Nothing says summer like a sunny day spent watching your little ones swingin’ and slidin’ in the back garden, right? 🌞🌞🌞
Outdoor toys are a FAB way to keep 2 – 10 year olds engaged and get them out in the fresh air. And you know that swings and slides will be played with time and time again.
So, you want one that’s built to last – whatever the weather – especially since they’re such brilliant investments for families with more than one child.
That’s all well and good, but let’s be honest: play equipment, especially the really big frames with all the bells and whistles, don’t often come cheap.
By our calculations, you’re looking at around £100 for the cheapest sets, and at the top end, you could easily spend £800 + on a set with the WOW factor.
So, which are the best budget-friendly swing and slide play sets? And if you’ve got the money saved, which sets are worth splashing out on?
Check out our picks – and what parents had to say about them – for the 10 best swing and slide sets available now…
1. ELC Junior Activity Centre, £250
Age: 3 years +
What it is: A wooden frame with toddler swing (that they put their legs through) and a slide – with a few added little extras, like a clock. Self-assembly required – it comes completely flat-packed.
Why we love it: Generally, this sweet ELC is fun for little ones, but isn’t going to take over your entire outdoor space – which is a definite win! It gets 4 and 5 star reviews from those who’ve purchased it, too.
How long does it take to build? Mums and grandparents have said it took them a while to put up, as a few bits were a little tricky to fit together.
One mum said it took her 6 hours – so make sure you’ve set aside a day (and some patience!) to get it done.
Things to note: “Wood needs to be sanded,” one dad who’s used it claimed. “Some really rough bits and got a few splinters putting it together so must be done before toddler goes on it.”
It sounds like they might have had a one off though, but do give it a once-over check just to be safe!
Available from: Early Learning Centre
Age: 3 years +
What it is: An FSC-certified and treated wooden frame with an 8ft slide and a nest swing. Self-assembly required. Dimensions are H283 x W305 x D233cm.
Why we love it: The USP on this set is definitely the nest swing – which can take a maximum combined weight of 120kgs (around 18st 8lbs).
How long does it take to build? All swings and slide frames are gonna take you a while to put up.
You’re probably looking at 5 hours +, but we do like that you can clear see where each bit’s supposed to go (just look for the bright blue).
Available from: Argos
Age: 3 years +
What it is: A garden gym that comes with: with two swings, a slide, climbing wall, rope ladder, tunnel and steering wheel. Self-assembly required. Dimesions are L 365 x W 173 x H 193cm.
Why we love it: We like that this is an alternative to all the popular wooden sets – as it’ll require a bit less maintenance over the years as it sits on the grass.
We also like the possibility to play pretend pirates thanks to the addition of the rope and the steering wheel.
How long does it take to build? Generally, we’ve seen that parents are amazed by how long it takes to put this together. It always seems to come as bit of a surprise!
But, realistically, all sets are gonna take a while to get up, including this one. Give yourself a good day to get the job done.
Available from: Little Tikes, Early Learning Centre and Amazon
Age: 2 years +
What it is: A castle-themed play set that claims it will fit in most cars! Comes with a wavy slide, a toddler-friendly swing with straps and a basketball hoop on the side (no ball, though). Dimensions are L157.5 x W182.9 x H114.3 in cm.
Why we love it: It’s sturdy, yet still light enough to move around the garden. We’ve never tried to get it in a car ourselves, though!
It’s a hit with kids – “My 3 boys love it, very happy with this purchase,” writes one parent – and it’s pretty compact compared to a lot of the larger frames you can buy. We also think this is a nice option for those looking to stick to a budget.
How long does it take to build? Apparently, this is one of the easier ones – with one user saying it took them just 20 minutes to build.
“We weren’t disappointed! Easy to put together took 20 minutes, sturdy and hard wearing. Bigger than I expected but he loved it!!!”
That said, there are a few niggly things to keep an eye out for…
“Fairly easy to put together. But I would say it need someone strong to clip the safety clips into place. The swing is the hardest part to put together as the plastic mis shapens with the force you have to exert to clip the safety bits into place.”
“The product was easy to assemble, but just watch the order you attach the slide and the top step to the side panel. Once assembled, it looks very sturdy,” added another.
Things to note: Definitely best suited to children on the younger end of the scale, though, given that the swing is quite narrow and has a harness.
A few parents who’ve used it also commented on the steps up to the slide – they might be a tiny bit steep for some little ones.
Available from: Smyths Toys
Age: 3 – 10 years
What it is: A metal frame with a wavy slide, a 2-seater glider, and a swing with adjustable ropes. Dimensions H180cm x W285cm x D195cm once assembled. Self-assembly required.
Why we love it: We think this is a good price point – and we like that there’s a swing and a glider, so ideal if you’ve got multiple little ones all clamouring for a go on the swings.
It’s lighter than the bigger wooden sets at 33.5kg, too. That said, as it is a bit lighter, you might want to think about securing it to the ground.
How long does it take to build? Parents who’ve used it have suggested that this one’s not the easiest to put together by any stretch.
The instructions are widely touted as a bit “useless” and you might need to prepare yourself for lots of fiddly screws.
Things to note: One mum bought for a 2.5 year old and later returned it as she didn’t think it was suitable for her child’s age – it’s recommended for 3+, so make sure you check the age recommendation before buying.
Available from: Pram Centre
Age: 3 – 10 years
What it is: A cedar wood frame with a wavy slide, 2 swings, a tall ladder, a little kitchenette window (perfect for imaginative play) and monkey bars. Dimensions W366 x D386 x H246.38 cm.
Why we love it: Generally, we’ve seen this set praised for its sturdiness and high quality. We like that there are a few different elements to it, like the monkey bars (which younger children can grow into) and the little kitchen sink. A nice touch.
“My daughter aged 2 loves it!” writes one user. “She is a good climber so gets up the rock wall with ease but some kids I imagine may struggle a little with no steps. Nice and sturdy. Very happy!”
How long does it take to build? Like a lot of the bigger sets, we’d say set aside a day to get it up. Judging by past feedback on the product, it can take anywhere between 5 and 12 hours to build.
“Took 4-5 hours with 2 people constructing,” says one user. Adds another: “Instructions where extensive and well laid out in sequence that proved to be excellent.”
“Thanks to good instructions, numbers on boards and distributed mounting material, we managed to do it with my husband during one day,” one added.
While for others, it took a bit longer: “All bolts and screws were individually packaged which really helped as that would have easily taken another 2 hours to sort. With a lot of hard work between two of us we got it built within about 11 hours.”
Available from: Selwood
Age: 3 years – 12 years
What it is: An FSC-certified timber frame featuring an 8ft wave slide, 2 swings and it’s USP: a climbing wall with a secret den underneath! Self-assembly required, weighs 100kg, and is 3.9 metres wide.
Why we love it: This one’s not just swings and slides – it’s got the added bonus of a climbing frame, too. So, if your garden is big enough, you’re all set! Of course, little ones love it…
“Overall I have to say this is a fantastic product which has stood the test of time very well,” says one happy dad.
“We have had it for 3 years now and it is still in great condition, despite constant use and being outside the whole time.”
How long does it take to build? “It does take a few hours to assemble but it is worth it,” says one user, while another said:
“Put it together yesterday, got a carpenter to do it, took him 5 1/2 hours and he’s as handy as you get. The quality of the product is top class (Plum Products), everything fitted as described and the instructions were very good as these type of things go.”
So, we reckon you’ll need a good amount of free time and a fair bit of patience to get this set fully functioning, however, it’s also worth the effort given how long it lasts.
Things to note: One thing to look into is prolonging the life of the wooden frame – we’d recommend speaking to Plum’s customer service team and reading instructions for the best way to care.
Their customer service team are touted as very good, and have proven to be happy to replace parts in need of repairing years down the line.
Available from: Robert Dyas
Age: 3 – 12 years
What it is: An FSC-certified wooden frame, which hosts 2 swing seats, a rope ladder and a 6ft wavy slide. Self assembly is required. Dimensions L305 x W320 x H235 cm. Maximum user weight is 50kg (around 7st 9lbs).
Why we love it: It’s sturdy, colourful, and we like the addition of a rope ladder. Just a little extra!
As it’s FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved, it means you’ve got a 10-year guarantee against wood rot and infestation, too. Soulet also take care to note that wet weather does change the appearance of the wood – but any little cracks don’t mean it’s any less safe.
How long does it take to build? Give yourself the best part of, if not a whole, day to get this set built.
Available from: Country Toys
Age: 3 years +
What it is: A large solid wood frame with brightly coloured features: a slide, a 2-person glide swing, a normal swing seat and round ‘button swing’ seat. It weights 114kg, and does require self-assembly.
Why we love it: There are 3 different kinds of swings in this set – which has got to be a record 😂 Ideal for families with multiple kids, who all want to play on the swings at once. Ideal for different ages, too.
How long does it take to build? We don’t know for sure how easy this is to build up and put back down again, but it does seem to use bright blue ports as a way to show you which-bit-connects-where.
Available from: Argos
Age: 12 months +
What it is: It does require self-assembly, and maximum user weight is 25kg (around 3st 9lbs).
Why we love it: This dinky set is perfect if your back garden is mid-sized (so, there’s still some room to play around) – and we like that it’s suitable for younger toddlers in the 1- 2 age range, not just older kids.
Users have praised this Plum frame as sturdy, despite it’s toddler-friendly size, and saying it’s worth the effort of putting it together yourself.
“Kids love it and even though the swing is too small for them now we took that part off so they use the slide and look-out bit all the time. My son asks if we can go to the ‘back garden park’, and it lasted fine over winter,” says one mum – who’s still getting use out of it!
Plum get a good rep online for their customer service team, too – so if something needs replacing or it arrives a bit bashed during delivery (as these bulky packages often do), you know you’ll be dealing with a reasonable brand.
How long does it take to build? Give yourself a full day to get this set built, at least.
“Took 2 weekends to build with difficult instructions and lots of complicated pieces that should have been labelled but weren’t,” says one mum.
Things to note: “Wood split a lot when we built it and has continued to split as it’s been used.” So, as with all wooden sets, it’s important to look into to taking care of the wood, too.
Available from: All Around Fun (for £209.95) and Argos
Which swing and slide sets do you rate?
Have you got a set in your garden that should definitely be on this list? Maybe you’d like to sing the praises – or point out a few important tips – for one of the sets we’ve included here?
We’d love to hear your reviews and your feedback – so do feel free to get in touch in the comments below, on Facebook or via Instagram!