Residential Centre in Swanage

The Cumulus Outdoors Residential Centre is situated in the beautiful seaside town of Swanage, just 10 minutes’ walk from the beach, pier and town centre. Our enviable location affords visitors far-reaching views of Swanage Bay and easy access to beauty spots along the world-renowned Jurassic Coast.

We welcome school and youth groups seeking a fun and educational residential school trip in Dorset. Our purpose-built activity centre boasts comfortable dormitory style accommodation alongside a variety of onsite facilities, adventurous off-site activities and tasty food.

Our experienced team will work with you to create a bespoke itinerary, that meets the requirements of your primary or secondary school. We offer a fantastic selection of outdoor adventure activities as well as field studies trips.

We can accommodate up to 139 students and teaching staff across our dormitory and bungalow accommodation. Our accommodation is maintained to a high standard and set in seven acres of private grounds.

Cumulus Outdoors Residential Centre Swanage sign

School trips by the coast


  • Accommodation for a total of 139 across four buildings
  • Designated 1 bed en suite staff bedrooms across the 3 dormitories for teachers to relax after a busy day
  • Two dormitories offer 4 bedded student rooms with en suite bathroom facilities
  • 1 traditional larger bed dormitory sleeping accommodation

Self-catering bungalow

  • Self-catering bungalow that can sleep 12 students and 2 staff

Activity Centre in Swanage

cumulus map 2023

On-site facilities

Our spacious grounds offer space for a variety of activities, including a games field, a target range, team game facilities (including Aeroball) and a bushcraft area. The top and lower fields provide ample space for outdoor sports and are the perfect setting for a range of team building activities.

Inside there is ample room to relax and classroom facilities are also available should you wish to include educational elements and field studies in your residential school trip. There is free Wi-fi site wide.



As always food is an intrinsically important part of any residential with Cumulus Outdoors and continually receives excellent feedback, a 5-Star Health and Hygiene rating both at our Residential Centre and at our Tented Villages gives Schools and Parents confidence when booking. More catering information can be found here.


24/7 care

The Cumulus Outdoors team is highly qualified and experienced at dealing with all eventualities that could arise. Our level of support revolves around building relationships and working safely to achieve a common goal, while enjoying the great outdoors.

Each group has its own dedicated programme coordinator who guides you throughout your stay as well as a 24/7 designated staff member for overnight emergencies and first aid.

  • summer in Dorset group
  • Cumulus Outdoors Residential Centre Swanage
  • bunk beds cumulus residential centre dormitory
  • cumulus dormitory swanage
  • bunk beds cumulus dormitory
  • following the instructor through camp

Get in touch

Start planning your bespoke school residential trip itinerary today!

Contact us on 01929 422480
summer in dorset haf programme
Cumulus Residentiail Centre office

Residential Centre FAQs

What facilities do you have on site?

The Cumulus Outdoors Residential Centre has a range of outdoor facilities including a Bushcraft area, adventure trail, playing fields and a sanded team sports area. There is also ample room inside for recreational activities and facilities for field studies.

For many of the outdoor adventure activities we move off site to locations along Dorset’s Jurassic Coastline. These activities include, coasteering, kayaking and deep-sea fishing.

Will we be able to contact our child?

Our emergency contact number is manned 24/7 giving you a direct link to your child day and night in case of emergency.

What kit do they need to bring?

We supply all the equipment you’ll be using, you just need to bring clothes, medication and toiletries. Your school or youth group will supply you with a detailed kit list, which will tell you everything you need to bring.

What is the instructor to participant ratio?

Each activity has different ratios. When staying at our residential site, there will be on-site staff looking after you at all times.

What are your safeguarding policies?

All of our safeguarding policies are available upon request. All of our instructors and on-site staff are safeguarding trained and DBS cleared.

What toilet and shower facilities do you have?

Half of our dormitories have on-suite showers and toilets, with the other half having toilet and shower blocks. These are regularly cleaned and the showers are warm!

What happens in an emergency?

All Cumulus Outdoors instructors are first aid qualified and both centre staff and instructors will be on hand to deal with any emergency. Should we need to contact you, we have your contact details.

What if my child doesn’t want to do the activity?

During our activities we challenge the students to participate voluntarily, to push their comfort zone and test themselves, but no child will be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. We operate a ‘challenge by choice ethos’, which allows participants to choose the level of activity they are comfortable with.

What about dietary, medical and behavioural needs?

We adapt our activities for all participants. We can also cater for all dietary and religious requirements.

What happens if there is bad weather?

We rotate activities to best suit the weather. If the wind or swell is too strong for water sports, these will be switched for something land-based, such as rock climbing. We will always do our best to deliver the activities as per the agreed programme.

What about pocket money?

There is time spent in Swanage midway through the week, so some pocket money for souvenirs would be welcomed.

Is the Residential Centre secure?

Yes. This is a private site for the sole use of Cumulus Outdoor clients. All adults are DBS checked and the gates are locked at night.

Are you insured?

Yes, we are insured and we have £10 million public liability insurance. We are accredited by: Institute of Out­door Learning, National Coasteering Charter, Adventure Activities Licensing Service, DofE Approved Activity Provider and Learning Outside the Classroom.

Where can I find your certificates?

If you would like to see all our information, including risk assessments, policies, emergency procedures, insurance and affiliation certification, please ask. You will be sent a link to our website with a password to access and download as much as you need.

A Typical Day at Cumulus Outdoors

Bespoke residential school trip in Dorset

At Cumulus Outdoors we pride ourselves in crafting bespoke itineraries that meet the needs of each individual school or youth group that visits our Residential Centre. We will work with you to design a programme of activities that suits your budget, planned duration and desired learning outcomes.

Our sample itinerary gives you an insight into a typical day at the Cumulus Outdoors Residential Centre. As you’ll see, it also allows plenty of time for your chosen adventure activities as well as time to relax and socialise.

Sample Itinerary

7.00am: Rise and shine!
7.30am: Breakfast
9.00am: Transport if necessary
9.30am: Morning activity begins
12.30pm: Lunch
1.30pm: Afternoon activity begins
4.30pm: Dormitory time
6.00pm: Evening Meal
7.00pm: Evening activities begin
9.00pm: Night time routine

What’s included?

We offer various durations for trips, and prices are inclusive of accommodation, activities, transport and food (full board). Our tasty and nutritious menu is cooked on-site by our in-house chef with food options consisting of breakfast (a hot option with fruit and cereal), a packed lunch and a two-course evening meal. Evening activities are available at no additional cost. Staff teachers are included free of charge based on a ratio of one staff member to every 10 participants.

Customise your trip

Generally, our trips are designed to include two daytime activities (AM and PM) and one evening activity. All of our activity prices are inclusive of transport to and from the venue (please let us know if you have your own transport). However, our flexible ‘customise your package’ option allows you to select as many (or as few) activities as you so require.

Location & Travel

Swanage is approximately 3 hours drive from London and the midlands, making us the ideal choice for primary and secondary school residential trips on the south west coast. We have our own fleet of minibuses to transport students to and from activities and we can arrange transport from your school to the centre if required.

One of the things that sets us apart from other providers, is our ability to travel off site. Many of our outdoor adventure activities take place on the famed Jurassic Coast, so you’ll get to experience the best of Dorset during your trip.

History of the Site

The Townsend Residential Centre was established in 1929 to offer underprivileged children from London’s East End the opportunity to experience fun and fresh air on the Dorset coast. Through its long history it developed into a leading outdoor educational facility. Townsend was run by Wide Horizons and has had a long-standing tradition of excellence in teaching environmental, personal and social education achieved through learning outdoors.

Cumulus Outdoors took over the centre in October 2019 with the objective of expanding the facility to offer high quality accommodation in combination with the adventure activity programmes for which Cumulus Outdoors have built an enviable reputation.

Get in touch

Start planning your bespoke school residential trip itinerary today!

Contact us on 01929 422480