Residential section requirements

What counts as a residential activity?

For your Residential section you need to undertake a shared activity or specific course with people you don’t know, in a residential setting away from home and in an unfamiliar environment. Evenings are often as much a part of the experience as daytime activities.

This section offers a high degree of flexibility but it must be done with an organised group, registered charity or Approved Activity Provider. You must join it individually and not with an existing group of friends or as part of a school or youth group trip. You will be staying away – anything from an activity centre or camp to a boat or barge – but you cannot stay with friends or relatives.

There are no age restrictions on who you can do your residential activity with, for example, a conservation project has volunteers of all ages on it – you may even be the only person under 25 or doing your DofE!

Your activity can be anything that provides you with an opportunity for broadening your interests and experiences. It is ideal for trying something new or it can be related to existing interests or activities followed in other sections of your DofE programme.

Use our handy Residential_Checklist to make sure your chosen activity will count towards your DofE.

Check out our ideas for each category to inspire you. Remember, this is not a set list – you can choose to attend any residential activity as long as it meets the DofE’s requirements and it’s approved by your Leader and Licensed Organisation.

Download our handy guide to choosing residentials here: Residential Resource guide

The definitive rules can be found in The Handbook for DofE Leaders, available in the DofE Essentials Shop.

Looking for a residential? Check out our current list of available opportunities.


How long should I do my residential for?

The residential activity should normally take place over at least five consecutive days with a minimum of four nights spent away. In exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of your Licensed Organisation (you must get permission in advance), this commitment can be spread over two weekend. However, it must involve at least four nights away within a 12 month period, during which you do the same activity. In eDofE you will be asked to give three dates – the section start date (the date you start your planning and preparation) as well as the start and end dates of the actual residential activity.


What to do in four simple steps:

  • Preparation– You need to research available residential activities and agree it with your Leader.This should be something you’re interested in doing, finding out where it’s taking place, who you’ll do it with and any costs involved. You must find a suitable Assessor (likely to be the person running the activity or another adult involved with it) and set yourself goals so that you can show how you progressed at the end.You must also let the activity provider know you want your participation to count for your DofE programme. Use the electronic programme planner ineDofE or download a paper programme planner from this page to help you.
  • Training– You will need to do any training or preparation necessary so you can take part in your residential.
  • Activity– The most important and enjoyable bit – actually doing it! You join your residential and take part in the activities for a minimum of five days and four nights.
  • Assessment – To complete your DofE programme you must meet your Assessor at the end of your Resiential to discuss, review and record the quality of your experience and what you’ve achieved. They can submit their report online at

Residential categories

Find out more about what you can do under the four Residential section category headings:

Service to others

Environment and conservation


Activity based

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