Gold DofE residential is something you’ll need to do if you want to complete the highest level on the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Your residential will need to be completed alongside volunteering, skills and, of course, your Gold DofE expedition.

Other blogs you may find helpful:

Make sure you also out my video of 17 DofE hacks to help you pass and make the most of your award! Whether you’re working towards bronze, silver or gold, you’ll find the tips in this video helpful:

Before we start….

If you are new to this blog, I’m Bex Band – a full-time UK adventurer, author and founder of the women’s adventure community Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make getting outdoors and going on adventures as easy as possible. You can read more about me here.

If you have any questions, please use the comments box below.

If you’re interested in the outdoors and making a career for yourself as an adventurer, make sure you follow me in Facebook and Instagram. Or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel.

What counts as a residential?

Before committing to your Gold DofE residential, make sure you are familiar with the criteria. It must be:

  • 5 days and 4 nights away from home
  • with people you have never met before
  • working together on a shared activity

Your residential can be any activity or focus that you like….as long as it meets the above!

Gold DofE Residential ideas

Gold DofE residential ideas

The criteria for your Gold DofE residential is pretty broad, which can make it hard to decide what to do. But you should look at this as one of the most exciting aspects of the award!

You’ll get to spend some time either carrying out valuable work or doing something you’re interested in. And no doubt you’ll make some new friends in the process.

To get you started, here are some ideas that were shared by previous candidates and assessors! Whatever you decide to do, make sure you clear it with your DofE leader first.

#1 Join an official DofE Gold Residential

Each year, the Duke of Edinburgh Award organises residentials that candidates can sign up to join. You must be aged 16-25, and while these events will meet the criteria of your residential, completing DofE isn’t a requirement for joining.

Activities are varied and include conservation work or learning useful outdoor skills like scrambling or first aid.

There are a number of dates and locations throughout the year, with prices starting from £335. Check the website here for more details!

#2 Take part in a National Citizens Service placement

If you are aged 16 or 17, you could join a National Citizens Service placement. These are government-run residential courses run over the summer holidays. Their focus is on meeting new people and trying new things.

Because these camps are government-funded, you’ll only need to contribute £50 to join making it a very affordable option! Find out more on their website here.

#3 Do a multi-day adventure

There are lots of multi-day adventures you can join in the UK and overseas. For example:

  • Doing a big summit like Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc or Stok Kangri
  • Long-distance kayaking or canoe expedition
  • Cycle touring across different countries

For it to meet the criteria of being in a team with people you don’t know, you’ll need to arrange this through an adventure tour operator (like 360 Expeditions or Love Her Wild). It’s worth noting that the cost of this sort of activity would be higher than the other options on this list.

Also, remember that even though you might be under expedition conditions, the same days cannot also be used for the Expedition section of your award.

Gold DofE resedential kilimanjaro

#4 Volunteer on a conservation project

How about volunteering your time to help on a conservation project? This could include educating members of the public, helping to restore footpaths or planting trees.

There are a number of UK-based conservation charities that ask for volunteers. Take a look at RSPB and The National Trust who both offer multi-day volunteering opportunities. This article also lists some exciting opportunities from beach cleans to dolphin watching.

WWOF is also a great resource worth checking out. There are many placements where you sign up to help on a project, farm or in an organisation in exchange for food and board. Just make sure it’s a group project so it meets the Gold DofE residential criteria.

Waterway Recovery Group organise volunteer residentials that build and restore waterways as part of conservation efforts. Or head overseas with Pod Volunteer working in elephant conservation.

#5 Participate in a university tasker week

Lots of universities across the UK offer a ‘taster week’. During this week, you’ll stay at the university and participate in activities and lectures. The idea is it gives you a taster of what uni life is like – so a great opportunity if you are thinking of going.

Not all universities offer this so take a look at the websites of places you are interested in. To give you a start check out – University of Glasgow taster week, University of Essex taster week and University of London taster courses.

Note that freshers week doesn’t count towards your DofE Gold residential….just in case you were wondering!

#6 Volunteer at a summer camp

There are lots of summer camps that take place each year to support young people. Some also have a special focus on helping those who are disabled or disadvantaged. I used to volunteer at summer camps and loved it….not only are they rewarding but they are also a lot of fun.

Here are some charities and organisations that are looking for summer camp leaders:

#7 Improve your skills and challenge yourself in a sport or the outdoors

There are lots of courses available where you can learn a new sport – like kayaking, cricket or rock climbing – or improve skills in outdoor activities – like navigation or winter skills.

This will can also help you improve skills that will be useful on your expedition. While also helping you to keep fit.

Plas Y Brenin is one of the many outdoor centres that offer such courses.

Adventure Expeditions offers all sorts of exciting outdoor residential. From winter and mountain skills. Rock climbing courses and conservation-focused adventures! The courses cost between £400-500, but bursaries are available for young people who might not be able to afford to join.

Or challenge yourself on a multi-activity Cumulus residential.

#8 Learn something new

There are loads of residential courses available where you can learn a new activity or build on the knowledge you already have.

Here are just a few examples:

#9 Volunteer overseas

Volunteering overseas is a great way to see some of the world while also giving back to those less fortunate. Many of these placements will require you to give some form of a donation to contribute to the project you’ll be working on. You can usually fundraise for this if it’s for a good cause.

Finding a small charity and contacting them directly can often be the best way to arrange to volunteer abroad. This usually works out cheaper as well as you can cut out any middleman costs.

There are lots of different projects you could volunteer on, including assisting at animal shelters, teaching English in schools or helping with building projects. Make sure that the volunteering role you go for is genuinely beneficial to the community and that you aren’t working on something that isn’t sustainable or is taking jobs away from local people.

Generally, when it comes to volunteering, the longer you can give, the more useful you will be to those you are trying to help. That’s why projects like Raleigh International or ICS are worth checking out.

#10 Sign up for a sustainability, conservation or geography field course

The Field Studies Council have an incredible range of residential courses for young people – perfect for your Gold DofE residential! You could go on a Geology Camp, try your hand at being a Marine Biologist, become an expert at Sustainability and Climate Change or Brush up your skills in First Aid and Adventure.

Prices are very reasonable, starting at £336.

Feeling inspired for your Gold DofE residential?

Hopefully, this Duke of Edinburgh Gold DofE blog is helpful, and you now have lots of ideas for what you might do for your residential phase for Duke of Edinburgh Gold. Have you got any questions or other ideas you’d like to share? Then use the comment box below.

You can stay updated with my adventures and advice on Facebook and Instagram. Or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Good luck completing your Gold!!

4 thoughts on “32+ Ideas for your Gold DofE Residential

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *