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Brownsea Island - National Trust

NT Brownsea Island Credit Chris Lacey


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.

Things to see and do:

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.

Ferries depart from Poole Quay and Sandbanks Jetty.   All visitors including members need to purchase ferry tickets, available in advance or on the day at the kiosks on Poole Quay. 

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.




Guide Prices

Ferry fare payable when travelling to Brownsea Island. There is also a landing fee payable on the island for non National Trust members.
2019 admission

National Trust members:                                               FREE
Adult:                                                                             Gift Aid: £8.40        Standard: £7.50
Child:                                                                             Gift Aid: £4.20        Standard: £3.75
Family ( 2 adults and up to 3 children)                          Gift Aid: £21.00      Standard: £18.75
Family ( 1 adult and up to 3 children):                           Gift Aid: £12.60      Standard: £11.25

(Gift aid admission, includes 10% donation towards the upkeep of the island)

Opening Times

Main Season Opening Times (16 Mar 2019 - 3 Nov 2019)
Monday - Sunday10:00 - 17:00

* Winter opening - Boats leave hourly from Poole Quay and Sandbanks
Main season - Boats leave every half hour from Poole Quay and Sandbanks
See website for further information.

Via ferry from Poole Quay
BH15 1HJ
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Call direct on:

Tel01202 707744


  • Certificate of Excellence 2018

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

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Recent Reviews:

  • davidandsu
    Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Lovely day
    5 of 5 stars
    Friday, 8th March 2019
    Went with family and friends and yes, we were lucky with the weather as it was February but a beautiful sunny day. A short hop on the ferry from Sandbanks and then wandering around the island. There... Read full review
  • Carl M
    Trip Type:
    Hidden gem
    5 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 17th March 2019
    It's well worth a trip to the island. Make it a full day with a picnic just to walk in the fresh air and relax with a book. You can really make the most on days when the open air theatre has a a... Read full review
  • busibeemum
    Shepperton, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Fun walks and time to chill
    4 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 17th March 2019
    A must for anyone interested in scouting/guides. Lovely day wandering the island. Beautiful views and very picturesque. Beaches great for family to build sandcastles. We were very lucky to see... Read full review

Map & Directions

Public Transport Directions

How to get here:

Greenslades Pleasure Cruises will be running the ferry service for winter weekends from Poole Quay and the National Trust Enterprise will be running the service from Sandbanks Jetty.  The ferry fare is payable by all passengers on arrival, including National Trust members.  Please note that the National Trust island admission also applies for all visitors apart from NT members, who are welcome free of charge.  

Sandbanks Ferry crossing times:

First public boat departs Sandbanks at 10am, then every hour, on the hour.

Departing Brownsea at 10:45 then every hour at 45 mins past the hour to 14:45, then last boat at 4pm.

Sandbanks boat fares:

Boat fare payable on arrival on Brownsea (applies to all visitors, including National Trust members):

Adult: £7.00


Family ( 2 adults and up to 3 children):      £19.00

Family ( 1 adult and up to 3 children):        £12.00

Poole Quay Ferry crossing times:

First boat departs Poole Quay at 10:30, then every hour at 30 mins past the hour.

Departing Brownsea at 10:50, then every hour at 50 mins past the hour to 14:50, then last boat at 4pm.

Poole Quay ferry fares:

Boat fare payable on arrival on Brownsea (applies to all visitors, including National Trust members):

Adult: £11.50


Family ( 2 adults and up to 3 children):      £29.75

Family ( 1 adult and up to 3 children):        £18.25

National Trust island admission fee payable on arrival:

National Trust members:  FREE

Adult:  Gift Aid: £8.40   Standard: £7.50

Child: Gift Aid: £4.20   Standard: £3.75

Family ( 2 adults and up to 3 children)  Gift Aid: £21.00 Standard: £18.75

Family ( 1 adult and up to 3 children): Gift Aid: £12.60  Standard: £11.25

(Gift aid admission, includes 10% donation towards the upkeep of the island)

Step aboard The Enterprise from Sandbanks

The National Trust boat - the Enterprise, will be running the service from Sandbanks for the winter weekends.  She's a smaller vessel than the service running from Poole, but as it's a quick 10 minute voyage over from Sandbanks, it's a great way to start your adventure. The vessel is relatively open to the elements and there are no facilities on board. There is also stepped access onto the boat so visitors must be confident at stepping in and out of the vessel unaided. Less able visitors are encouraged to either come from Poole Quay or get in touch if you have any questions: 01202 707 744.

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