PGL through the years
From our small beginnings as a canoeing specialist in the Wye Valley in 1957 (on the border between England and Wales), PGL expanded into Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s the ‘PGL Experience' was based on three main activities - canoeing, sailing and pony trekking, with accommodation in tents. PGL's initial market was young adults, but during these early years the company established a key position in the organised school group market.
Gradual expansion throughout the 1980s confirmed PGL's position at the forefront of the adventure market. Properties ranging in character and location from a mansion house in Perthshire to a converted farm in Oxfordshire joined the list of permanent centres. PGL was also one of the first UK organisers of canoeing holidays in the Ardèche Gorge in the South of France and developed a French headquarters there.
Diversification into other markets has been a major part of the company's growth over the years, with development via educational travel for schools, IT and field study courses. The acquisition of the former Quest Outdoor Adventure programme, and purchasing a number of centres operated by competitors, resulted in a considerable expansion in the schools adventure market in the UK and France in the early nineties, and 1993 saw PGL become a major force in schools skiing through further acquisitions.
Development reached a new peak in the Millennium when PGL bought the Château de Grande Romaine, a 300 bed former hotel with extensive grounds on the eastern outskirts of Paris. This was followed by PGL’s biggest acquisition ever with the purchase of its major competitor 3D Education and Adventure, which added three large centres on the South Coast of England. Further significant additions in the UK have included Caythorpe Court, another large centre, near Grantham, Liddington in Wiltshire and, most recently, Bawdsey Manor on the Suffolk coast.
Further expansion has seen the acquisition of three adventure centres in Australia; two in Victoria and one in Queensland, offering adventure courses for the domestic market.
In 2007, PGL joined the Education Division of Holidaybreak, which provides outdoor education courses, activity holidays, cultural tours and ski trips for over 250,000 children each year. Holidaybreak was owned by Cox & Kings Limited, one of the oldest and most recognised travel operators in the world, based in India.