Every day on Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island quay as seen from the air

A wildlife haven in the middle of a busy coastal town and port, Brownsea Island is often referred to as a wild and magical place.

Brownsea Island quay buildings
Holiday cottages on the quay

Many are unsure of what to expect when coming to Brownsea Island.  As the boat approaches, the sight of a grand castle and historical quayside buildings first catch the eye.  The castle is leased to the John Lewis Parntership who offer it out to their staff as a luxury hotel and the quayside buildings are where many of Brownsea's residents live.

For visitors coming to the island for the day, the experience will be an outdoors one, where you can while away a complete day roaming the various different habitats that this unique island offers.  Protected both nationally and internationally, Brownsea boasts a wealth of different wildlife that either permanantly or at least temporarily makes it their home. 

Sika Deer grazing

For the wildlife enthusiasts there will be better times to visit Brownsea than others.  For instance, to almost guarantee a sighting of one of our rare red squirrels, your chances improve greatly if you can visit late September or in October. However, it is possible to catch a glimpse of one all year round.  For those wishing to see great bird spectacles on the lagoon, then in early spring when the island first opens you may see the last of our large flocks of overwintering birds such as avocets, godwits and spoonbills and from mid-spring the terns arrive to breed until mid summer.

For a nice relaxing cup of tea, look no further than our harbour fronted cafe where you can enjoy hot and cold drinks, lunches and afternoon treats whilst you watch all the boats float past. For families, you can head up to the visitor centre to pick up one of our many trails that will lead you on an adventure around the island.  If you are more interested in the history, then the visitor centre can tell you some intriguing tales of the island. 

Views across the harbour from Brownsea Island cafe garden

For those interested in the history of scouting, you can visit the Outdoor Centre where you will find the site of the very first scout camp led by Lord Baden Powell in 1907. 

We offer short introductory walks every day (volunteer led) which will take you on a short walk pointing out places and things of interest.  For the less mobile visitor, a bookable electric buggy service, led by our volunteers, leaves on the hour between 11am and 3pm.

Visitors using the electric buggy service Brownsea Island

The island is big enough to find your own space  to break away from the hectic world on the mainland and to soak up the sights and sounds of a very special place.

At the end of your day, don't forget to stop off at our gift shop, located next to the quay where you will catch your boat home.

For everyone, the experience will be different, but whether its adventure, wildlife, a day at the beach,  good food, scouting or just getting away from it, you will find it here on Brownsea.