Best climbing frame 2020: 9 climbing frames, for big and small kids alike

The best climbing frames to keep the children entertained this summer, at the best prices

best climbing frame: plum Metal Dome Deimos
(Image credit: Amazon)

Now is prime time to invest in the best climbing frame for your garden, just as the sun is starting to shimmy its way back into our lives.

From long spring weekends to those endless school summer holidays, having a children’s climbing frame out the back (that adults can enjoy too), could be your saving grace! You’ll be able to keep everyone entertained, which is even deal for after school when you’re getting on with making their tea... Plus, not only do the children get fresh air and some sunshine with that all-important vitamin D (with any luck), but they’ll also have hours of exercise in a space where you can keep an eye on them. 

Choosing the perfect design for your family and for your garden can be difficult as there are so many options to choose from. Don’t be swayed by price alone, take a look at our selection, which offers a variety of activities and are safe, sturdy and long-lasting. From the perfect climbing frames for small gardens to wooden varieties and more, we've got the lot.

For more garden buys and supplies, see our garden hub page

What is the best climbing frame?

If you want to buy the best climbing frame (in our opinion), we wouldn't hesitate to  buy the Fatmoose FitFrame Fresh XXL. It's our favourite. The wooden cube design comes with so many activities, it will keep the kids happy for hours. Suitable for ages 3+, it’s a fantastic all-rounder. These, below, are the best of the rest.

Best climbing frame 2020: ranked

The best climbing frame

1. Fatmoose FitFrame Fresh XXL Wooden Climbing Frame with Green Slide, Monkey Bars, Climbing Wall & Play-Accessories

Best climbing frame: this one has a balancing board, monkey bars, climbing ladders, net and slide.

Specifications
Best for: All kinds of cool activities
Material: Wood
Suitable for: 3+ years
Weight: 195kg
Reasons to buy
+Really versatile+Lots of different activities+Low maintenance
Reasons to avoid
-High price tag-Could take ages to put together-Quite big

A really cool piece of kit, this climbing frame is more of a playtower playground, as the name suggests, as it comes with so many extras to keep kids happy for hours.
Buy the Fatmoose FitFrame Fresh XXL

Activities available

This wooden design comes with so many fun activities – a slide, MagicSurf balancing board, monkey bars, climbing ladders and climbing net, all of which are quality and safety tested for peace of mind. Suitable for ages 3+, it will see children through to early teens so makes a great garden investment. 

Quality of build

The easy-care wooden frame is made from high-pressure impregnated solid timber and there are multiple configurations to choose from with assembly instructions included. There’s also a 10-year guarantee on all wooden parts. It’s recommended the frame be set in concrete with anchors.

Added Benefits

It comes with a Wave slide MegaGlider XXL, MagicSurf wobble plank, LineUp climbing rope, climbing wall, three climbing ladders, five GrabOn climbing stones, four MasterGrab safety handles, a large climbing net, gym bar as well as a mirrored mounting option and a water connection on the slide for those hot summer days.

Dunster House MonkeyFort Wilderness Climbing Frame

2. Dunster House MonkeyFort Woodland Climbing Frame With Wave Slide and Swing Set

Best climbing frame for multiple children: there’s more than enough room for multiple players on this versatile climbing frame with swing

Specifications
Best for: Lots of children at once
Material: Wood & steel
Suitable for: 3-14 years
Max. user weight: 50kg
Reasons to buy
+Multiple activities+Hideout den+Strengthens muscles
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive-Takes up a lot of room-Can take some time to build

Bring a sense of adventure to your own back garden with this all-in-one design that comes with a variety of fun accessories to keep kids entertained.
Buy the Dunster House MonkeyFort Woodland Climbing Frame 

Activities available

A fantastic option for two or more children or for when the kids have their friends over, this design comes with a tower platform and roof, extra thick wave slide, two swing seats, grooved grip monkey bars and a ladder/climbing wall with professional-grade climbing stones and space-saving sandpit.

Quality of build

It’s made from fully pressure-treated timber, which is low maintenance and hardwearing and it’s guaranteed for 10 years against rot and infestation. There’s no need to dismantle it every year for timber treating either, as with some wooden climbing frames. Safety ground anchors are included as are all the fixings you’ll need.

Added Benefits

The swing seats are made of moulded plastic, which makes them super-strong as well as comfy to sit on. Buyers say it’s really stable and you can buy different swings and ropes from elsewhere to provide further variety at a later stage, as they are easy enough to change over.

Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre

3. Plum Pyramid Wooden Play Centre Climbing Frame With Wave Slide

Best climbing frame for small gardens: a well-designed compact climber for daring kids

Specifications
Best for: multiple activities in a compact space
Material: wood
Suitable for: 3-12 years
Max. user weight: 50kg
Reasons to buy
+Lots of activities in a small design+Secret den+Inspires their imagination
Reasons to avoid
-Takes around five hours to assemble-Wood may need further treatment after three years-Difficult to assemble unless you have an electric screwdriver

We love this compact climbing frame, as it shows that you don’t need acres of outdoor space to keep the kids happy.
Buy the Plum Pyramid Wooden Play Centre Climbing Frame

Activities available

Kids will enjoy hours of fun on this play centre, which comes with a large double play deck with cargo net, metal rung, ladder, rock wall with coloured hand and foot grips and an 8ft wave slide. The camouflage fabric side panels also feature roll-down windows to create a secret hideaway, perfect for picnics and secret spy meetings. We think it will really fire up their imagination as well as helping to burn off all that excess energy.

Quality of build 

Made from premium FSC certified timber, this model comes with a five-year guarantee against wood rot and insect damage. It’s super-strong and sturdy and comes flat packed and pre-drilled with easy assembly instructions.

Added Benefits

The 8ft slide can convert into a water slide during hot summer days – just add a hose pipe and turn on. Invite the kids’ friends over, make a picnic and let them loose in the garden – happy days.

Smoby Fun Centre

4. Smoby Multi Activity Play Centre Climbing Frame With Wave Slide, Climbing Wall and Den

Best climbing frame for toddlers: a toddler-friendly climbing frame with playhouse and picnic table

Specifications
Best for: toddlers
Material: Plastic
Suitable for: 3+ years
Weight: 28kg
Reasons to buy
+ Playhouse area+Slide and basketball net+Climbing wall
Reasons to avoid
-Children will outgrow it pretty quickly-Expensive for what it is-Plastic is a bit flimsy

This plastic playhouse climbing frame is perfect for toddlers, as it offers plenty of activities to keep them entertained and is low to the ground.
Buy the Smoby Multi Activity Play Centre Climbing Frame 

Activities available

A multi-activity design centred around sports, this climbing frame features a playhouse area with door, picnic table, slide, basketball net, footie net and ladder/climbing wall. It’s a perfect purchase for little ones, as it’s built low to the ground and there are plenty of things for them to do, whether playing together or separately, even stopping for lunch at the picnic table.

Quality of build

It’s made from blow moulded plastic for extra stability as well as being UV treated so it won’t fade in the summer sun. Buyers say it’s well built and sturdy and is easy enough to put together.

Added benefits

It comes with one ball so your kids can start playing as soon as it’s assembled and ready to go.

Wickey SeaFlyer Climbing Tower

5. Wickey SeaFlyer Playhouse Climbing Frame With Blue Slide and Swing Set

Best climbing frame for imaginative play: let their imaginations run free with this nautical-themed climbing tower

Specifications
Best for: Pretending you’re all at sea
Material: Solid wood
Suitable for: 3+ years
Weight: 600kg
Reasons to buy
+Fun boat-themed design+Sandbox included+Slide, swing and rope ladder
Reasons to avoid
-No sandpit lid included-Takes a long time to assemble-You have to cut out the portholes yourself

Ahoy shipmates, this climbing frame will really inspire kids’ imaginations with its nautical design. Play at pirates, ship captains or pretend you’re stranded on a desert island with this fun frame.
Buy the Wickey SeaFlyer Swing Set With Blue Slide Playhouse Climbing Frame

Activities available

We love this seafaring frame, which comes with a 220cm slide, swing seat, rope ladder, three swing hooks, wooden swing connector, five climbing stones, four handgrips, steering wheel, telescope, weatherproof cover, sandpit and ship front – everything children need to play at pirates or sea captains. 

Quality of build

Made from pressure-treated solid wood, this design is quality and safety tested and you can make up multiple configurations from the component parts.

Added benefits

The swing beam is already set up for an additional swing should you want to buy an extra. Users say the quality is excellent, even if you do have to spend a whole day putting it all together. There are no pre-drilled holes so bear this in mind before you buy.

TP Toys Explorer Climbing Frame with Crazywavy Slide

6. TP Toys Explorer Metal Climbing Frame with Crazy Wavy Slide

Best climbing frame with slide: with its extendable frame, this model suits children as young as 18 months at low height

Specifications
Best for: something that can extend as your children grow
Material: steel
Suitable for: 3-12 years
Weight: 40kg
Reasons to buy
+Its adjustable height makes it ideal for growing children+Slide+Hideout den+Imaginative play
Reasons to avoid
-Quite pricey for what it is-Takes a bit of time to assemble-Basic design

A great option for when you want to invest in a climbing frame with a slide that will grow with your kids.
Buy the TP Toys Explorer Metal Climbing Frame with Crazy Wavy Slide

Activities available

Combining a climbing frame with a green den and slide, this design is fuss-free but still offers endless fun. The den comes with a round viewing window and two entry/exit points. Secret password required!

Quality of build

The galvanised steel frame is sturdy and hardwearing and low maintenance, too. The structure is freestanding and doesn’t need to be anchored into the ground. It comes with plastic cups for the feet.

Added benefits

There’s nothing particularly fancy about this climbing frame but it does the job and does it well. Perfect for smaller spaces as it’s easily movable, it can grow as your children grow with a lower height for 18 months+ then a higher frame for 3-12 years. Kids love the viewing platform too.

Little Tikes Jungle Climber

7. Little Tikes Jungle Climber With Wave Slide

Best climbing frame for indoors: when the weather turns, give kids some indoor play with this multi-level climber

Specifications
Best for: rainy days when you’re stuck indoors
Material: Plastic
Suitable for: 3–8 years
Weight: 33kg
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and easy to move+Perfect for tots+Colourful jungle design
Reasons to avoid
-High price tag-Can be hard to build-Colours can fade in the sun (in case you use  it outside occasionally)  

For days when the rain or wind makes its appearance, or if you want to keep an eye on tots and toddlers inside the home rather than in the garden, this compact plastic playcentre is the perfect choice of indoor climbing frame for your playroom!
Buy the Little Tikes Jungle Climber

Activities available

Ideal for younger kids, this jungle themed playzone is built low to the ground for peace of mind and safety and it comes with a secret entrance and a multi-level climber with two platforms and a wavy slide. There’s also a cargo net, rotating door and ground-level openings that connect to the play areas.

Quality of build

Reviewers commend it for its sturdiness, especially for a more lightweight plastic model, and how easy it was to put together, meaning your little explorers could be setting out in no time. 

Added benefits

We love this design, as it helps build younger children’s confidence, giving them the chance to climb, slide, tunnel and hide all in a small area. They will also love the colourful jungle theme.

Plum Large Climbing Dome

8. Plum Metal Dome Deimos Climbing Frame

Best climbing frame for developing climbing skills: a simple geodome design, this one is designed purely for climbing

Specifications
Best for: climbing and construction
Material: Steel
Suitable for: 3–10 years
Weight: 21kg
Reasons to buy
+Low maintenance+Lightweight+UV resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Instructions may be hard to follow-Quite large-No add-ons

Help kids develop and enhance their climbing, construction and motor skills with this simple geodome frame.
Buy the Plum Metal Dome Deimos Climbing Frame

Activities available

Simple, fuss-free yet highly effective, this Dome Climber will help children build on their cognitive and motor skills.

Quality of build

Made from hardwearing steel tubes, galvanised and powder-coated for maximum protection against all weathers, this dome looks more futuristic than traditional timber climbing frames and comes with ground anchors for stability. It’s also UV resistant so it retains its strength as well as maintaining colour.

Added benefits

There’s no staining or painting needed and it’s freestanding so no need to cement in. The rock climbing hand grips help develop strong muscles and co-ordination. Pop a tarpaulin over the top and you have an instant den, too.

Lil Monkey Dome Climbing Frame

(Image credit: Lil Monkey, Amazon)

9. Lil Monkey Dome Climbing Frame

Best climbing frame for young climbers: for younger kids, this dome chamber offers plenty of room to explore, hang off and swing

Specifications
Best for: Starting off their key motor and agility skills
Material: plastic
Suitable for: 3–6 years
Weight: 8.12 Kg
Reasons to buy
+UV protected+Water resistant+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-No accessories-Kids can outgrow it quickly-Pricey option

Let younger ones explore, climb, hang and swing on this Lil Monkey Dome Climber.
Buy the Lil Monkey Dome Climbing Frame

Activities available

The open design makes for a great climber for little ones and it’s low level too, for safety. As well as active play, kids can enjoy imaginative time too – just add a couple of sheets on top and you have an instant hidey hole. 

Quality of build

This one’s extremely low maintenance as it’s UV protected and water resistant as well as lightweight so it’s easy to move around the garden.

Added benefits

Download the free interactive Lil Monkey app and it will detect the location of your children and the dome to reveal a virtual world of fun. It’s easy to put together as well as being strong, sturdy and safe.

What to consider when buying the best climbing frame 

Suitability

Do check that the climbing frame age range is suitable for your little one(s). For smaller children looking to strike out in the outdoors, you may want to look to a confidence-building, low-lying plastic play centre instead. Our pick is the Smoby Fun Centre, which comes with a playhouse and picnic bench as well as activities. For yet more options, including sailing ships and geodesic domes, keep reading below.

Which material? 

We like wood/timber as it's long-lasting and easy to keep in good condition, plus, it will look good in your garden, and assuming it's made from FSC certified timber, it's a good buy environmentally when compared to plastic. 

A plastic climbing frame is still a good option, especially for little ones (ahem, wipeable). And steel is a solid choice – and a well-made metal climbing frame will be a good pick for those kids who (in the nicest possible way) are likely to bash the hell out of their new garden toy.

How to choose the best climbing frame 

We hope our reviews have helped you on your way to choosing the best climbing frame to suit your family as well as your outside space. Here’s what else to look for:

Suitability

Before you buy, check the age that the climbing frame is suitable for. Younger children are better off with a low-level plastic play centre that will help to build their confidence while older children will love added accessories such as slides, climbing walls, netball/basketball hoops, forts and play dens. As well as making sure it’s suitable for your child’s age, you also want to check the climbing frame is suitable for your garden in terms of size, so look at the dimensions and measure up the allocated spot outside to ensure it will fit comfortably on a lawned area.

Material

We like the look and feel of a timber climbing frame, so long as it’s FSC certified, and with some TLC it should keep its looks for years to come, even during the harsh weather. Wood is much more eco-friendly than plastic (although most wooden climbing frames have elements of plastic to them anyway, the slides) but it won’t be as easy to keep clean. Plastic designs can look a bit gaudy but they are a safe option for little ones, as there are no splinters to worry about. Steel is tough and hardwearing and perfect for teens and rough play.

Assembly

Most climbing frames will require self-assembly, so check the small print and make sure you have all the tools you may need in order to fit it all together. It’s also a good idea to have somewhere warm and dry to store the frame before you have the time to unwrap it and start building.

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