Rock Climbing: 10 of the Best UK Locations for Beginners and Experts
15 March 2018
When it comes to thrill seeking, there’s nothing better to get the blood pumping than climbing some of the best rock faces in the UK.
Battling the elements as well as the aching in your muscles, rock climbing is becoming increasingly popular as a way to get fit and have some fun while doing so, with lots of people choosing to partake in some recreational sports during a staycation here in Blighty.
And, whether you’re a beginner just starting out on your climbing adventures or a seasoned adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone here in the beautiful British Isles.
With that in mind, we’ve found ten of the best rock climbing locations in the UK, for both beginners and experts alike.
Hodge Close Quarry
This extensive quarry is home to over 80 routes and has something for all abilities, from beginners through to advanced climbers.
Located between Langdale and Coniston, you’ll find well-bolted lines for those just starting out, ranging to difficult slabs and overhangs for the experts.
You can find some climbing routes here.
This climbing location is well suited for advanced climbers looking for a bit more of a challenge.
Located in the Lake District, it’s home to some fantastic hard problems and traverses and is even believed to have some of the hardest test pieces in the area.
Although the boulders don’t have any access restrictions, they are home to some prehistoric rock art that is monitored by the National Trust, so care must be taken around these areas.
You can find some possible routes here.
This is another location that suits both beginners and experts alike and is home to some of the best climbing in Lancashire.
Easy angled slabs allow beginners to hone their skills, while punishing climbs like the Golden Tower or Terror Cotta Wall push advanced climbers to their limits. However, it’s important to bear in mind that there is a restriction on access from the end of June to mid-August due to nesting birds.
For some climbing routes, check out this post.
Craig Y Longridge
This gruelling crag is well-known amongst locals for its excellent bouldering and difficult navigation, located in the heart of Lancashire.
Although it doesn’t achieve much height, this crag is very long and overhanging for most of its length, making it a test of both skill and strength for those climbers with a bit more experience.
It’s also owned by the British Mountaineering Council, meaning it offers unrestricted access during daylight hours. For some routes, head here.
Not only is this impressive limestone formation popular with film crews, but you’ll also find lots of climbers traversing its face on a sunny day.
Located in the Yorkshire Dales, it’s only suitable for more advanced climbers due to its technical difficulty. However, it’s exactly this difficulty that makes it all the more rewarding once you reach the top!
You’ll find over 280 climbs, ranging from short and severe to long and pumpy, with a selection to be found here.
This narrow gorge is well suited to both beginners and more advanced climbers alike and can be found not far from Clapham, Yorkshire.
The south side is home to a number of harder routes with difficult traverses and overhangs, while on the north side, you can find easier, less technical climbs.
The best time to visit is from late spring to early autumn, as the gorge tends to get very slippery and cold during the winter. For some possible routes, check out >Rockfax here.
This popular quarry, otherwise known as Furness Quarry, is located not far from the village of Eyam in Derbyshire.
It holds some of the best rock climbing locations available in the Peak District and is excellently suited to beginners and mid-level climbers, although experts may find the routes a bit too easy. Many of the climbs are well bolted and some of the most popular routes are on the Main Wall.
It’s important to note, however, that some of the rock is unstable despite the bolting, so a helmet is advisable. For some potential routes, visit this page.
This is another popular Peak District rock climbing location, with fantastic views across the Dark Peak moors and the Hope Valley.
Stretching for four miles long and up to 20 metres high, it offers over 2000 climbs ranging from less technical low-level climbs to slabs and bouldering. Although some of the climbs are suitable for very beginners, Stanage is most suited to those who are beginning to feel a bit more confident, as well as experts.
This post by UK Climbing has everything you need to know about paying this crag a visit.
This deep tidal gorge in Pembrokeshire, Wales, offers some of the best climbing in the UK although it does tend to split opinion on its quality.
This is only suitable for expert level climbers, offering technical, gruelling vertical climbs and difficult slabs, with the names certainly reflecting its difficulty: some popular routes include the Beast from the Undergrowth, Monster Face and Bloody Sunday.
You will need excellent gear placing skills, the ability to abseil down into the gorge, and be able to navigate poor quality rock in places. For some possible routes, check out this page.
Old Man of Hoy
This huge sea stack located on the island of Hoy in the Orkney Islands is one of the tallest stacks in the UK and offers excellent extreme climbing.
There are around seven routes available on the stack, ranging from a few difficult E1s to an almost impossible E6, all of which require advanced climbing skills. You can follow the original East Face route or try something new with the Ancient Mariner or the South Face for easier climbs, or attempt The Orkneying Saga for a real test.
For more details on this location, head to this post by UK Climbing.
So, if you fancy trying out some of these famous rock climbing locations, why not make it into a real holiday and stay in one of our nearby holiday parks? With great amenities and excellent transport connections, you can be traversing the rock face in no time!