Wall-to-wall fun: Former shop transformed into climbing centre

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone.

A new adventure destination has arrived in Norwich city centre after Rock Punk opened its doors in Magdalen Street - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A new adventure destination has arrived in the city - and budding climbers couldn't wait to scale its walls.

Rock Punk received an "amazing" response when it opened its doors on Saturday, May 7.

The bouldering studio located in a former shop in Magdalen Street was fully booked on its first day with many keen to test their skills.

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone.

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Dave Freestone, who runs the business with wife Joline, said: "It was amazing - we had such a busy day.

"For an opening it was everything we could have asked for. 

"It was a bit nerve-wracking when I saw all the sessions were fully booked. But it was brilliant to see everyone in there having a good time.

"People were cheering others on and it was great to see so many familiar faces from Norwich's climbing community."

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone.

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone. CLimbing is Marcin Tomala who is a professional route setter. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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Rock Punk has been 18 months in the making after Dave first floated the idea of transforming the couple's successful clothing business of 12 years into a climbing centre.

He added: "We began developing the idea in November 2020 alongside renowned climbing pros Jakub Stec and Marcin Tomala and later closed the shop in December 2021.

"From that point on we have just been constructing the wall which took five months to complete. 

"It's been a long process."

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone.

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone. CLimbing is Marcin Tomala who is a professional route setter. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Creating a climbing wall in a shop space may seem unusual but it allows for a unique challenge for climbers.

"Working with a lower height means you have to get creative" said Dave, adding: "It means you can create routes that really focus on technique rather than strength.

"We've had really good feedback so far."

After the initial two weeks, new routes will be created weekly to keep challenging visitors.

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone.

Rock Punk is a new climbing studio on Magdalen Street. The Bouldering gym is run by Dave Freestone. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

But for Dave the site is as much about building a community as it is climbing.

He said: "Climbing is a meditative experience and you can switch off from everything happening outside and focus on that one route.

"The climbing community in general is great and we are excited to be a part of it.

"People you have never met will be cheering you on and helping each other out - you don't get that in other aspects of life."