PGL (company)

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PGL Travel Ltd.
Traded as PGL
Industry Educational Travel, Holidays
Founded 1957
Founder Peter Gordon Lawrence
Headquarters United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom, Spain, France, Australia
Services Holiday camps and activities
Owner Holidaybreak PLC

PGL Travel Ltd is a company established in 1957 and is a provider of school activity courses and summer camps for children in the United Kingdom [1]. It is a part of the Holidaybreak group, owned by Cox & Kings [2].


PGL Travel Ltd. was established in 1957 as ‘PGL Voyages’ and is a provider of school activity courses and adventure holidays for children. It takes its name from the man who started the company - Peter Gordon Lawrence.

In the 1960s and early 1970s the ‘PGL Experience' was aimed at young adults and based on three main activities - canoeing, sailing and pony trekking, with accommodation in tents. PGL moved into the school and group travel market and during the 1980s expanded, purchasing more properties, ranging from a mansion house in Perthshire to a converted farm in Oxfordshire.

PGL opened a headquarters in the South of France and became one of the first UK organisers of canoeing holidays in the Ardèche Gorge.

In the early 90s the acquisition by the company of the former Quest Outdoor Adventure programme as well as the purchase of a number of centres operated by competitors, resulted in a considerable expansion in the schools’ adventure market in the UK and France. In 1993 the company also entered the school ski market with the acquisition of Ski Europe and Ski Wessex.

In 2000 PGL purchased Château de Grande Romaine, a 300-bed former hotel and grounds on the eastern outskirts of Paris. This was followed by the acquisition in 2005 of its competitor 3D Education and Adventure with its three centres on the South Coast of England as well as a contract with Pontins to provide children's activities on their sites. Pontins went into administration in 2010 [3] and was subsequently purchased by the Britannia Hotels Group in 2011 [4] and the contract between Pontins and PGL ceased to be.[citation needed]

The company was sold in 2007 to Holidaybreak Plc [5] and formed the first part of the Holidaybreak 'Education Division'. Significant property acquisitions in the UK in recent years have included Caythorpe Court, near Grantham in 2004 and in 2009, Liddington in Wiltshire.

In July 2011 Holidaybreak was purchased by Cox & Kings Limited, based in India and then in 2014 PGL opened an office in Melbourne Australia and acquired two centres in Victoria and one in Queensland, Campaspe Downs, Camp Rumbug and Kindilan.

In 2017 PGL souight to acquire two new centres - Newby Wiske Hall - formerly North Yorkshire Police Headquarters [6] and Bawdsey Manor on the Suffolk Heritage Coast [7] The purchase of Newby Wiske Hall is still 'subject to contract' due to PGL's applications for planning consent for change of use and listed building consent for the site being referred for Judicial Review in January 2018.

PGL's largest area of business continues to be school trips and educational travel. These range from activity and adventure trips to subject focussed trips (Science, ICT, Maths, Field Studies and French Language courses). During the UK school terms PGL mainly offers school and youth group holidays, as well as birthday parties and day trips. Outside of the UK school terms, PGL also offers family and child-only adventure holidays (summer camps).


PGL operates a number of centres in the UK, including:

  • Barton Hall (Devon)
  • Bawdsey Manor (Suffolk)
  • Beam House (Devon)
  • Boreatton Park (Shropshire)
  • Caythorpe Court (Lincolnshire)
  • Dalguise (Perthshire)
  • Hillcrest (Herefordshire)
  • Liddington (Wiltshire)
  • Little Canada (Isle of Wight)
  • Llwyn Filly (Powys)
  • Marchants Hill (Beacon Hill (Hindhead, Surrey)
  • Newby Wiske Hall (Northallerton)
  • Osmington Bay (Dorset)
  • Treygoyd House (Powys)
  • Windmill Hill (East Sussex)
  • Winmarleigh Hall (Lancashire)


During the UK school terms PGL mainly offers school and youth group holidays, as well as birthday parties and day trips. Outside of the UK school terms PGL also offers family and child-only summer camps.

The most popular holiday run is the "Multi-Activity" where guests get to sample a range of activities.


PGL has centres in France and Spain for School and other youth groups. These offer both activity and educational holidays.

During the winter they offer a school ski programme in resorts across France, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Andorra and the USA.

PGL pioneered Canoe camping holidays in the Ardèche River and staff developed the modern folklore tale of Harry Willis and the round river.

In recent years the company has opened three centres in Australia - two in Victoria and one in Queensland.[8]


  1. ^ Obituary of Peter Lawrence in the Independent
  2. ^ Although children often refer to us as 'Parents Get Lost', the company actually takes its name from the man who started it all in the 1950s - Peter Gordon Lawrence.
  3. ^ BBC News - Holiday camp firm Pontin's goes into administration
  4. ^ BBC News - Pontin's holiday firm bought by Britannia Hotel group
  5. ^ Guardian 2007 article
  6. ^ 16 March 2017 at 4:30pm (2017-03-16). "North Yorkshire Police announce sale of headquarters of 40 years near Northallerton | Calendar - ITV News". Retrieved 2018-04-27. 
  7. ^ Megan Goodwin. "Bawdsey Manor purchased by adventure holiday company PGL | Latest Suffolk and Essex News - East Anglian Daily Times". Retrieved 2018-04-27. 
  8. ^ P. R. Sanjai. "Cox and Kings unit makes first acquisition in Australia". Livemint. Retrieved 2018-04-27. 


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