A little while ago the kids and I were lucky enough to be invited along to Clip ‘n Climb in Nottingham to see what we thought of their brand new indoor climbing arena. And as I’m always struggling to find activities that the kids can do together with there being such a big age gap between them, I was more than happy to take them along and give it a try.
I just want to quickly apologise in advance for some of the photos being a little blurry. With so many people around us, it was it a little difficult to get the perfect shots. I think they show just how much the kids enjoyed their visit though. And that’s the main thing, isn’t it?
So, Clip ‘n Climb can be found in Unit 2B, Ash Court, Millennium Way East, Phoenix Park, Nottingham, which is just a short two-minute walk away from Cinderhill Tram Stop. You can either book your tickets online in advance (which I’d highly recommend doing as there are only a limited amount of places available for each session), and then collect your wristbands when you arrive, or you can just turn up and pay for your session at the cash desk on the day.
We decided to go to one of their Sunday afternoon sessions, which run every half an hour and cost £12.50 per person, regardless of age. Sessions are suitable for anyone age 4 and over, and you can try your hand at any of the 20+ climbing walls in the main arena. Each session includes a 20-minute introduction, harness fitting and safety briefing, followed by a full 55 minutes of climbing. I think this is the perfect amount of time for little ones, as Oscar started to get tired after half an hour of climbing. But he still powered on through till the end!
My main concern about taking the kids to Clip ‘n Climb was that I thought with Oscar being so young he would get a little fed up and start messing about during the introduction and safety briefing. But he actually sat and listened to every word the instructor said and was the first to stick his hand in the air when we were asked who was ready to get harnessed-up! He couldn’t wait to get started, and I think you can see this from the great big smile on his face in the pictures above.
The first thing I noticed as we headed into the climbing arena was just how big it was. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but definitely nothing anywhere near as impressive as this! The brightly coloured apparatus all have different, fun looking designs on them. And they look really inviting, which makes you want to jump straight in and start climbing. Which is exactly what we did!
Stacey’s first stop was a wall where you climbed up a rope ladder to begin with, and then finished on a netted climbing wall. And what you do when you first approach a wall is take the clip that’s attached to your own harness and clip it into the one on the purple mat propped up against the wall. This then releases the mat down onto the floor, and you’re safe to climb. One of the most important things they stressed in the safety briefing was that if you saw a purple mat on the floor you weren’t to walk over it, as it means someone is climbing that particular wall, and you might end up getting kicked in the face by accident!
I have to be honest and say that all 3 of us actually found clipping ourselves in really hard (Oscar couldn’t do it at all, bless him), but it was OK because there was always an instructor on-hand to help us in our moment of need. No matter how many times we had to ask for help they were happy to oblige. And every single staff member had a smile on their face throughout our entire visit. I think this shows that they enjoy their jobs and want people to get as much out of their visit to Clip ‘n Climb as they possibly can.
Oscar had pretty much only just turned 5 when we first visited Clip ‘n Climb, so he struggled a lot more than Stacey to climb up some of the walls. But he gave it a good try! One of the instructors told him that the wall made up of different coloured hexagons was the easiest one to climb, so he gave that a go and found she was right. He was soon scaling it like Spider-Man and then jumping back down from the top like a pro! He actually spent most of his time on this wall after that, but I guess that’s the beauty of a place like this. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on each wall as there are so many to choose from. And don’t worry, whenever anybody else wanted to have a go on this one, Oscar un-clipped himself and waited patiently for them to have a turn before returning to it.
As I mentioned before, there are more than 20 different climbing walls and challenge’s to have a go on at Clip ‘n Climb. And, although we didn’t have time to try them all on our first visit, we had a go on as many as we could. We liked that each wall was different, so some were easier to climb than others. Some also have buttons you can press at the bottom and top so you can race your friends to see who is the quickest at climbing.
Stacey’s favourite challenge has to be the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, which is a series of green pipes like the ones you see in Super Mario games, that get higher and higher until you’re almost touching the ceiling! The idea is that you stride from one to the other and then jump off into the middle of them once you get to the top. It looks absolutely terrifying, but Stacey has long legs so she makes it look easy when she runs up them. I think she spends more time on this challenge than any other whenever we go to Clip ‘n Climb!
I should also mention that I have Scoliosis (which is a curvature of the spine), so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to climb with the kids or not. But I gave it a go and found that I could cope with some of the easier walls alright, even if the harness did start to make my back ache after half an hour or so. I was proud of myself for giving it a try, and would definitely take part again as it’s lots of fun!
Over the last few years, Stacey’s become a little bit of a daredevil, and she was gutted that she didn’t have the chance to try out the Leap of Faith on our first visit to Clip ‘n Climb. So for her 15th birthday, we took her back with a group of friends and let her have a go. It’s an extra £2.50 to do the Leap of Faith, but she enjoyed it so much that I think it was worth every penny.
So, what is the Leap of Faith? Basically, an instructor harnesses you up and makes you wear a hard hat, and you climb up a super high ladder and walk out onto a platform that can only be described as being like a plank on a pirate ship. Eek! The instructor then gives you a signal and whenever you’re ready, you leap off of the platform and try to catch the red bar that’s hanging from the ceiling.
The day that Stacey did the Leap of Faith we saw a couple of other people do it too, and she was the only one who managed to grab the bar! It was amazing. And, of course, she got such an amazing adrenaline rush from it.
One thing I will say is that all that climbing is sure to make you hungry. But don’t worry, there’s a lovely little cafe on-site where you can grab yourself some much-needed refreshments. We’ve eaten there a couple of times now and the food is always delicious.
Oscar loves to play in the play area while we wait for our food to be delivered to our table, and he always has so much fun. It’s a really decent sized play area with a slide, ball bit, climbing frames and loads of other little bits and bobs to keep little ones entertained. It’s ideal to use if you’ve got older kids who want to climb without being distracted by younger siblings too.
We always thoroughly enjoy visiting Clip ‘n Climb Nottingham, and could easily spend a whole afternoon there. It’s a brilliant place to take the kids for a fun activity, but I also imagine it would be fab for adults who are wanting to find a fun way to keep fit to use too. I mean, I felt muscles that I didn’t know I had after climbing with my two! Haha.