Brownsea Island - National Trust

Aerial photograph of the stunning Brownsea island castle



Please visit the website to find everything you need to know about how to get here, what's open and what to expect from your visit.

Brownsea Island is a wildlife sanctuary that’s easy to reach but feels like another world from the moment you step ashore. There is wildlife to spot and woodland to explore; outdoor activities to try and beaches to picnic on; birds to watch and trails to wander. Check out the different types of things you can do below:

Tours, talks and trails 


Make the most of your visit and join a free introductory talk or pick up a self-led trail at the Visitor Centre and unlock the secrets and history of Brownsea.  For the less-abled we also offer a free, bookable electric buggy island tour.

Outdoor Centre


Sample the scouting life at the Outdoor Centre; spend a night under the stars on our Eco Adventure Camping experience, or learn about intriguing tales of survival and adventure at the Trading Post.

Wild Brownsea


Wildlife spotters can follow waymarked routes through a wealth of different habitats from the sheltered lagoon and sweeping shorelines, to woodlands and heathland.  As you wander, keep an eye out for the famous red squirrel.

Villano café & Engine Gift Shop


Sample homemade food and drinks with garden views over Poole Harbour.  You can support Brownsea by picking up a souvenir at the Engine Gift Shop and check out the lovingly restored electric light engine.



We have plenty of free and ticketed seasonal events for everyone from wildlife lovers to adventures with family.  For the full events programme, prices and information please visit the website.

Places to stay


There are two holiday cottages on Brownsea island, both located on the quay with stunning harbour fronted views and metres away from the water’s edge.  For more information please visit website and look under ‘places to stay’.

Campsite and South Shore Lodge


Brownsea Island campsite is located where Lord Baden-Powell held the first experimental Scout camp in 1907. Spend a night under the starts on our Eco Adventure camping experience from April to September.  South Shore Lodge provides bunk bed accommodation, a common room, kitchen facilities and a shower and toilet block. From here your group can explore the whole island whilst making the most of the tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the lodge.

Accessability to Brownsea Island


Currently ferries depart from Poole Quay only and tickets must be booked in advance.

Please note access to the island is limited for disabled visitors please check with the boat company before travelling. The Brownsea Seahorse runs a pre-bookable service for wheelchair bound visitors running from Sandbanks to National Trust Brownsea Island on set days (subject to weather and tide).   Call 01202 707744 for dates and booking. 

There is also a landing fee to pay for non National Trust members on top of normal boat fare.


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Opening Times

Main Season Opening Times (12 Apr 2023 - 31 Oct 2023)
Monday - Sunday10:00 - 17:00*

* Boats leave from Poole Quay only and tickets must be booked in advance. Check the website for the most up to date information on opening times.

Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change
Via ferry from Poole Quay
BH15 1HJ
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Call direct on:

Tel01202 707744

Map & Directions

Public Transport Directions


Most visitors reach Brownsea Island via the foot ferries which run daily from Poole Quay and Sandbanks Jetty between March 14 and November 15.  These ferries are run by private companies and all visitors, including National Trust members, need to purchase ferry tickets from the ferry kiosks before they arrive.  

From Poole Quay

Both Greenslades Pleasure Boats and Brownsea Island Ferries run daily ferries from their respective stands on Poole Quay to Brownsea Island between 10am and 5pm, leaving on the hour and at half past the hour, returning at 20 minutes past and 10 minutes to each hour. Journey time to the island is 20 minutes, with the retrun trip generally taking in a harbour tour taking approximatey 45 minutes.  Tickets cost £12.50 for adults, £7 for children, under 5s are free of charge.

Ferry tickets can be purchased on the day from the ferry company kiosks on Poole Quay either by cash or card.  

From Sandbanks

Brownsea Island Ferries runs a daily service from the Sandbanks Jetty near the chain ferry to Brownsea Island between 10am and 5pm (with no 1 or 1.15pm service), leaving every half hour and returning at 15 mins past and 15 mins to each hour. Journey time of approximately 10 minutes. Tickets are £7.50 return for adults, £5 for children, and under 5s are free of charge. Please note that Brownsea Island Ferries only accept cash payment from Sandbanks Jetty. 


Please note that ferries may be operating a reduced service in poor weather - we'd always advise checking with them direct before your journey.

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