Best indoor climbing walls in London

indoor climbing wall London

Which are the ‘best indoor climbing walls in London?’ is a regular question on the lips of London climbers, and immediately sparks endless debate. From a pure climbing training perspective, the easy answer is ‘the one you like most’, so you actually go along regularly – maybe it’s the people there you like, maybe the tunes, maybe the routes are reset the most often, whatever, the main thing is to go, and go often.

However, for those still mulling this eternal question, we’ve tried to assess the best indoor climbing walls across London as rationally as possible – things like fees will change periodically, so do Tweet us if you spot something out of date, or if we’ve missed a gem of a local wall!

The Reach indoor climbing wall, Woolwich, SE18

The Reach is one of London’s best kept climbing secrets, mainly due to the location, which is somewhat out on a limb near the Thames Barrier in Woolwich. Woolwich Dockyard is the nearest station, and if you’re near the South-East, it’s not too harsh. Once here though, you’ll find South London’s largest indoor climbing wall, replete with a plethora of lead walls, plenty of top roping and a solid boulder area, as well as a good cafe. There are courses galore, as well as more unexpected pleasantries such as drop-in LaSportiva boot demos. All in all a great wall, especially if leading practice is your thing…

Price: £10 full details here

Where? The Reach map

 

The Arch/The Biscuit Factory/Building One indoor climbing wall, SE16

A confusing entry, due to the numerous buildings this team has occupied. Originally in London Bridge, now running two large buildings in a former biscuit factory in Bermondsey, these both are all about the bouldering, and are the better for it. Regular resets, friendly vibe and good coffee all combine to a boulderers paradise. There’s extensive training facilities on offer in the shape of multiple wooden hangboards (including the excellent Zlagboard fingerboard), circuits, bars, etc, as well as regular training classes (see below). Pricing is sub-£10, especially when bought carnet-style, or via subscription.

Price: Sub-£10 full details here.

Where? The Biscuit Factory/Building One map

Vauxwall indoor climbing wall, Vauxhall, SW8

The Vauxwall not only gives you a reason to go to Vauxhall (quite an achievement in itself), but is also a fiercely competitive bouldering wall in the best sense. With regular competitions on the sponsored Comp Wall, 8 circuits of 25 problems covering all grades, traverse wall and circuit board, it’s a fine spot to push your grade. Membership details below, but free coffee before 9am and included towels are both nice touches, particularly for the summer months!

Price: Sub-£10 full details here.

Where? Vauxwall wall map

West One indoor climbing wall, Seymour Place, W1H

This hidden gem of a wall is concealed within the large Seymour Leisure Centre, and could easily be missed. However, a dedicated small team keep the routes fresh across the boulder area, and the small but perfectly-formed set of lead walls and top-ropes. There’s an iPod dock for tunes and a highly-recommended Wednesday training night, which will hurt you in entirely new but (mainly) good ways! Lunchtime entry is discounted, well worth dropping by.

Price: Sub-£10 for members, full details here

Where? West One climbing wall map

The Arch North indoor climbing wall, Burnt Oak, Edgware

The Arch team’s third active location and their fourth London climbing wall, this brand new for spring 2016 boulder venue offers a training board, gym rings, finger boards and gym apparatus. The same registration will get you into all three venues, as will all paid membership types. It may be halfway to the M25, but if it’s your local you’re in luck!

Price: Sub-£10 full details here.

Where? The Arch North map

The Castle indoor climbing wall, Stoke Newington, N4

One of the more established London indoor walls, The Castle has been a haven for climbers of all stripes since 1995, and claims to be the biggest in London. It’s a great all-round training centre, with loads of lead walls, plenty of top roping and 11 bouldering areas. The cafe offers endless tasty distractions from the actual climbing, as well as a good vantage point to watch others pushing their grade.

Price: Max £12.50 full details here.

Where? The Castle climbing centre map

Mile End indoor climbing wall, E3

One of the stalwarts of London walls, Mile End is a great local wall and has a strong social scene around it. With a charity status and strong local links, you’d be crazy to miss out if you’re nearby. There’s a good mix of top roping, leading and bouldering space on offer, although some of the bouldering can feel a little high-ball. There’s an outside traverse wall which is either good training for the elements or a sun-trap, sadly rarely the latter, although the local old-school Palm Tree pub is a particularly strong option if it’s raining or you’re feeling weak.

Price: Sub-£10 full details here.

Where? Mile End Climbing wall map

(Pic credit: Serial London wall routesetter Gaz Parry laying it on thick @Mile End Climbing Wall.

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