Sheffield, South Yorkshire
If you want to learn how to climb in Yorkshire, head to Sheffield’s Awesome Walls.
The climbing walls, set on an industrial estate just outside of town, really live up to their name with some of them reaching a huge 15.5 m tall. Colour-coordinated foot and hand grips allow you to select climbs according to your ability – simply check the base of each wall for a guide to each one.
The centre caters for all levels of climbers, from beginners to experts; there are even sessions for young children.
You can do a taster class that includes a warm-up and some basic tuition on how to use the belaying system to make sure you and people you climb with are safe and don’t come a cropper if you let go of the grips. You’re also taught how to safely tie knots to make sure none come loose on your session, and how to check each other’s apparatus.
If you’re on your own, fear not, there’s an auto-belay section that allows you to climb without a partner – and for those who fancy their hand at bouldering (climbing without ropes) there are two sections specially designed with crash mats on the floor to break any falls.
Best of all is the vibe about the centre – on our visit with the site’s resident twin testers Martha and Gracie – the staff were super friendly, patient, helpful and, above all, great at their jobs. They had a pair of trying twins soon making their way to the top of the children’s section, and they couldn’t wait to go back.
There’s also a good cafe with a decent selection of coffees, cakes, treats and sandwiches, and a kids’ play area to keep the little ones occupied. Children as young as six can learn to climb, and membership gives access to an array of special offers.
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