Where To Do Extreme Sports In London


Try the ice wall at Covent Garden. Photo ©Red Letter Days

Have you seen our round-up of the best climbing centres in London? If you’re feeling braver than a static climbing wall, how about venturing Up At The O2 (from £26) and becoming one of those silhouette ants you’ve probably seen on top of the dome in the last year or so? We had a go, and it’s not quite as intrepid as the marketing would have you believe. Don’t be expecting a great view of the city either — the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf block most of the interesting sights out…unless you find the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf interesting.

The ultimate climbing experience London has to offer must be Vertical Chill, the ice wall tucked away at the back of Ellis Brigham in Covent Garden. Beginners are welcome and the cost is £50 for a one-to-one session, £35 as part of a group or £25 if you’re a pro and already have all your own gear.

If working with gravity, rather than against it, is more your style, what about abseiling? Plenty of charities run sponsored abseils down various  London landmarks from time to time — keep an eye on the ‘Good Cause’ section of our daily email. For a real challenge though, try Rap jumping (from £45), described as an extreme version of forward abseiling, at The Castle Climbing Centre in Stoke Newington. If you’re still up for it after watching this video, we salute you.

Bungee Jumping


For one weekend every month, it’s possible to bungee jump next to the O2, thanks to UK Bungee Club. The roughly 50m jump is over an air bag, rather than the Thames, so no fear of getting a mouthful of London’s finest. It’s £75 to go it alone, or £150 for a tandem, but the jumps do tend to get booked up a few months in advance, so once you’ve summoned up the courage, go ahead and book straight away. See future jump dates.

White Water Rafting

Lee Valley

Lee Valley White Water Centre, the venue for watersports during London 2012, offers several boat-based activities including canoeing, kayaking and rafting. Sure, being in Hertforshire, it’s a little outside of London, but it sure beats risking a fall into the murky waters of the Thames. From £49.

Also available is the chance to ride a speedboat down the Thames. You might not ooze the style of David Beckham in the London 2012 opening ceremony, but if you close your eyes (and breath through your mouth), it’s almost the same as banana boating in the Bahamas. The 40 minute ride takes you on a return trip from St Katharine’s Pier to the Thames Barrier. 35mph may not seem fast on land, but it’s a heck of a lot faster when you’re low to the water. From £39.95 per adult.

Scuba Diving

London City Scuba is based at Golden Lane Leisure Centre in Barbican. Everyone from beginners to experienced divers can join the club, which is a branch of the British Sub Aqua Club. Don’t worry if the thought of an inner city swimming pool doesn’t quite match up to your expectations of scuba diving — the club organises one UK and one foreign diving holiday each year.

Alternatively, Clidive is also a BSAC club, and meets at Ironmonger Row Baths near Old Street every Thursday.

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