Swinley Forest Review

The Review

I visited Swinley Forest as part of my review of the Look Out Discovery Centre. Before we went into the centre we went to the playground for a while. By playground I actually mean three playgrounds.

The playgrounds

There is one for older children which is based around a large wooden fort. There is a lot of climbing up and over stuff. The fort is quite tall and there’s a large sign up which warns of 3 meter drops! It’s quite a compact playground because it’s all about the fort. It also means the kids are all on top of each other in a small space.

Review of Swinley Forest, Bracknell, Berkshire | Free Time with the Kids
Review of Swinley Forest, Bracknell, Berkshire | Free Time with the Kids

The middle playground is for toddlers up but this one is actually my favourite. There’s a large boat play frame which has scramble nets and a slide. There’s also a smaller boat, train, a couple of houses, a spider web and more. This is quite a large playground and whilst it’s fenced off it’s hard to see from one end to the other when there are lots of kids running around. It’s quite easy to get out of the gates btw – smallest child managed to escape surprisingly quickly.

Review of Swinley Forest, Bracknell, Berkshire | Free Time with the Kids
Review of Swinley Forest, Bracknell, Berkshire | Free Time with the Kids

The third playground is the one we ended up spending the most time in. It’s an inclusive playground and it’s actually the first time I’ve seen a properly inclusive playground like this. The play frame is a ramp and wide, the slide is wide (even my backside would go down it easily) and there’s a nice little gazebo to sit in. There are several adapted swings, there’s a roll-on roundabout and drum tubes.

Review of Swinley Forest, Bracknell, Berkshire | Free Time with the Kids

I really liked these playgrounds. There’s something for everyone and there’s lots of seating right next to it. It also happens to be close to the cafe and toilets which is also helpful.

Go Ape

There are several Go Ape activities at Swinley Forest; Treetop challenge, Treetop adventure and Segway. Have a look at this video of the route! I’ve not done segway yet but it looks like an awesome way to get around the forest!! Click the link to book your own adventure (affiliate link).

Bike, walking and nature trails

There are lots of different ways to explore Swinley Forest. The forest has over 2,600 acres to explore. There are loads of bike trails, hiking trails, nature trails and an all ability trail. You can buy maps from the reception of the Look Out Discovery Centre.

Harry Potter films

A review of Swinley Forest wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that some scenes of the Harry Potter movies were filmed here. You might recognise the woods from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Harry, Ron and Hermione were hiding out in their impossibly big tent. I think where the sword of Griffyndor appears is here as well but don’t quote me on that.

Our Swinley Forest REview

4 / 5 – it’s a nice woodland with an amazing playground and lots of other activities to do.

Parking / How to get there

Parking – £4 per day. Plenty on-site

Address – Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, RG12 7QW


On-site including baby change


Plenty of places for a picnic, including near the playgrounds. Cafe on site.

Review of Swinley Forest, Bracknell, Berkshire | Free Time with the Kids

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Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch contact@freetimewiththekids.com or get in touch via Facebook

I sometimes use affiliate links if there is something that I genuinely think will be of interest and that I think is relevant to the post. I will always indiciate if a link is an affiliate link. I do earn a small commission for these, and that goes towards the running costs of the site. Any discounts mentioned may only be available for a short time so please double check prices before booking.


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