Days Out: Welsh International Climbing Centre, Nelson, Caerphilly

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The Independent Travel

The venue

Supple joints and a good grip come in handy during a visit to Wales's largest climbing centre, but no previous experience is necessary, as instruction and safety equipment are provided. The centre, just north of Cardiff, has more than 400 routes to attempt on its indoor climbing walls, from gentle beginner routes with large, friendly handholds, to tough advanced routes with tricky overhangs. Taster courses last for around two hours and provide an ideal introduction for beginners. However, it's not all about rock climbing - you can scramble across cargo nets and rope bridges 55 feet off the ground on the highest high ropes course in Britain. Or, you could get kitted up in a caving suit because the centre is also home to the world's first artificial pot-holing complex, complete with subterranean waterfalls and stalactites.

For children

Special family sessions give kids the chance to test their climbing skills on the smaller, children's walls. Then they can advance to the full 50ft-high climbs, while parents take charge of the safety ropes. The centre also runs outdoor, child-friendly activities in the Brecon Beacons including kayaking.

For adults

Adult open sessions with experienced instructors are perfect for anyone trying climbing for the first time, or firming up rusty skills. The sessions provide plenty of time on the climbing walls while teaching all the skills you will need to eventually go climbing without supervision. The centre also offers an artificial bouldering room and a gym.


Vending machines supply energy drinks and snacks and the Basecamp café bar opens evenings and weekends for hot meals.


There is level access, disabled parking, toilets and changing rooms. Activities for visitors with disabilities can be booked in advance.


Open all year (except for Christmas and New Year) 9am-10pm Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday. Book in advance for instructor-based sessions: Adult £16.50 for a two-hour open session. Children (aged six to 14) £7.

How to get there

Welsh International Climbing Centre, Trelewis, Mid Glamorgan, CF46 6RD (01443 710749;

By car: From Junction 32 on the M4, head North on the A470, then follow the signs. Free parking.

By bus: The 22 runs hourly, Monday-Saturday, from Pontypridd Bus Station to Merthyr Tydfil via the centre.

By rail: The nearest station is Quaker's Yard, a mile away.