How to get to Brownsea Island

Holiday cottages on the quay

Brownsea Island is one of a handful of National Trust places you get to by sea.

Brownsea Island is not reachable by car, only by boat. There are several options for reaching the island on foot or in a wheelchair.


Most visitors reach Brownsea Island via the foot ferries which run regularly from Poole Quay and Sandbanks jetty between mid-March and mid-November. Run by private operators, the ferries set their own times and pricing which we've outlined below. All visitors, including National Trust members, need to purchase ferry tickets.

From Poole Quay

Greenslades Pleasure Boats and Brownsea Island Ferries run ferries from their respective stands on Poole Quay to Brownsea Island daily between 10am and 4pm, leaving on the hour and at half past the hour - returning to the mainland from Brownsea Island at 20 minutes past and 10 minutes to the hour. Journey times vary from 20-45 minutes with the longer journeys including a tour of the harbour. Tickets cost £12.50 for adults, £7 for children, 5s and under free of charge.

More info: Greenslade Pleasure Boats or Brownsea Island Ferries.

From Sandbanks

Brownsea Island Ferries runs a service from the Sandbanks Jetty near the chain ferry to Brownsea Island daily betweek 10am and 4pm (with no service between 1 and 1.30pm), leaving every half hour and returning to the mainland from Brownsea Island at 15 mins past and 15 mins to each hour. Journey time of approximately 10 minutes. Tickets £7.50 return for adults, £5 for children, 5s and under free of charge. Please note that the Sandbanks Brownsea Island ferry is cash only and has no means of processing card payments.

More info: Brownsea Island Ferries 

There are public car parks near to where the ferries depart at both Poole Quay and Sandbanks, with limited payable parking and on-street metered parking available. Please note that these may be restricted to an hour or two.

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

Trains, coaches and buses

Poole train station is just half a mile away from Poole Quay where you can pick up a ferry to Brownsea Island. It's about a 10 minute walk or you will usually find taxis waiting at the station. National Express coaches also runs a longer haul service to Bristol, London and other places.

There are regular buses to and from Poole Quay and Sandbanks - run by morebus and Yellow Buses. Yellow Buses have teamed up with Brownsea Island Ferries to offer a combined bus and ferry ticket to save you money when getting to Brownsea Island from the Bournemouth area.

More info:

Beryl bikes

While you cannot bring your own bike over to Brownsea Island, some visitors have been cycling to the ferry using Beryl bikes. These public bikes are found in locations across Poole and Bournemouth and are unlockable via a phone app. You simply pick up a bike at one location, and leave it at another. There are drop off and pick up points not far from where the ferries leave. For more information, see the Beryl bikes website.

The Seahorse - accessible boat

The National Trust is commited to accessibility - conserving places for ever, for everyone. Brownsea Island operates its own accessible vessel, the Seahorse, which can transport up to 12 passengers with access needs - including wheelchair users at a time. Adults £7.50, children £5 - payable in advance.

The service runs on a fixed schedule when the tides allow and must be booked in advance. The Seahorse collects people from Sandbanks Yacht Club, landing at the entrance to the island - before returning to the yacht club a few hours later. To secure your place, please call: 01202 707 744 and select option 8.

In your own vessel

If you have your own kayak or small boat, you are welcome to land on Brownsea Island between 10am and 8pm in the evenings or dusk (whichever is earlier) during our open season (Feb-Oct). We close from Nov-Jan except for some winter events.

The best place to land on the island is the South Shore and near Pottery Pier as outlined on the map below. Please do not land at the main National Trust jetty near the castle. The beaches near the lagoon are closed for access due to nesting birds. No dogs, other than assistance dogs, are allowed on the island and we ask that you not light any BBQs. 

Please pop into the Visitor Centre or Outdoor Centre on arrival to pay your admission fee and camping fee if staying over - or you can do this over the phone in advance: 01202 707744.

Map showing kayak access to Brownsea Island
map showing kayak access to brownsea island
Map showing kayak access to Brownsea Island