Spend a day on Brownsea Island, the largest of eight islands in Poole Harbour. Wildlife haven with a range of habitats to explore.
Brownsea Island is the largest of eight islands in Poole Harbour. It is owned and managed by the National Trust and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. To get to Brownsea Island you must take a scenic ferry ride from Sandbanks Peninsula or Poole Quay. Boats leave on a regular basis and can be booked on the day from one of the Kiosks.
Entry to the island is free to National Trust members, but non members must pay an entrance fee. During a typical year, there is no need to pre-book, however from April – October 2021 slots must be booked in advance due to Covid regulations.
Haven for wildlife
Brownsea Island is home to a vast array of wildlife and many different habitats. As you explore the grounds you’ll walk through woodland and heathland as well as wide open areas of grass. If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of an elusive red squirrel, peacocks or maybe even a deer.
Birdwatchers flock to Brownsea to photograph the impressive birdlife. Many species can be spotted throughout the year, including kingfishers, terns and oystercatchers. We think the lagoon is one of the best spots to head with your binoculars, but there are numerous hides dotted across the island.
Family friendly attraction
There is plenty to keep the whole family entertained during a day trip to Brownsea Island. Children will love the natural play area and acres of wide open space to explore. They can build dens in the forest or follow one of the nature trails packed with fun challenges.
Brownsea Island was the birth place of the Scouting and Guiding movement and the Baden Powell Outdoor Centre remains to this day. Here younger members of the family are encourage to try their hand at a variety of adventurous activities, including archery, orienteering, low ropes and mini golf.
Food and drink
There is a National Trust cafe selling a range of snacks to refuel after a fun-filled day. There is also a small gift shop where you can stock up on local produce and trinkets to commemorate your visit. One of our favourite things to do is a pack a picnic and sit on the lawn by the chapel or looking out over Poole Harbour. From here you can take in the far reaching views towards Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Purbeck.