Five of the best British rock climbing holidays

May 23, 2014 BY Paul McWilliams

The UK is blessed with an abundance of great rock climbing spots across its length and breadth. In fact, it’s often regarded as one of the best climbing destinations in the world, which explains why UK climbers are similarly revered. In this guide to the top five spots, we aim to give you the insight into the best British rock climbing holidays.

British rock climbing holidays in snowdonia flickr image by Marcus Povey

It’s the combination of geography, geology and facilities that make the UK so good for climbers. With plenty of climbing schools, guides and accommodation to choose from, deciding on the best British rock climbing holidays has been a tough job. Remember this is not meant as a definitive list of the 5 best, everybody has their favourites, and this is just my opinion. Feel free to tell us yours!

The Lake District

With around 15 million visitors a year, the Lake District is one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions. However, it is also widely thought of as the birthplace of modern rock climbing. The region has some easily accessible climbing for a variety of ability levels – ranging from extreme mountain crags to roadside climbs for beginners.

British rock climbing holidays in Lake Distict flickr image by Tim Dobson
Spot the climbers! Image by Tim Dobson

Stay in the Old Dungeon Ghyll, which has been providing accommodation for climbers and fell walkers for over 300 years. Visit the Fell & Rock climbing Club for more information.


One of the most renowned climbing scenes in the world, you can find almost anything in this beautiful mountain range in northwest Wales. Along with plenty of traditional climbing routes, you’ll also find crags, sea cliffs and sports climbing spots. Less experienced climbers should head for Ogwen Valley, and intermediate climbers can try the Llaniberis Pass with its famous Cenotaph Corner.

British rock climbing holidays in Snowdonia flickr image by Marcus Povey

Find out more about Snowdonia climbing at the National Mountain Sports Centre and stay at the Pen-Y-Gwyrd Hotel, a classic climbers’ retreat.


Run by the National Trust for Scotland, Glencoe is a place of outstanding natural beauty. The stunning scenery is also home to some nice granite faces making this part of the Highlands a perennial climber’s favourite. It’s a great place to develop your skills, with Buachaille Etive Mor having numerous ascents of differing ability levels. One look at the soaring glens and mountains and you’ll understand why Glencoe has such appeal.

British rock climbing holidays in Glencoe flickr image by Masa Sakano

The award-winning Clachaig Inn in Glencoe is always popular with climbers. West Coast Mountain Guides offer guided climbing experiences at Glencoe in the summer season.


This traditional Dorset seaside town may not have quite the grand appeal of the previous spots but its Jurassic Coast limestone cliffs are very popular with climbers and offers some of the best British rock climbing holidays. Some of the tricky overhanging cliffs can only be reached by abseiling down, with steep ascents for all levels found at Portland. Stair Hole and Black Hole provide something trickier for experienced climbers.

British rock climbing holidays in Swanage flickr image by Stephen Elson

All in all it’s a top weekend climbing destination that’s easily accessible. The Swanage Auberge offers cheap and cheerful accommodation for climbers, walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Rock and Sun provide climbing courses and lessons in the area.


Home to some of the most challenging climbs in the UK, this national park is one of the coldest, wettest and wildest in Scotland – and that’s saying something. However, those who do make the effort are well rewarded. The north corries are known for being challenging but they are accessible too. Creag an Dubh Loch and Lochnagar in the Southern Cairngorms are the most visited and well-known for their impressive and clean climbs.

British rock climbing holidays in Cairngorms flickr image by Masa Sakano

The Ardlogie Guesthouse offers friendly and welcoming accommodation to climbers in the area. Cairngorm Adventure Guides can lead you on climbing expeditions in the area.

What do you make of our 5 of the best British rock climbing holidays list? Have we missed any out that you think should be amongst the top five? Let us know below in the comments section.


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