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Review: Climbing experience

Here's the perfect Half Term activity for rainy days, that tires out kids from 4-years-old to teens AND you could do a yoga class for HALF PRICE at the same time (or just enjoy over an hour to yourself in the café)...

Need inspiration for a Half Term activity that tires out kids from 4-years-old to teens? Ideally something inside in case of rain? Oh and tell you what, I’ll throw in a café where you can while-away a whole hour and a half while they’re overseen by trained on-hand staff?

Introducing The Climbing Experience, Kent’s first multi-discipline indoor climbing centre which recently opened in Maidstone. And they’re running a HALF TERM SPECIAL OFFER – book the Fun Wall while a yoga or Pilates session is on in the studio – you can do the yoga or Pilates class for HALF PRICE!

WHAT IS IT?

The centre offers themed Fun Wall climbing, a 30-metre competition and 12-metre traverse wall, and a dedicated Bouldering space of more than 700 square metres.

If you need to picture it, the easy-for-all levels Fun Wall is much like Clip ‘N Climb in Tonbridge and the Bouldering space much like Chimera in Tunbridge Wellsbut here you have BOTH these offerings under one roof.

What we love about this new centre is that it’s not a big chain but a local business venture, set up by Co-founders Robert Woods and Ed Neil who are both passionate climbers themselves.

FUN WALL

Each Fun Wall session lasts one hour plus half an hour safety briefing. Each person is clipped in to their harness for each climb. When they are ready to come down or they fall off the challenge, the autobelay system will gently lower them down to the ground. Climbing instructors are on hand at all times.

BOULDERING

Bouldering (pictured above) is a form of rock climbing where you climb above safety matting, without a rope or harness. The idea is to climb a set route of climbing holds up the wall (see the different colours?). The routes range in difficulty from easy to very difficult, so anyone can give it a try, no matter their ability.

WHERE IS IT?

The Climbing Experience at the Powerhub Business Centre in Maidstone and can cater for as many as up to 400 people of all ages and levels of experience but in reality has a steady flow of customers and is never too crowded.

WHO’S IT FOR?

The Climbing Experience is ideal for both children or adults – just follow the age guidelines (see below). When I visited the kids’ ages ranged from 6 – 12 years-old and they all coped brilliantly and loved it.

Great for grown ups too. Climbing as a sport is one of the best for building up fitness, with an intense climbing session burning between 600 and 1,000 calories an hour.

Got a party to plan? The Fun Wall makes a great place for a party or event – and will definitely tire them out – my sweaty mudlets were testament to that. Check out the website for details of tailored parties.

There’s children’s clubs too if your kids want to get more involved in climbing. The space can also be used for business meetings and team-building experiences.

AGE RESTRICTIONS

There is a minimum age requirement of 4-plus for the Fun Wall and 7-plus for Bouldering – in both cases the organisers must be made aware of any medical conditions or injuries that might impact you or your child’s ability to climb.

COST & FACILITIES

Each Fun wall session is £12.50 per person.

Access to the Bouldering Area is not included in your Fun Wall session price but they offer bouldering induction sessions, if you are interested. A Bouldering Induction in the Bouldering Area is £20 and lasts for one hour – full instruction and supervision is given for all climbing wall activities.

WHAT DO I WEAR?

FOR THE FUN WALL you should wear comfortable clothing that’s not too tight and clean shoes with grippy soles – basically trainers. All common sense stuff – no crop tops or hotpants – unless you want a very unsavoury look and feel in that harness. No jewellery is to be worn except small ear studs. All equipment is provided.

FOR THE BOULDERING the only thing you will need is a pair of climbing shoes (which can be hired at reception). You may also want some chalk for your hands which can also be hired. Again, wear loose-fitting or sports clothing, so that you can move freely. Basically your Abercrombie Super Skinnies are out.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Oh yes. The state-of-the art facility also includes a Fitness Studio for yoga, Pilates, cross-fit and body building facilities. There’s also a new Sport’s Therapy Room which offers Osteopathy, Sports Massage and Running Gait analysis!

Sit and relax in the The Social Climber café (see what they did with the name?). Here’s me having a cuppa while taking a breather when we visited during the last school holidays (yes my nail polish is horribly chipped – it was a loooong summer, okay?!)

And woo-hoo! – unless you want a climb too there’s no requirement to stay with your child. You can watch from the ground or the view from the café (so you watch from a discreet distance) is perfect.

BEST OF ALL IS THE HALF TERM OFFER: specifically designed so parents can get some ‘me time’ while the kids are off of school.  There are a few Fun Wall sessions that coincide with Yoga and Pilates classes so The Climbing Experience are offering a HALF PRICE price class with every Fun Wall session bought at these times.

MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Great for kids of all ages from 4 years to teens – but best for getting those tricky older ones off screens and active during school holidays. Perfect for rainy days. Also allows you a bit of a break. Catch up on your Muddy reading while kicking back in the café (go on, you deserve it). Or try one of their yoga classes if you’re feeling virtuous.

Not for: Toddlers – strictly only ages 4+ for the Fun Wall.

Units G13-15 Baltic Wharf, St Peter’s Street, Maidstone, Kent ME16 0ST, theclimbingexperience.co.uk

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