The fantastic Rock Up Watford invited us to try the NEW indoor climbing and adventure centre inside the intu Shopping Centre in Watford. Anyone can climb from 4 years old upwards, so parents and grandparents can watch and encourage or join in and have a go too!
***Scroll down to the end of this blog post to enter to win a Family Pass for Rock Up Watford***
Rock Up Watford – How Does it Work?
Rock Up Watford opened on Saturday 8th September 2018 and the indoor climbing and adventure centre includes 26 climbing walls, soft play for 0-2 years and 3-8 years, as well as a café. You don’t need any special experience or equipment, just Rock Up and Climb! Make sure that you arrive 30 minutes before your booked session to allow time for the safety briefing and harnessing.
Our climbing experience started with the safety briefing which explained how you use the climbing walls safely – basically you choose a wall that you want to climb and if it’s available you stand next to it with your hand up and a member of staff comes along to clip you onto a safety rope… then you’re ready to go. Once you’ve finished, you stand next to the wall with your hand up and a member of staff unclips you, then you’re free to go and find a new wall to climb. You climb the walls you choose, there’s no particular order and you don’t have to climb every wall.
Rock Up and Climb
Briefing done, it was time to get climbing. It was very busy but there were still plenty of climbing walls to choose as you have a go at one climbing wall and then move on to a different one, so different walls become available throughout the session. For the first few climbs we found it helpful to build some confidence by climbing a little way up the wall and then practise coming down using the safety rope, which has a slow, gradual release to the floor. However, there were plenty of children who climbed straight up their first wall without a backward glance.
Some of the walls are more difficult than others and we started with familiar ones like the ladder and the nets and then moved onto more quirky walls like the hexagons, the morse code, the circles and the telegraph pole. There are perspex walls with foot holds up both sides where you can race your family and friends to the top. There are even walls with timer buttons at the bottom and the top, so you can test yourself and try and beat your fastest time.
The staff were really friendly and gave support and encouragement when it was needed. I noticed that there were lots of staff members on the climbing floor so you didn’t have to wait long to be clipped or un-clipped to the safety ropes. Climbing sessions are 55 minutes long so there’s plenty of time to have a go at lots of different walls. It’s great fun and hard work – your arms will ache after nearly an hour of climbing.
If you want to add some extra adrenaline to your session then you can try the Leap of Faith. The Leap of Faith is a jump from a small platform high up in the air and you need to catch a foam cylinder that’s suspended from the ceiling – think Ninja Warrior UK. We saw a few people attempt it during the session but no-one managed to complete it! Everyone we saw landed safely thanks to the safety rope, which has a gentle and controlled release to the floor.
Maybe I’ll have a go next time… maybe!!
Rock Up and Play
You do need to be 4 years old to enjoy the climbing experience at Rock Up Watford however, younger siblings can Rock Up and Play in the soft play upstairs. There are two sections in the soft play area – one for 0-2 year olds and one for 3-8 year olds. There are slides, a ball pit and lots of different areas to explore. It is fairly compact but they have managed to fit a lot of interesting soft play equipment into the space and it kept Mr 3 very busy for an hour.
The soft play area is on the first floor, above the climbing floor, so it’s not really possible to supervise one child on the climbing floor and one child in the soft play: you either need two adults, so children can play and climb at the same time, or if you’re flying solo you can watch the climbing and then go upstairs for the soft play after the climbing session has finished.
Rock Up and Eat Café
Inside Rock Up Watford on the first floor there is a small café which offers drinks, snacks, as well as children’s picnic boxes, pizza and paninis. After all the climbing and soft play you can stop for a drink and a bite to eat, or you can grab a coffee if you’re watching climbers from the viewing platform.
Rock Up Giveaway
I have one Family Pass for Rock Up Watford to give away to one lucky reader. The winner will receive a family pass for Rock Up Watford which entitles 2 adults and 2 children to one free climbing session anytime Monday to Friday, before 19th October 2018.
To enter, simply follow the instructions below and leave a comment on this blog post answering the question in the box below. Terms and conditions apply and can be reviewed in the widget below. Ends 19/09/2018.
What You Need To Know
- Rock Up Watford is inside the intu Shopping Centre, Queens Road, Watford, WD17 2UB.
- Rock Up Watford is open 9am-8pm Monday to Wednesday, 9am-9pm Thursday to Saturday and 9am-7pm on Sunday and Bank Holidays.
- It can get very busy, especially at weekends and during school holidays so book in advance online.
Disclosure: we were invited to Rock Up Watford so that I could write this review.
All words and photographs are my own.