Celebrating 40 years of Kingswood

As we celebrate our 40th year, find out how Kingswood first started all those decades ago.

It’s a very special year for Kingswood, we’ve reached a 40 year milestone. This equates to over five million life-changing adventures, delivered across 11 centres by thousands of inspiring activity leaders. We are enormously proud of every visitor and member of the Kingswood team that have made our 40 years truly memorable and worthwhile.

Our story

Where did Kingswood begin? Good question! We were founded by the Wiley family four decades ago. After spending the summer in the US and sending their children to summer camp, on their return to the UK the Wiley family found there was nothing similar to entertain their children during the school holidays, so they founded our sister company, Camp Beaumont holiday camps. Then after we were contacted by a teacher who was interested in camps during the school term, our original centre was founded in Staffordshire, in the village of Kingswood. Still running outdoor learning experiences to this day, Kingswood became our namesake. And the rest as they say, is history!

Kingswood’s best bits

Every day is a best bit, as we know how impactful adventure learning is. According to an advisor for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation...

For some children a week’s residential experience is worth more than a term of school. We know we want it for our own children – we need to make sure other people’s children experience it too.”

We have always strived to deliver programmes that improve young people’s development, and continuously bring to life the ‘Every Child Matters’ manifesto created by the Government back in December 2004. Facilitating learning and development for healthy and active minds has always been and continues to be our mission.

At Kingswood, children can get into the outdoors, learning from taking risks with inspiring and fun challenges; whilst believing in themselves and getting to know more about their team mates. More recently we are proud to have launched the Kingswood Hardship Fund which makes our trips even more accessible to every child with funding and support. Find out more, here.

Our adventure centres

So, back in 1983 we opened Kingswood Staffordshire, then skipping quite a few years, by 2010, we had expanded nationwide. Starting with our Dukeshouse Wood Centre in Northumberland, which was formerly operated by Gateshead Council; Peak Venture Centre in South Yorkshire, which was formerly operated by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council; Colomendy Centre in Wales, which was formerly operated by Liverpool City Council, and Grosvenor Hall in Kent which was formerly a police-training academy.

By 2011, one of our greatest moments was acquiring the UK’s former Earth Centre, and one of the millennium commissions, Dearne Valley, which we transformed into one of our flagship state-of-the-art centres in the South Yorkshire countryside. This transformation was incredibly well-received by the local community as Dearne Valley had been vacant since 2004, and is a great addition to local amenities for schools and groups.  

Each of our centres are unique and offer slightly different educational opportunities. We are proud of them all. Our locations range from Areas of Outstanding Natural beauty to Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

One of our favourite moments

Over the years, we’ve won many awards including Best Residential Experience for two-years running with the School Travel Awards. But we were especially proud to have taken part in the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Learning Away campaign for brilliant residentials, published in June 2015 by York Consulting. This piece of research is so powerful in evidencing the impact of residentials.

Learning Away has shown that a residential learning experience provides opportunities and benefits that cannot be achieved in any other educational context or setting.”

Read the full report, here.

Be part of our next 40 years!

Inspired for your next school or group adventure? Make an enquiry and find out more about Kingswood residential experiences, here.