You may have heard about the latest leisure attraction popping up in St Stephen’s this week, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be one of the first try it out.
Previously opening in Birmingham and Hampshire, Rock Up officially opened their doors in Hull yesterday as a climbing centre open to all. There’s an added meaning to the name Rock Up when you realise how accessible this place is.
I went along with my wife and my 4-year old daughter. We all have virtually no previous experience in rock climbing. Our favourite pastimes usually involve going out for a good meal, so it’s not something we’ve really taken up before. However Rock Up was an activity where you barely even had to prepare for the visit, so you can literally just “rock up” and get started in pretty much what you’re wearing.
After getting our harnesses on, we were given a quick 10 minute safety brief before being allowed onto the floor where we were greeted by over two-dozen climbing walls, all designed differently and some easier than others. It was a great way to get started; no pressure from serious, more experienced climbers next to you and plenty of staff to help you out. You could just pick a climb, go half way up, and if you got scared, jump back down again. And once your confidence grows, you can just keep going.
Jumping off was the hardest bit to get used to. No matter how brave you might feel or how fun it might look, when you get to the very top of one of the walls, your natural instinct isn’t to jump right off, trust me!
With my first climb, I climbed back down until I got to a height where I felt I could “take my chances”. So I did and found that the magnetic based system would catch me after a split second, almost giving me a heart attack in the process. It then lowered me down at a pace suitable for abseiling.
As for my daughter, she too had an experience like me. She would climb the rope ladder, but wouldn’t jump. But after a while, she decided to take a leap and then got more adventurous as the time went on. While we were waiting for our session to start, she enjoyed running around the soft play too and if she ever fancied it, she could easily swap over from the climbing where she could just run around, climb up and go down different slides. It’s also ideal for any toddlers in the family who don’t fancy climbing!
The staff were all really friendly and helpful too. Nobody ever asked us to hurry up or leave a particular climb. We just got to have fun and move along and try something new when we wanted.
Each session is an hour long which was long enough for us personally, but we were beginners. After a few trips to Rock Up, that might change. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting it to be as fun as it was, and I’m actually really keen to go back again. My little girl is also asking every day to go back, so I think that’s a good sign that it’s one for kids of all ages.
- If you’ve got a dad bod / big belly like me, maybe wear extra layers to avoid severe friction burns when you abseil down.
- Only climb a couple of metres, before jumping off to gain some confidence in the safety system. It’ll save you climbing all the way back down again.
- Use your legs! Most people, including me, tend to use their arms to climb more than their legs. But owner Aaran advised me (once I was finished mind you!) that you should use your legs. They have a lot more muscle and so you don’t tire your arms out as quickly – cheers for that Aaran!
- Do the slide! It’s fantastic. Scary at first (you can see from my face!), but after your first go, the second is much easier. It just becomes a case of holding on to your body weight as long as you can. I managed to get to level 8.
- Although you can walk-in, if you know you want to go, book in advance. Because it’s in set 1 hour sessions, you know what time each one is and you know you’re guaranteed to be on it.
It’s better value during off-peak of course which is Monday – Thursday all day and Fridays up until 3:30pm. Off-peak prices are £6 toddlers, £8 under-16s and £11 adults. It’s £2-£3 more during peak times (3:30pm Fri, all day Sat & Sun). The vertical drop slide is an additional £3 each.
Soft play for babies under 6 months is free, then £2 for non-walkers and £4/£5 for walkers. If you want to know more, check out the official Rock Up Hull website.