Bouldering is one of the most accessible forms of climbing ever. All you need is some climbing shoes and, if you have particularly sweaty palms, a bag of chalk. With these basic bits of kit you can now try and climb pretty much anything, from a lump of rock down your local park to an interestingly shaped building if you're feeling adventurous.
But what you really want is a nice cosy bouldering wall right? You know one with some soft and incredibly forgiving crash mats, a good bunch of climbers to have a laugh with and while we're at it why not throw in a café for a nice cheese toasty when you're finished?
Yep there's a reason that bouldering walls seem to be everywhere at the moment and that's because they make the incredibly fun workout that is bouldering, incredibly easy.
The UK is chock full of bouldering walls just waiting to be explored, from established climbing spots to brand new boulder centres, each offering their own unique set of features and events. There are also some awesome bouldering centres across the world to explore as well.
Red Spider, Hampshire
Phone: 01329 28 29 23
Opened in 2015, Red Spider is probably the newest wall in this list but it is already developing a strong fan base.
Red Spider is the second centre to be opened by the team behind the White Spider climbing centre in Kingston Upon Thames. Unlike it's mixed climbing sibling, Red Spider is exclusively a bouldering centre with more than 250 routes for you to tackle.
The paintwork here is so fresh you can almost smell it and there are tonnes of crisp new holds to check out across the 1200m² space. Key features to look out for include an elevated training area with a huge system board over an inclined floor. There's also a decent sized bouldering cave with roof problems and a tunnel traverse wall to try out. If you're feeling really playful you can also sneak into the awesome kid's climbing castle with a slide that will kick your ass (just don't tell them we sent you).
Climbing Works, Sheffield
Phone: 0114 250 9990
When it opened, back in 2006, the Climbing Works was the largest indoor bouldering centre in the world. Today it is still one of the biggest centres on the planet and was the first wall in the UK to be granted National Performance Centre status by the BMC.
As an NPC the Climbing Works provides training facilities for the GB climbing team and also hosts regular top level comps including the hilarious Beastmaker International Footless Festival where climbers are not allowed to use their feet.
With a total wall space of 1500m² spread across 2 buildings, the climbing here is everything you'd expect, from the IFSC level challenges on the comp wall to more than 300 different regularly reset boulder problems and some crazy overhang features. If you're looking to boulder in the UK the Works has got to be on your list.
Boulder Central, West Bromwich
Phone: 0121 448 3736
At 10000ft² of bouldering space there's plenty to keep you busy at Boulder Central. There are tonnes of crazy geometric walls and freestanding boulders plus loads of overhang routes to push your bouldering on to the next level.
One of the best bits about this centre is the layout of its café/chillout area. Located right in the middle of the centre, the café is surrounded on all sides by the bouldering walls, meaning that you can enjoy a hot cuppa while still having a laugh at your mates or giving out some handy bouldering tips.
Billing itself as 'Northern Ireland’s Biggest and Best Indoor Bouldering Centre' BoulderWorld is definitely a big hit with Belfast climbers.
Located just outside central Belfast, with easy access from the local M1, BoulderWorld has a good range of bouldering on offer including a challenging low level roof section that will really workout those overhang muscles. There's also a large training space with several different system boards, rings and a campus board available.
BoulderWorld is also the place to be during those rainy winter months, as the centre's winter bouldering league will keep your competitive spirits going until you can hit up some outside rock again.
The Climbing Academy, Glasgow
Phone: 0141 429 6331
Angles are what it's all about at the Climbing Academy and this place has tonnes of them. From steep inclines to gently sloping slabs and meaty overhangs, you'll never want to climb in a straight line again after you visit the Academy.
The Climbing Academy crew pride themselves on the variety of routes available here from steep juggy problems and technical slabs to endurance circuits, arretes and steep technical problems. Thankfully with all this great quality bouldering on hand there's also a good sized training area to get you in shape and an even bigger café to chill in afterwards.