Most children love to climb and, while taking the kids to the park is a great way to burn off some energy, nothing beats having an adventure in your own back garden with a climbing frame.


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Looking for a saving on one of the climbing frames in this list? Our experts are busy keeping track of the best offers on tried and tested favourites, recommended by the Top Testers Club.

This versatile piece of kit can vary from a small plastic frame on which toddlers can build their climbing confidence all the way up to huge wooden forts with climbing walls, sandpits and cargo nets. As well as being a lot of fun to play on, climbing frames teach children how to navigate risk and help them to develop key skills including balance, strength and gross motor skills.

With the help of our child and parent testers, we have tested and rated loads of different climbing frames to select the 10 best in a range of sizes, price and age suitability.

Best climbing frames at a glance

  • Best for growing with your kids: TP Toys Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Black Edition, £229.99
  • Best budget buy: Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower, £99.99
  • Best for different climbing options: FatMoose CleverClimber Club XXL, £599
  • Best for monkey bars: Dunster House Monkey Bars Climbing Frame, £204.99
  • Best for summer and winter fun: Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre, £459.99
  • Best for imaginative play: Wickey MulitFlyer Climbing Frame with Wooden Roof, £689
  • Best for do-it-yourself design: Quadro Climbing Pyramid, £259.99
  • Best for versatile fun: UFO Den & Climbing Frame, £249.99
  • Best for indoor play: Active Tots Wooden Climbing Triangle, £69.99
  • Best for large families with small gardens: Jungle Gym Jungle Hut, £899

What to look for when choosing a climbing frame

Space – Most outdoor climbing frames require level ground and a minimum amount of clear space around the structure. This is something you will need to factor in when measuring your garden and choosing the size frame you want.

Age suitability – This is a really important feature to consider, as it can be dangerous for younger children to use play equipment that's too high for them. It is also important to look at the maximum weight limit, especially if you are going to have younger and older siblings playing on the same climbing frame.

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Material – The majority of climbing frames are made from plastic, wood or metal. Each material has its pros and cons. For example, treated wooden climbing frames tend to be hardwearing and most have quite long manufacturer guarantees. Metal frames can be very sturdy, but are prone to rust if they are left open to the elements throughout the year. Plastic is really easy to clean but can get hot and fade in the sun.

Assembly – In general, most climbing frames will come in parts and will take you a good few hours to assemble (if that idea fills you with dread, you can find build services who'll do it for you – at a cost). Wooden climbing frames usually come with pre-cut pieces of timber but you might have to drill the holes yourself or cut any tarpaulin pieces.

Extras – Many climbing frames come with items such as swings, ropes, covers or bars, but make sure you check exactly what's included and what's extra. Often the stock photographs will show items that you have to purchase separately. It is also worth checking if the climbing frame is modular and can have other sections, such as swings or a slide, added at a later date.

Here’s our pick of the 10 best climbing frames for kids

1. TP Toys Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Black Edition, £229.99

– Best for growing with your kids

TP Toys Explorer Metal Climbing Frame Black Edition with child tester

Age: 18 months+ | Size: L208cm x W208cm x H201cm | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Main material: Steel | Warranty: Frame, 5 years (rust); all other parts, 1 year | Assembly time: 2 hours (2 adults)

If you are looking for a climbing frame that offers your kid a shaded area with protection from the sun, this could be just the ticket. It has a covered den at the top that you reach by climbing the frame or using a cargo net and which features a playmat floor, a round porthole and 3 entry/exit points with roll-up doors. At the base of the climbing frame there's a hexagonal ball pit/sandpit area.

It's designed for toddler age and up, and the clever design allows the climbing frame to grow with your child, so the platform can be built at a low height (56cm) to begin with and then raised all the way up to 119cm in later years. The maximum child weight is very generous but we reckon that, for older kids – 8 years and up, say – it might be a little small.

It has a modular design that allows you to buy separate accessories, such as a slide, monkey run, swing or a basketball hoop, to add as your child gets older and more adventurous. You can also order a new den if its gets damaged.

Lisa, mum of our child tester Chloe, 4 (pictured above), said, "My daughter loves it and has played with it every day since it's been built. I like that it has the cargo net, so they have different options for climbing up, and the playmat is a great feature to have for younger ones to play in, too, or for having a picnic in." Chloe's verdict? "I love it! I like climbing to the top and sitting in the den with my best friend."

It's relatively easy to assemble if you pay close attention to the instructions, and it comes with anchor spikes to secure it firmly into the ground. Also available, without the ball pit area, in Blue.

Pros: Grows with your child, shaded area, good accessories available, variety of climbing options, built-in den
Cons: Not suitable for older kids

Available at: TP Toys, John Lewis and Adventure Toys

2. Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower, £99.99

– Best budget buy

Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower

Age: 3 to 6 | Size: L178cm x W166cm x H118cm | Maximum user weight: 70kg | Main material: UV-resistant plastic | Warranty: None | Assembly time: 1.5 hours

This very affordable climbing frame can be used indoors or outdoors. It is very lightweight, so super-easy to move around your house or garden.

Kids can climb to the top of the dome, swing from the bars and make a camp inside. This type of interlocking open frame is great for developing problem-solving skills, as well as building upper and lower body strength. While its main use is climbing, we also like the potential for imaginative play. The dome shape lends itself well to becoming a den and we found that, with a couple of sheets and some pegs, it becomes a fun hideaway.

The solid interlocking connectors and double self-locking springs mean you don’t need brute strength to build it. That said, it'll probably take you longer than the advertised 1.5 hours. You do need to read the instructions carefully and lay out the parts before starting to put it together or you can easily put pieces in the wrong way and it can be very tricky to pull them apart again.

It's not suitable for children under 3 and, despite the 70kg maximum weight, it might seem too small for kids over 6, so it has a limited lifespan if you're only buying for 1 child.

Pros: Great value, can be used indoors and outdoors, versatile
Cons: Limited age range, tricky to assemble

Available at: Smyths Toys

3. FatMoose CleverClimber Club XXL, £599

– Best for different climbing options

FatMoose CleverClimber Club

Age: 3+ | Size: L250cm x W105cm x H220cm | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Main material: Pressure-treated solid wood | Warranty: 10 years (all wooden parts) | Assembly time: 2 hours+ (2 adults)

This wooden, multi-activity climbing frame will keep you kids acrobatically busy with its ladders, cargo net, ropes and climbing wall.

It's impressively compact for a climbing frame with so many features and we love how it can be tweaked to suit your children's needs. For example, you can extend the climbing wall to make it the full height of the frame or you can use the extra wooden boards to create a basketball ring backboard, as shown in our picture (the basketball ring is sold separately).

It's a bit of a job to assemble and you will need a drill (no pre-drilled holes in the timber supplied). You may want to consider cementing it into the ground for extra stability but, whether you do or not, we strongly recommend you secure it with ground anchors – which aren't included, so will cost you an extra £80 for the set. (It’s worth noting that the 10-year guarantee on the wooden parts is only valid if you buy the anchors at the same time as buying the frame.) You may also want to buy some safety mats to offer your kids a softer landing if they fall off.

Pros: Multiple climbing options, sturdy wooden frame, versatile, accessories available
Cons: Pricey, long assembly time, requires separate ground anchors, not suitable for toddlers

Available at: ManoMano and FatMoose

4. Dunster House Monkey Bars Climbing Frame, £204.99

– Best for monkey bars

Dunster House Monkey Bars Climbing frame

Age: 3 to 14 | Size: L190cm x W315cm x H220cm | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Main material: Pressure-treated wood and steel | Warranty: 10 years (insect infestations and fungal decay) | Assembly time: 1 day (2 adults)

This is the climbing frame for kids who just love to swing, ninja-style, from bar to bar – though you could easily attach a trapeze swing and rope ladder for more play opportunities.

It's big – though perhaps not as big as you'd think from the picture – and it's very tall (over 2 metres), so it's suitable right up to early teenage years. Because of the height, though, we'd recommend thinking about placing safety mats underneath to cushion any potential falls.

The wood is thick, solid and great quality, though you may want to add a layer of varnish to protect it even more from the weather, and there are really strong metal braces at all the key joints. We especially like how all the nuts and bolts have plastic safety caps to help stop clothing catching on them.

But it is a monster job putting it all together: you'll need a drill (no pre-cut holes) and a whole day of careful instruction-following. It comes with anchor points included and it's recommended that you place it on a level surface at least 2m from any structure or overhanging branches/wires.

Pros: Great age range, sturdy wooden frame, ground anchors included
Cons: Very long assembly time, not suitable for toddlers, possibly too high for some preschoolers

Available at: Amazon and Dunster House

5. Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre, £459.99

– Best for summer and winter fun

Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play centre

Age: 3 to 12 | Size: L150cm x W390cm x H210cm | Maximum user weight: 50kg | Main material: FSC-certified timber | Warranty: 5 years (rot and insect damage); 1 year (slide, hardware, fabric and accessories) | Assembly time: 5 hours (2 adults)

This wooden climbing frame has features that adapt to the seasons, with closed areas for colder months and a hosepipe attachment to turn the 8ft slide element into a waterslide in the summer.

The climbing wall has coloured hand and foot grips on one side and a metal-bar ladder and cargo net on the other, with a 'secret hideout' behind Velco-opening camouflage fabric panels in between. The slide is a good length with a fun wavy slope and at the top of the climbing pyramid is a large split-level platform play deck. If you like, you can pay extra to add on a double swing.

"This has been the best addition we've ever made to our garden," said Sarah, mum of our child testers Wilf, 6, and Edie, 3 (pictured). "My children both love playing on it and the variety of 3 different climbing surfaces – metal bars, climbing net or climbing wall – mean they can play on it at the same time without arguing. Plus, the den underneath and the wavy slide make this such great value."

It will take a considerable chunk of a day – and 2 people – to put together and you do need to allow for a 1.8m play perimeter around it.

It's not cheap but, said Sarah, "the quality is so impressive, and it will be well used and loved for many years."

Pros: Great age range, multiple climbing options, sturdy wooden frame, fantastic features, hosepipe attachment
Cons: Pricey, long assembly time, not suitable for toddlers

Available at: Wicken Toys and Activity Toys Direct

6. Wickey MultiFlyer Climbing Frame with Wooden Roof, £689

– Best for imaginative play

A collage of Wickey Multiflyer outside in the garden with kids playing on it alongside the studio shot of the product

Age: 3 to 12 | Size: L288cm x W429cm x H263cm | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Main material: Pressure-treated wood | Warranty: 10 years | Assembly: 5 hours (3 adults)

This wide, wooden climbing frame boasts a climbing wall, ladder, slide, sandpit in the base and 2 swings, which can be swapped out for other swinging accessories such as rings or a trapeze.

The platform at the top of the ladder has a ship’s wheel, lookout post and telescope, which make great props for loads of imaginative play. The only (potential) downside – apart from the high price-tag – is that your child will be constantly asked to host playdates!

Our child testers, Felicity, 3 (pictured) and her sister Paige, 7, have been using it daily since it arrived, scrambling up the climbing wall, playing in the sandpit and keeping lookout on the platform. "It really is the most brilliant piece of play equipment!" said their mum Katie.

The wood has been pressure treated but you will need to drill holes when you assemble it – which will be a lengthy process if you tackle it yourself, as Katie discovered. "It took me several days as I did the majority on my own but it has been so worth it. It went down a storm at my daughter's 6th birthday party, when we had 8 children on it at the same time."

You'll need to buy your own ground anchors (nothing is included). Slide available in a choice of 8 colours.

Pros: Great age range, multiple climbing options, sturdy wooden frame, great features, versatile
Cons: Pricey, very long assembly time, anchors not included, not suitable for toddlers

Available at: Amazon, ManoMano and Wickey

7. Quadro Climbing Pyramid, £259.99

– Best for do-it-yourself design

Quadro Climbing Pyramid

Age: 12 months to 4 years | Size: 40cm x 40cm per grid | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Main material: UV-resistant plastic | Warranty: 6 years | Assembly time: 2 hours (1 or 2 people)

Now here's a climbing frame you can design – and re-design – the shape of yourself, either on your own or with your child. This giant plastic construction set comes with 236 parts which you plug together to create up to 11 different designs , including cubes, tunnels, pyramids, play towers and even mountains.

This is great if you have children of different ages, as the little ones can climb on the lower grids and the slightly older or more adventurous ones can go a bit higher. You can also start off building a lower frame and then tweak the design as your child grows to make it more challenging.

Quadra was first produced 43 years ago and has been a huge hit ever since, not least because it's built to last. Tanya who's a member of our Top Testers Club is reusing the set she played on as a child as a climbing frame for her own children. "It’s really robust and we love how versatile it is. You can change the arrangement, buy extra pieces and also accessories."

It's suitable – and flexible enough – for use indoors and out and the pieces are both UV and water-resistant, so the bright colours should stand up well to the weather. Also available in Soft Greens and Pinks & Blues.

Pros: Versatile, suitable for indoors and out, easy to assemble, suitable for toddlers
Cons: Limited age range (although this can be extended with the addition of extra kits)

Available at: Quadro and Early Years Resources

8. UFO Den & Climbing Frame, £249.99

– Best for versatile fun

UFO den and climbing frame

Age: 3+ | Size: L201cm x W217cm x H122cm | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Warranty: 1 year | Assembly time: 2 hours (2 people) | Award: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Award 2022

This cool UFO Den and Climbing Frame toy is sure to capture your child's imagination. With a climbing frame that goes up and over a floating den, it's got plenty of appeal for children of a variety of ages, plus, the swinging den is a perfect place for chilling out after all that climbing.

The kit is strong and durable, and handles wet weather well. The den has a mesh floor which allows good ventilation and drainage when it rains, so you don't have to worry about it becoming too soggy.

"I love it! I’m so high at the top, and I like going inside the den and hiding. It’s so cool," said child tester Lily, 3 years old, although parent tester Charlotte felt this toy was more suited for ages 4 or 5+, due to the height (over 5ft) of the climbing frame.

"The climbing frame and den is very well thought out. From the appearance to the safety aspect of using it, I cannot fault it. The handrail at the top is such a good idea – it means I can step back and let him do it safely without having to hold on to him," commented parent tester Tammy, who tested this with their 3 year old. "It is very well made and will definitely last for years. Archie and his older brother have put cushions and a blanket in there and have been telling stories to each other. It has definitely brought out their imaginations."

It's fairly straightforward to put together but does require some strength and 2 people working together. It also takes some time to assemble but the instructions are very easy to follow. Our parent tester thought it was worth the time as the end result was a very sturdy and well-made climbing frame.

Pros: Den is low to the ground, reasonably easy to assemble, versatile play potential, durable
Cons: May feel a little high for 3 year olds, no other accessories available

Available at: TP Toys

9. Active Tots Wooden Climbing Triangle, £69.99

– Best for indoor play

active tots climbing frame_

Age: 18 months+ | Size: L94.5cm x W29cm x H8.5cm | Maximum user weight: 100kg | Main material: Sustainable timber wood | Warranty: 1 year | Assembly time: Less than 30mins | Award: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Award 2022

With customisable interconnectivity, a beautiful simplistic design and an easy fold, this little wooden climbing frame brings physical play inside.

It's suitable from 18 months old and is a safe way to build your child's strength and body awareness from a young age. The timber wood is from eco-friendly, sustainable sources and you can buy additional wooden accessories like slides, bridges, and tunnels to boost the play potential for your little climber.

"My little one was so excited about this climbing frame. Once I'd built it (with ease), she took straight away to climbing it. She found it fairly easy to use and was so proud of herself each time she achieved getting over the top. She gave a big yay! She was very excited and still loves using the Active Tots wooden climbing triangle every day. She also realised she could use it as a tunnel which was a great discovery for her," shared parent tester Jennie who tested this with their daughter who is 19 months old (pictured).

As it's designed primarily for indoor use, the climbing triangle features anti-slip rubber feet to offer security and stability on carpets and wooden floors.

Pros: Suitable for toddlers, folds easily, very little assembly, suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Cons: Limited age range, additional accessories cost more

Available at: John Lewis, Amazon and TP Toys

10. Jungle Gym Jungle Hut, £899

– Best for large families with small gardens

Jungle Hut Wooden Climbing Frame with slide

Age: 3 to 10 | Size: L320cm x W160cm x H290cm | Maximum user weight: 50kg | Main material: Wood | Warranty: 10 years (wood rot); 2 years (other parts) | Assembly times: 5 hours (2 adults)

Packing a lot into a small space, this climbing frame is reasonably narrow, so it'll fit in a smallish garden, but also stands quite tall and has multiple play areas, meaning it can hold up to 6 children at once.

As well as the long wavy slide, there's a sandpit in the base and a shaded platform at the top of the ladder – complete with a 'starOscope' and steering wheel.

We love that the slide can be connected to a hosepipe and turned into a water slide, and were impressed by the thoughtful safety features, such as a head cushion above the slide exit, safety handles at strategic points and an anti-slip metal ladder with end covers.

It’s not an easy building job, requiring a drill to make the holes (none of the wood is pre-drilled) and 2 pairs of hands to put it all together, but it's well worth it for the wow-factor. Ground anchors – essential for holding the climbing frame secure – are included in the price. Slide available in 6 colours.

Pros: Great age range, compact footprint, sturdy wooden frame, great features, hosepipe attachment, anchors included
Cons: Very pricey, lengthy build time

Available from: Jungle Gym


How to safely install your climbing frame

Follow these top safety tips from David Woodman, head of quality assurance and product development at Plum, when choosing, setting up and using climbing frames in the garden with children.
  • The surface the climbing frame needs to be as flat as possible to help avoid any accidents. It’s also easier to set up and align the play equipment on a flat surface.
  • Never place the set on a patio or hard surface as this will increase the likelihood of injury in a fall.
  • Ensure that every part of the climbing frame is firmly anchored to the floor using ground anchors and preferably set in concrete so the frame is steady and safe and won’t tip over at a later point.
  • Make sure there are no obstacles near the play equipment. If possible, keep a safety distance of at least 2 metres from the nearest obstacle.

How to safely maintain your wooden climbing frame

  • Use a soft brush to remove any dirt from the climbing frame, and wipe the metal parts, swing seats and slides with a damp cloth and light detergent.
  • At the end of each summer, treat your wooden climbing frame with a water-based wood treatment to promote longevity.
  • During the winter, remove any fabrics and store in a sheltered, dry place to keep them from harsh weather conditions.

How we tested our 10 of the best?

When choosing and testing these climbing frames we considered size, price, assembly time, safety, sturdiness, age suitability, longevity of use and, of course, play value.

Out 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our testing during the MadeForMums awards and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club.

Each year, 1000s of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, but instead a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we aim to help you discover what is best for your family.

About the author

Gabrielle Nathan is a freelance journalist with 20 years’ experience in lifestyle and consumer journalism. She’s mum to three children aged 9, 6 and 3 and is currently umming and aahing over which climbing frame to choose for them.

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Gabrielle NathanContributor

Gabrielle Nathan has been a journalist for 20 years, writing lifestyle features for publications including Red, Women’s Health, Wildflower and Condé Nast Traveller. She has been writing about parenting since 2012, the year she became a mum.