber’s performance and increase the quality of the climbing experience. Climbers can follow these simple steps for their mental strength:

1. Visualize Your Climbing Adventure

Visualization is a powerful training tool for reprogramming your subconscious mind. It helps to increase mental strength. Before going to bed, take 5 to 10 minutes to calm yourself and by using all your senses, create a sixty-second mental movie to reenact the positive feelings of your previous best climbing performance. 

Close your eyes and picture it as clearly as you can, as if you were in that moment. End it by visualizing your upcoming climbing route and believing it would be a great adventure.

2. Engage In Positive Self-Talk

Before your rock climbing adventure, there could be a moment where you have a self-destructive internal dialogue trying so hard to weaken your self-confidence.

Kill that doubt by engaging in positive self-talk. Take a moment to reflect on your past successes in climbing, review, and believe in your skills and strengths. 

Recognize and acknowledge your hard work of preparation in training and emerge from that moment to be energized and confident like never before. Look at the mirror, smile brightly to yourself.

3. Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

As a climber, it is important to become comfortable with physical and mental discomfort. One must be willing to push beyond their comfort zone to improve in anything. 

In climbing, if you challenge your fear (especially fear of falling) and try new climbing moves that seem to you impossible, you will stretch your abilities to a new level. And this will redefine your belief system to achieve what seems impossible.

4. Do Not Let The Stress Control You

During climbing, it can be stressful, especially if you are exhausted and faced with an unexpected situation.

Tension can kill your climbing performance. Before stress controls you, you should take control of it. The first thing in managing stress is by focusing on your breath control. 

Close your eyes for a moment and focus only on your breathing. Feel the air filling your lungs with each slow breath and as you exhale, visualize the tension exiting your body. 

Do this a few times to regain your consciousness and direct your mind to focus only on the process of climbing. 

5. Enjoy The Adventure

One way to enjoy rock climbing is by staying in the moment. Be in the present moment and focus only on things related to the act of climbing. 

When your instructor gives feedback or advice on your climb, free yourself from any frustration or judgment.

Take constructive feedback to improve your climbing and take chances to fall. By having experience in handling falling, climbers will handle such situations calmly. 

Why Rock Climbing?

Over the past few years, rock climbing has experienced a surge in popularity. A lot of new climbers want to try this sport. Well, rock climbing is way more than just a fun thing to try but also has huge health benefits if it is done regularly.

Rock climbing uses almost every major muscle group in your body, making it a great full-body workout. It strengthens your muscles while being a low-impact exercise that is easier on your body, particularly your joints. It also helps to reduce stress. 

Besides, it improves one’s flexibility and balance as rock climbing needs climbers to reach, leap and climb to handholds and footholds that are normally far from a comfortable distance. And the best part is it is a full-body workout and improves one’s cardio fitness. 

In rock climbing, a small amount of movement requires a huge amount of breathing and blood pumping. Your muscles and your brain need a lot of oxygen to stay on the wall and execute hard moves.

By this, no wonder rock climbing incredibly burns between 500 to 900 calories per hour and can prevent chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes. 

What is the best way to conquer one’s fear? It is by doing what you are scared of. For most of us, fear of heights and fear of falling from heights are common. Rock climbing would be a great way to conquer these fears. 

No worries, safety always comes first. With the security of a harness, climbers can reach heights at their comfort level and fall safely. By conquering the fear of heights, it helps climbers build confidence and self-esteem in their performance.

Not many know that rock climbing requires a high level of problem-solving skills. Climbers need to navigate the route that they are planning to complete. Thus, it requires good hand-eye coordination to judge what he or she sees in a crag and strategize to reach it. 

Is Rock Climbing For You?

Many of us want to try rock climbing but have a lot of questions about this sport. Among them are “I do not have the arm strength and do not know any climbers”, can I still join this sport? 

The answer is definitely yes. Arm strength does help climbers on some routes like steep overhangs, but climbers need to know with practice over time, the strength in their muscle groups will develop too. So do not worry if you are a first-time climber.

Climbing is a social sport. You will meet many climbers who share the same passion as you, even though for the first time it can be tricky to find other climbers. The trick is just to go and be in any Cornwall climbing club. Chances are high for you to meet supportive, friendly climbers who will be your next climbing Cornwall partner. 

rock climbing cornwall friends and family


And there you go, rock climbing Cornwall adventure is now ready to welcome you. Rock climbing is a must-try adventure for everyone. 

It gives you many benefits for both your physical and emotional strength. It’s also a great start to many life adventures to be experienced in this world. Before rock climbing, make sure to have a nutrient-rich diet, pack your climbing essentials and first aid kits and affirmably believe that you can rock climb.

Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve visited any of the mentioned rock climbing places in Cornwall or if you have a recommendation that we might have missed out on, we’d love to hear from you! 

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