Raymond Priestley Centre

Sitting on the western shore of Coniston Water in the Lake District, the University of Birmingham’s Raymond Priestley Centre is an idyllic location for Outdoor Pursuits and Field Studies. 


The centre is available to University of Birmingham staff, students, other universities, recreational clubs and corporate clients.

The team at the Raymond Priestley Centre aims to provide an outstanding learning experience tailored to the specific needs of your group.



The Raymond Priestley Centre sits on the western shore of Coniston Water in the Lake District. To the east is Grizedale Forest Park, to the north Coniston Village and Central Lakeland and directly south a beautiful coppiced woodland managed by the Lake District National Park.

The Lake and Peel Island provides a fantastic setting for sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, rafting and canoeing. Across the water stands Brantwood, the magnificent home of John Ruskin; the Victorian writer, art critic, architect and reformer.


Surrounding Lakeland fells offer superb opportunities for climbing, abseiling, gorge walking and hill walking. Towering above the Centre is the Old Man of Coniston – the highest of the Coniston fells (803m), with views of the Isle of Man, Yorkshire Dales and the rest of the Lake District fells.



History of the Raymond Priestley Centre

Sir Raymond Priestley, the distinguished Antarctic explorer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham from 1938-52 enjoyed attending camps with the Physical Education Department at Coniston, sharing his adventurous experiences with students and staff. Sir Raymond Priestley consented to the centre being named after him to honour his love for the outdoors.

As a geologist, he joined the British Antarctic expedition of 1907-9 led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, sailing on the Nimrod.

He was also recruited by Captain. R.F. Scott in 1910 for his Terra Nova expedition. 







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