Rock climbing Cornwall: Via Ferrata


Do you want to go rock climbing in Cornwall but not in the traditional sense? Do you want to take your family, partner or friends to a place which is all about high-adrenaline outdoor activities that are different to anything else you’ve done before? Do you love the beautiful Cornish countryside? And do you like a challenge? If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above then you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Via Ferrata Cornwall, one of the most unique challenges in the UK.

What is ‘via ferrata’?
In essence, ‘via ferrata’, which means ‘iron path’ in Italian and refers to the metal rungs and wire bridges that give climbers a safe crossing across otherwise tricky and steep rocky terrain, is ‘rock climbing and then some’. You can do it in teams and not only do participants get a buzz from the adrenaline rush but they also get to take their time, conquer their fears and get an amazing sense of achievement when they reach the summit of each challenge.

Via Ferrata Cornwall, which sits in a beautiful quarry near Penryn and Falmouth, is one of the only via ferrata activity centres in the UK and it is home to a unique high-wire adventure with climbing, high ropes and a fabulous zip-wire. There is an Adventure Zone, which is perfect for both adults who are new to the activity and intrepid children eight years old and over. And then there’s the Full Classic route for anyone aged 10 and older with ‘medium fitness’ right up to the full-on adrenaline junkies! But what does each via ferrata challenge look like? How do you scale the dizzying heights on metal rungs and bridges before finishing on the zip-line? Well, let’s give you a flavour of what to expect…

5 stages to tackle at Via Ferrata Cornwall…

Climb the Iron Stairway

After you’ve arrived at Via Ferrata Cornwall, after you’ve met your instructor and after you’ve received your safety brief, you’re clipped into a harness which is attached to a safety cable the whole time. Then it’s time to head out on the Adventure Zone course and face one of your first challenges: the ‘Iron Stairway’. Use the metal rungs as a makeshift bannister and carefully ascend. Try leaning back for an extra buzz!

Traverse the High Wire Bridge

Once you’ve conquered the cliff face, you’re ready to take on the 70m-long ‘High Wire Bridge’. It can wobble – especially if you’re with someone who decides to bounce it – but it’s great fun, especially if you’re brave enough to go hands-free. See if you can spot the fish far below. And if you’re with loved ones who aren’t taking part in an activity, they can watch from the viewing platform near the site’s café!

Negotiate a sheer rock face and reach the summit

Reaching the summit of the Adventure Zone is a great feeling. Once you’ve done the ‘High Wire Bridge’, you’ll climb up – and, don’t worry, there’s no chance of accidentally ‘unclipping’ yourself, so you’re completely free to push your limits and go for it – the last bit of the sheer quarry face. Congratulations – you’ve completed the first part of your adventure. You’re now ready to take on the Full Classic route!

Scale cliff faces 20m above a quarry lake

The Full Classic route sees you tackling some large sheer cliff faces which sit up to 20m above the lake in the middle of the quarry at Via Ferrata Cornwall. Will you use the metal rungs to navigate through the course or try to only use the natural rock crevices for an extra challenge? There are plenty of obstacles along the way, so prepare to navigate your way to glory on this incredible course.

Zip down the most rewarding zipline in Cornwall

We all love a zip-wire, right? End your adventure with the most rewarding zip-wire in Cornwall! The quarry zipline here is the ultimate finale to your challenge. You’ll see stunning views overlooking the Lizard peninsular and Falmouth, and you’ll get to look back proudly at the route you just conquered. Others can watch you zip along from the viewing point near the site’s nature trails (more on these below!). Well done!

Other activities available at Via Ferrata Cornwall…

Family-friendly coasteering

At Via Ferrata Cornwall there are enough activities to keep you entertained for a whole adventure day out, even if your group has mixed ages and abilities. Try the coasteering, which is for anyone aged eight years old or above. Scramble up the quarry walls and leap off into the freshwater below, either from the natural rock crevices or from the in-built platforms at three, four and five meters above the water level.

Rock climbing

If you love rock climbing, then try rock climbing Cornwall style at this attraction! Anyone aged eight years old or above can develop their climbing techniques and test their nerves as they abseil back down the quarry face. Protip: if you or your kids like this activity and some of the others on this list, they can enjoy a camping adventure holiday in tents at Via Ferrata Cornwall. See the official website for more details.

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

The peace of the Cornish countryside. The humming of insects and the tranquil chirping of birds. You standing up or kneeling down with a paddle in your hands, taking in the sweet sights and sounds of the Cornish spring or summer. Anyone aged six years or above can enjoy some Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) taster sessions in the calm quarry waters here. Perfect for SUP novices, thanks to this serenity.

Mixed watersports sessions

There are lots of mixed watersports sessions to try out at Via Ferrata Cornwall. Anyone aged six years old or above can take part in kayaking, canoeing or Stand Up Paddleboarding (see above for details on this activity). And what’s the best way to have some fun in just one mixed watersports session? Try all three, of course. This way, you can find out which sturdy vessel floats your boat best.

Image by Gunnar Richter


Target in on this activity. Who doesn’t love a spot of archery? Anyone aged six and over can develop their aiming technique on the solo boards and then put their skills to the test in a fun team target game. Perhaps bring some friends or family members, organise yourselves in teams and then take each other on in a team target competition. Bullseye!

Activity viewing areas

There are plenty of viewing areas across the attraction. Some of the best ones are near to the site’s café. Here, you can watch your group, friends, family or kids as they traverse the famous ‘High Wire Bridge’. Or perhaps you prefer seeing the plucky daredevils taking on the big zip-wire? Watch the fun from the viewing areas that are placed along the nature trails. More on these further below…

Mud Kitchen and wild play areas

There’s lots for the over-10s to do at this attraction but what about the smaller crowd? Well, if you read the above, there’s a fair amount for the over-eights and even over-six brigade to take part in but the Mud Kitchen and the site’s wild play areas are solely for the under-10s. They can enjoy a muddy play area, a climbing slope, a slide, tyres and some swings. There’s a covered seating area for the parents to sit in and watch.

Nature trails

Once all of those challenges are completed and all those activities are done, then you must take a wander around the nature trails peppered around the site. Meander through a series of diverse habitat zones and enjoy the colourful Cornish wildlife. Check out the dedicated bug zones, grassland areas, forests and wet woodlands while learning fascinating wildlife facts on interpretation boards along the way.

The Cornish Barista’s Quarryside Café

What’s the best way to round off your day? Drinks and snacks, of course. The Cornish Barista’s Quarryside Café is always open for adventurers and their friends and families, and does a great lunch by the way! Relax, indulge in some delicious food and drink and take in the gorgeous views over the quarry. Want to know more about Via Ferrata Cornwall and book tickets for your next adventure? Click the ‘Read More’ button below and read our dedicated piece on this magical land of cliff face challenges in the heart of the beautiful Cornish countryside!

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