ESOC Summer Camps 2020

Open to those in Yrs 4-8

Based at a secluded woodland campsite on the Isle of Purbeck near Dorset’s Jurassic coast, we are excited to return to Burnbake campsite for a Smuggler Adventure! During an action-packed week we will explore the area and try out a variety of fun and exciting coastal activities.

Camp 1 – Monday 6th July  – Friday 10th July

Camp 2 – Monday 13th July  – Friday 17th July


The camp is on a private site surrounded by woods and fields and within walking distance of Poole Harbour and the Studland coast. We have used it many times over the years as it is quiet and beautiful and has plenty of space for large groups to play games.

The Kids will be sleeping in bell tents, complete with sewn in groundsheets, coconut matting, comfortable air beds and even fairy lights! There will be 4-6 in each tent, and we will do our best to make sure friends can camp together. The instructors will camp close by in case they are needed during the night. There will be separate toilets for children and adults all within easy reach of the campsite.


Travel Arrangements

The group will travel form a central London or Cambridge location by coach on Monday morning departing at 9am, returning Friday afternoon by 4pm. The journey to Dorset will take approximately 3.5hrs with breaks so the kids will need a packed lunch for their arrival at camp, our leaders will provide snacks for the journey down. We will contact parents by text message if we experience any travel delays on the return leg.


Coasteering and Rock Climbing

The middle days of the trip will be spent doing activities in the beautiful Dorset surroundings. The group will be split into teams and rotate through the activities so everyone gets to try everything.

Led by experienced and qualified instructors, coasteering involves getting dressed in wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets and traversing the coast, clambering on the rocks, and jumping into the water to explore the caves.  The level of challenge can be adjusted to each individual so that no one is forced to do anything they are uncomfortable with. Having run this activity many times, the children always come back tired, invigorated and proud of what they have achieved.

Smuggler Treasure Hunt and Dorset Waterpark

Above the coastal town of Swanage is Durlston Country Park, a nature reserve perched on the cliffs complete with a castle, lighthouse, quarry and a network of footpaths which make it ideal for a treasure hunt! Having successful recovered the Smugglers’ stash, after lunch the group will move to the Dorset Waterpark and spend an exhausting afternoon jumping on and off inflatable obstacles.

Durlston Country Park Dorset Water Park

Classic Camp Activites

There’ll also be plenty of time for all the old favourite camp activities and a good amount of unstructured time for exploration, play and working on self-led projects. Activities will include:

  • Firelighting and campfire cooking
  • Archery, axe throwing, rifle shooting
  • Woodland crafts – clay modelling, willow weaving
  • Shelter building
  • As well as our ever popular nighttime wide games!


Food is very important when doing activities all day, so meals will be prepared from fresh ingredients on site by our staff. Dietary needs can be catered for and we often find our groups try foods they never would at home! As well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, we will provide snacks and drinks throughout the day, and cocoa and marshmallows around the campfire at night. As usual the kids will cook part of their evening meal over their own campfires.


At ESOC we do everything we can to ensure the children have an exciting experience but are well looked after throughout. A certain level of risk is inherent to all of these activities but we believe the enormous benefits far outweigh them. All the activities are run by a high ratio of appropriately qualified and experienced outdoor instructors, and we conduct full risk assessments for every aspect of the camp. All Exploration Society leaders are first aid trained and DBS checked, and a vehicle will always be available in case anyone needs further medical help.

Kit List

**Please make sure EVERYTHING is clearly labelled with your child’s name!**


  • Kitbag / Holdall / Suitcase (with wheels if this will help your child carry it)
  • Day rucksack to carry waterproofs/lunch/water etc
  • Sleeping bag (ESOC will provide a thermarest mat to sleep on)
  • Shoes to wear while on water activities (old trainers or water shoes – not crocs)
  • Shoes to wear for the walk, wide games, and evenings around camp (walking boots or trainers)
  • Socks & Underwear (bring spares!)
  • Pyjamas
  • Light, hard-wearing trousers/ warm leggings (not jeans – these rub when wet)
  • Warm fleece/Jumper
  • T-shirts/shirts
  • Sunglasses + Suncream (protecting against UVA and UVB, SPF 30 minimum)
  • Sun hat
  • Swimming kit
  • Full Waterproofs (over trousers AND over jacket)
  • General toiletries inc toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Towel
  • Eye care material (if needed)
  • Hayfever/allergy/car sickness medication (if needed)
  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Waterproof watch
  • Pocket money (no more than £10)
  • Packed lunch for Day 1
  • Water bottle (1 litre capacity, Sigg or Nalgene recommended. Refilled mineral water bottles are NOT suitable)


  • Reading book / card games
  • Teddy Bear
  • Pillow
  • Wellies

Please note that personal mobile phones/other electronic devices are not permitted on this expedition. All leaders will be carrying phones which can be used to contact you in case of an emergency, and vice versa.

Download printable version


How will we know what’s going on at the camp?

We will do our best to post an update to our blog every day so you can see what we’ve been up to. Should any issues arise involving your children, we will contact you directly. Occasionally, poor signal or similar problems prevent us from putting a blog post up so if you don’t hear from us, please don’t assume the worst.

Why don’t you allow personal mobile phones or iPods/MP3 players on the trip?

There are a few reasons for this rule: a) these items are often expensive, and very easily lost or damaged; b) in the rare case that there are any problems to deal with on the trip, the Leader team are in the best position to sort things out, as they’re aware of all the factors surrounding the situation; calls to home can often make things worse! And c) our trips are a brilliant chance to get away from screens, televisions, Facebook, Instagram filters, and instead spend time outdoors interacting with friends in a non-virtual way!

In the case of an emergency, you will be able to contact your child via the Instructors’ phones (details listed above), and vice versa. If someone is really homesick and we think a quick call will help them settle, then of course we’ll let them do that.

We’ll post updates and (where signal allows) pictures on our blog. We aim to do this on at least the first night and the third night. Once we get back we’ll post a full de-brief with lots of photographs.

This is my child’s first trip away from home, will they be alright?

Of course everyone reacts differently, but in the vast majority of cases there will be absolutely no problems – they’ll be too busy having fun! The Leaders on the trip all have lots of experience of being with children when they’re away from home. In fact, we often find that the parents are the ones who find it hardest, and the children have a brilliant time and don’t give it a second’s thought.

My child is a fussy eater, will they go hungry?

No one has ever starved on an ESOC Expedition. The children are involved in planning and cooking the meals every day, and this engagement really helps eliminate food fussiness. They’ll be encouraged to Try New Things, as stated in our Ethos, but won’t be force fed anything they find disgusting! They’ll pick up loads of new skills, and may even cook a banquet for you once they’re home. We’ve taken note of any dietary requirements you filled out on the registration form.

Are your Leaders DBS and First Aid trained?

Our Leaders are DBS checked and have First Aid training. Many of our Leaders also have more advanced medical wilderness training. In a medical emergency we will be able to use our vehicle to get to the nearest hospital A&E department. We pride ourselves on employing enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and engaging staff, who go above and beyond to make our trips memorable.

Does my child really need a waterproof jacket AND over trousers?

Yes, they really do. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on them, but they need a waterproof top layer to put on over their clothes: sogginess is a fast route to unhappiness.

Where can I go if I need to buy any clothing or equipment?

You can get a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, either online or in the shops by using the code AF-EXSOCM-4U. Let us know if you need any advice.

Do I really have to label everything with my child’s name?

Yes please! Unsurprisingly, more than one person buys a head torch from Cotswold Outdoor, or a black waterproof, or a pair of wellies, and these things are often left lying about… The kit pile we’re left with at the end of the trip is much easier to sort out if you’ve named everything.

How do I pay for a place?

Your deposit is paid online when you fill out a registration form, and your balance invoice will be sent out via email by 1st July. You can pay this by bank transfer, cheque, or PayPal (for which there’s a small charge). All the payment details are in the attachment to the invoice email and the online version. Your invoice MUST be paid in full before your child comes on the trip.


The cost for this trip is £495 pp. This includes:

  • Transport to Burnbake campsite
  • Activities and equipment
  • Accommodation
  • Staff instructor ratio of approx 1:5
  • Food from Monday afternoon to Friday lunchtime
  • All applicable taxes and card fees

£150 will be charged as a deposit when booking.  The remaining balance of £345 will be invoiced by May 2020.


Sign up to our monthly newsletter and stay up to date on all our adventures and expeditions


"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." 


Sir Ranulph Fiennes