Ready to take your climbing skills outside? The UK has an abundance of great routes - or climbing "problems" - for you to do just that. Here's our pick of the top five bouldering spots Britain has to offer.

Stanage Edge, Peak District

Stanage is undoubtedly one of England’s most famous natural climbing venues, and a paradise for top-ropers and boulderers alike. This gritstone escarpment boasts scrambling and bouldering opportunities for all abilities; there are the Grand Hotel Boulders near Plantation Path, the Central and Pebble Boulders, and a number of diverse problems along the Edge itself.  


Located on the outskirts of Sheffield it's easy to reach from the city centre by bus, bike or car, but car parking is limited, so it pays to get there early. 


Our tip: Don’t expect to transfer your indoor climbing skills to exactly the same difficulty level outside. Outdoor climbing takes practise and confidence - as well as being at the mercy of the weather.

Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia

The best bouldering in North Wales can be found in the majestic, mountainous folds of Llanberis Pass. You can choose from the crenulated Wavelength boulders on the slope behind the Ynys Ettws climbing hut which offers the highest concentration of classic problems and blocs. However, for a fun, socialble meet, the Cromlech Boulders can be easily reached from the Pont y Gromlech car park.


In winter, the area can be quite exposed to winds, but on cool summer days or late autumnal evenings you'll be hard pushed to find a better bouldering spot.


Our tip: Outdoor bouldering inherently carries added risks; it’s important to use bouldering mats and learn how to fall safely, as well as effectively spot other climbers by protecting their head and guiding them towards the mat when they land. Practice spotting indoors and on low-level bouldering problems first, ideally with an experienced climbing partner.

Bonehill Rocks, Dartmoor

Located on the high, exposed uplands of Dartmoor, Bonehill Rocks (SX731774) has over 100 bouldering problems, ranging from simple scrambles to some seriously challenging climbs. A great year-round bouldering venue with a moderate climate compared to some of the more northerly destinations on this list, these granite tors sit in open moorland and just north of a car park for easy access. 


The Trench Traverse (V1) is often used as a warm-up by locals before they move on to some of the more challenging problems. From the Rippled Wall (V4), arguably the most attempted boulder in the area, to the Wave (V6), a rite of passage for any Dartmoor boulderer and the Left Arête of the Scoop (V7), which is as close to Fontainebleau as you can get on Dartmoor, Bonehills has plenty to offer.


Although popular within climbing circles, Bonehills is still relatively unknown, and you can find yourself with the tor to yourself. 


Top tip: When you complete a bouldering problem indoors, you match the top hold before dropping or climbing down. Outside, you complete a problem by standing on its highest point, known as ‘topping out’. Boulder tops can be smooth without anything to hold, so topping out takes practise – start on low-level problems first.

Southern Sandstone, East Sussex

If you're looking for a bouldering location close to the capital, it doesn't get much better than Southern Sandstone in East Sussex. Although it may not have the appeal (or bragging rights) of some of the more famous locations on this list, the softer sandstone presents problems which can expose weaknesses in technique, footwork and core strength. The UK’s top climbers have been known to cut their teeth here, and it offers plenty of challenges for looking to hone their technique. 


Mount Edgcumbe Rocks, situated on the north side of Tunbridge Wells Common and within walking distance of the train station, is dedicated to bouldering with no fixed bolts, so is one of our favoruites. The rock here is soft and sandy, so you must climb with care and precision, and the best time to visit is in early spring and autumn because untamed plant life can make it difficult to reach throughout the summer. 


Our tip: Finishing a bouldering problem outside isn’t as simple as down-climbing or letting go of the top hold for a safe landing. Outside, it’s essential to calculate your safest exit route before you begin climbing.

Dumbarton, Scotland

Only a stone’s throw away from Glasgow, ‘Dumby’ is the home of Scottish bouldering. Its seven basalt slabs offer some of the toughest bouldering problems in Scotland with a mix of technical and powerful climbing on slopey, flat, crimpy ledges. The hard basalt rocks are skin-friendly but can lack friction during the warmer months. Fortunately, Dumby is a good place to climb when the rain comes in, as a lot of the rock is overhanging or sheltered, so there is nearly always some dry rock, and even wet rock dries quickly once the rain stops, especially if there is a breeze.


In the heart of Edinburgh, climbing routes can also be found in Salisbury Crags’ South Quarry.


Pro tip: Clean your shoes before climbing to reduce wear on the rock. Never chip the rock or use a wire brush to clean holds (use a stiff-bristled brush instead). 

Gear up for the challenge

If you're planning to give any of these challenges a go, make sure you're geared up before you head out. At Snow+Rock, we stock a range of bouldering essentials, from climbing helmets to help keep you safe to clothing that maximises your movement, so you're sure to find what you need to get out there and have a gnarly time.



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