Summer Fun Guaranteed! Unique Residential Summer Camps in the UK

Emily Cooper

January 23, 2021

Summer Camps

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Beautiful lakeside settings and s’mores round the bonfire – what could be better! Whether your child is most interested in sport, tech, drama or ecology, we’ve found unique residential summer camps around the UK that your kids will love. Get set for a real adventure!

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Make the fun last even longer! From pony trekking to coding and orienteering to movie-making, these residential summer camps provide an interactive and immersive experience for your child.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Tech Lovers

Fire Tech, Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire

Please note – this camp is not going ahead in 2021 but they are hoping to be back in 2022. Fire Tech offer both online and in-person day/weekly camps in London with costs from £495. The UK’s number one ranked independent boarding school, Wycombe Abbey, hosts residential summer camps for 12-17 year olds to explore the inner workings of computer science and digital technology.

With up to 40 hours of tuition, tech-loving kids at Fire Tech can get under the hood with courses on Python and Java coding, Robotics, Digital Photography, Virtual Reality, Video Game Design and more.

The emphasis at Fire Tech’s courses is getting kids to go from “tech consumers to tech creators”. Students are taught the latest cutting-edge technologies by tech-savvy tutors from the UK’s top universities, and they can learn and socialise in an environment completely engineered with young people – from both the UK and around the world.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Eco Warriors

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Camp Kernow, Park Farm, Truro

It doesn’t get more back-to-nature than this off-grid environmental adventures camp. With no mains electricity or water, Camp Kernow harnesses solar and biomass energy to give kids aged 8-14 years old a real taste of eco-living.

The camp enables children to understand and experience first-hand a new way of living in balance with nature, its ecological systems and natural resources. Sleeping in bell tents, yurts and teepees, kids learn how to track animals and forage for food on the 280 acres of Cornish woodland and streams.

Activities are remarkably diverse, from technical rope climbing to kayaking, orienteering, bat walks, paddle boarding and archery. There’s even a chance to try out traditional crafts like green woodworking and forging with a local blacksmith.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Action Fans

PGL, various locations

PGL – or ‘Parents Get Lost’, as it’s affectionately known by participants – is the big daddy of summer camps for 7-17 year olds. Most popular is the classic seven-day multi-activity camp, an exhausting mix of dance, photography, abseiling and quad biking.

Youngsters will love the freedom to indulge in some serious action, while sharing laughs with loads of new friends and new found sense of confidence. There are 12 UK centres, offering three-, four- and seven-night camps, including a first-timer week where all the campers will be newbies.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Wilderness Fans

residential summer camps in the UK

Camp Wilderness, various locations

Unleash your child’s inner Bear Grylls! Where better to spend the summer holidays than outside? It’s all part of the fun on these two-, three- or five-day Camp Wilderness adventures based in safari-style tented camps.

Immersed in the natural world, children aged 8-14 years old will be able to unplug from technology and learn how to live in the wild. With activities including lighting campfires, building and sleeping in shelters, swimming in lakes, archery, wilderness first aid and outdoor cookery, these outdoor adventure camps will not only keep your children entertained, but also teach them lifelong skills.

Evenings are spent playing games, tucking into Bushtucker BBQs and wood-fired pizzas, and roasting marshmallows over the campfire – yum!

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Residential Summer Camps for…Thrill Seekers

XUK, Abberley Hall School, Worcester

Abberley Hall is a fantastic venue for a camp each summer. With 90 acres of amazing grounds, a heated indoor swimming pool, modern indoor sports hall, Forest School area, outdoor courts for a variety of games, and warm and inviting dormitories, it is a setting where firm friendships are made.

XUK offers a wide variety of activities for 6-17 year olds which vary each week, keeping it fresh for those who are staying for more than one week. These activities include scuba diving and quad biking, with options for theme park trips, West End shows, driving, performing arts, water/forest adventure, and photography/film.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Classic Campers

Camp Cooper, Ardvreck School, Glasgow

Having spent 10 years running a summer camp in Massachusetts, the owners of Camp Cooper have transported all the traditional US elements to Scotland: singing in the dining hall, campfires with songs, colour war competitions, lots of dressing up and a big focus on building friendships and life skills.

Most kids stay for two weeks and they are divided into ‘cabin groups’ of 8-10 children of the same age and same gender friendship groups.

There are 14 elective activities for the 7-17 year old camp-goers, such as football, outdoor adventure, art, music, mountain biking, tennis, film-making, journalism, dance and drama, as well as lots of evening special events (for example, dressing up in black for a late night Mission Impossible treasure hunt).

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Residential Summer Camps for…Beach Lovers

Wickedly Wonderful, West Wittering

The Wickedly Wonderful tent-based camps near the beach are the stuff of childhood dreams: pony riding, crabbing, boogie boarding, sandcastle building, sailing and more.

All meals take place outdoors and – aside from toasted marshmallows and choc-covered bananas round the beach bonfire – sweets are banned, as are gadgets and fizzy drinks.

Divided into small groups, according to age and friends, each week holds 30-50 campers aged 6-14 years old. The children have enormous amounts of fun while you have peace of mind that your children are enjoying the great outdoors, making new friends, learning new skills, growing in confidence and being encouraged to take on new challenges in a safe, supervised environment.

In addition to the camps in Chichester Wickedly Wonderful are also running camps in Devon for 2021.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Wild Adventurers

The Outward Bound Trust, various locations

The locations for these Outward Bound Trust adventure holidays will leave you green with envy! Some of the most gorgeous scenery in Britain serves as the backdrop to the wild outdoor adventures this camp offers.

With an opportunity to take adventure seriously, 10-19 year olds get to experience a world of rock climbing, hiking, camping and water sports. A perfect combination of adventure and challenge, every day culminates in an overnight wilderness expedition, where they’ll camp deep amongst the mountains.

As well as the normal activity weeks you’d expect from a summer camp, they also offer some intense 19-day treks (for 15-19 year olds), through some of the most stunning natural scenery in the UK.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Puzzle Solvers

Mill on the Brue, Trendle Farm Tower Hill, Bruton

If your children are looking for an exciting, challenging and most of all fun place to be for the summer, then Mill on the Brue have the perfect solution! These week-long summer adventure camps for children have been running since 1982.

Here, the focus is on team-building and problem-solving, with 8-15 year olds encouraged to cooperate with each other to solve problems like raft building or logic puzzles.

Activities are designed to be fun, encourage team work and improve confidence, giving everyone the opportunity to have an enormous amount of fun, learn new skills and make great friends. You can choose from a minimum stay of 1 week to 3 or 4 week stays.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Drama Lovers

Cambridge School for Visual and Performing Arts, Cambridge

If you are looking for something for the older teen, then The Cambridge School for Visual and Performing Arts (CSVPA) is famous worldwide for its courses in every different medium of the arts.

If your 15-18 year old is less outdoorsy, they offer expert educational summer camps in everything from art, film-making and fashion to drama, directing and music. The summer drama course is particularly popular. You can choose from musical or physical theatre courses, depending on your child’s preferred artistic calling.

The courses include 35+ hours of contact time with professional artists, as well as optional evening excursions and activities. For those interested in different artistic fields, there are also summer camps on offer in the areas of fashion, film-making, art and design.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Pony Trekkers

Wellington Riding School, Heckfield

Is your child mad about horses? Potty about ponies? Well then Wellington Riding School would be the perfect summer escape. Each 7-16 year old is given their own horse to care for and ride over the five day summer courses, which include flatwork, jumping, ride outs, grooming and more.

In the evening, activities include trips to the cinema, swimming, karaoke and board games. At the end of the week there is a competition for all the children involved in a host of different areas, including: tack & turnout, a musical ride or dressage, show-jumping, cross country (weather dependent) or gymkhana games.

While the school does have horses to suit all shapes and sizes, it is important to note that children need to have reached a minimum ability level before they can join one of the courses.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Foodies

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First Hand Experiences, Canterbury

The sleep-away First Hand Experiences camps take place at Gather Green, in a family-run farm situated just outside the historic city of Canterbury. The camp is on a 6-acre meadow surrounded by organic farmland and ancient woodland.

Connecting with nature by growing, cooking and sharing food is at the heart of this new holistic camp for 8-14 year olds. Kids will tend, water, pick and cook organic crops from the forest garden, and there’s lots of new experiences: from roasting sweet potatoes on the campfire and making their own pesto to foraging in the woodland and wild swimming.

Inspired by outdoor adventures, professional artists teach the children how to knit, weave, mould, sculpt, carve, paint and build using natural materials. The camp ends with a musical performance inspired by their adventures across the week. Accommodation is in bell tents for a three, seven night or two week stay and they also offer day camp options too.

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Residential Summer Camps for…Drama Fans

Young Film Academy, Culford School, Bury St Edmunds

For young film fans aged 12-17, the Young Film Academy’s all-inclusive summer camp is a dream come true: a chance to eat, sleep and breathe movies!

YFA specialise in film-making and production for the younger generation. The programme operates out of Culford School, and campers will try their hands at everything from directing to editing, and everything in between.

Participants will divide into two crews, film-making or acting. Each crew will develop specialised skills in their own disciplines though practical exercises, workshops and masterclasses with film industry professionals. Each week of YFA Summer Camp culminates in a Premiere Screening of all the completed movies for friends and family in the onsite cinema – and we’re guessing some blooper-reels too!

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Summer Fun Guaranteed! Unique Residential Summer Camps in the UK - Mykidstime

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Published On: January 23rd, 2021 / Categories: Travel / Last Updated: February 25th, 2023 / Tags: , /

About the Author: Emily Cooper

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Emily is a multi-tasking mum of two who swaps a morning aimlessly yelling words like "shoes!" and "teeth!", for the soothing sounds of the keyboard. Relishing her warm cup of tea and unaccompanied toilet trips, she has a passion strong business content, as well lifestyle and parenting blog posts.

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