Climbing Statistics: How Popular is Climbing in the UK 2021?

Hiking Statistics UK 2021


Climbing Statistics UK 2021?

Climbing is a challenging sport that requires strength, tenacity and willpower, but can be extremely rewarding for those who take part. This article analyses the popularity of climbing in the UK over time, and in which area in the UK is climbing the most popular.

How Popular is Climbing in the UK 2021?

According to the Association of British Climbing Walls, around 1 million people take part in indoor rock climbing each year with around 100,000 people being regulars at the sport. 


In the UK, the search term ‘Climbing’ generates an average of 19,100 searches per month with other similar terms such as ‘rock climbing’ (15,800 average monthly searches) and ‘Climbing walls’ (10,400 average monthly searches) also generating substantial traffic. Search volumes were found using the keyword analysis tool KWFinder.



As we can see from Google Trends data, the term ‘Climbing’ tends to follow the pattern of being searched more frequently in the summer months and less frequently in the winter months. Even though the search volume was at its lowest it’s been for the past 5 years in winter 2020/2021, search volume remains relatively consistent each year. Summer 2019 experienced the largest interest through search, however, as of March 2021, the current search value is already at 84% of its all time high.

Which Area is the Climbing Hotspot of the UK 2021?

In general, out of every 1000 people in the UK, the search term ‘Climbing’ is searched by 0.29 people. However, when dissecting the data, we found that the search term is much more popular in some areas rather than others. The table below shows the ten areas in the UK with the highest popularity of the term ‘Climbing’ per every 1000 people. 



Number of Searchers per Every 1000 people

Total Average Searches Per Month































These figures were calculated by dividing the number of searches per area by the total area population and multiplying that figure by 1,000. Number of Searches were found using the Keyword analysis tool KWFinder.


  • As seen in the table, residents in Bristol are the most likely in the UK to search for ‘Climbing’ than anywhere else with Cambridge just behind them in 2nd place.

  • It is worth noting that London has the highest search volume in the UK, with 3,000 searches per month which is 2630 more searches than 2nd place Bristol. However, when comparing the search results with population size, only 0.37 people for every thousand in London search for the term ‘Climbing’ per month. This means that when comparing searches with population size, London is the 13th highest on the list.

  • From the areas we analysed, ‘Climbing’ is the least popular in Swansea, with only 10 searches per month which equates to 0.05 people per every 1,000.

How Popular is Rock Climbing in the UK 2021?

The search term Rock Climbing is searched on average 15,800 times per month making it the second most popular climbing-related search term in the UK after ‘Climbing’. 

As shown in the Google Trends data, the search interest in the UK for ‘Rock Climbing’ remained relatively constant between 2016 and the start of 2020, following similar seasonal trends to the term ‘Climbing’. However, search volume dropped drastically in March 2020, coinciding with the first national lockdown in the UK due to Covid-19, and since then, the recovery of the search term has also coincided with the relaxation and the incorporation of lockdown restrictions.



The most popular areas for Rock Climbing in the UK surprisingly do not follow the same pattern as the term ‘Climbing’. For example, the top five areas for the term are Stockport, Oldham, Manchester, Salford and Bournemouth respectively. This highlights that the sport of Rock Climbing is popular in the North West of England with 4 of the top 5 cities areas being in the region with a further 2 more areas in the North West (Warrington and Bolton) being in the top 10.

How Old is the Average Climber UK 2021?

Age distribution of independent climbers in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019, by participation frequency - Statista
Age distribution of independent climbers in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019, by participation frequency – Statista

As seen in the above graph, people of all ages in the UK take part in the sport of climbing each year. Climbers are considered to be regular if they climb more than 26 times per year.

  • The most popular age group is 25-34 with 29% of all climbers being within this age bracket.

  • Up until 25-34, the participation increases with age. Following the age bracket 25-34, participation decreases as age increases.


To conclude, climbing in the UK is seasonal in terms of search volume and demand for the sport varies for each area in the UK with it being the most popular in Bristol. Rock climbing is the most popular in the North West of England and the largest proportion of all climbers in the UK are aged 25-34.


We hope this article has helped you understand the popularity of Climbing in the UK and the differences present across areas and age groups.


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