Family adventures on Brownsea Island
Let imaginations run wild in our natural play area and cross some of the '50 things' off your list as you explore the island and take part in our seasonal trails.
Brownsea Island is now closed for the winter.
Brownsea Island is now closed for the winter. We look forward to welcoming you back on Sat 16 March 2024.
2023 marks 60 years of Brownsea Island being open to visitors, during each of the school holidays we'll be exploring the different habitats on Brownsea Island and looking out for the creatures that make it their home.
Free family trails available at all times
Scouting skills activity booklet
In the spirit of Baden-Powell’s first experimental Scout camp, held on Brownsea in 1907, this trail sheet contains an activity map and skills challenges to enhance your practical, observation and tracking skills. Perfect for Scouts and Guides and fun for all the family too. Pick up a trail sheet from the visitor centre.
Brownsea Island nature trail
Explore the wonders of the natural world with a tick list scavenger hunt, natural art or try your hand at some nature-based activities and exercises. Collect your trail booklet from the visitor centre. What will you spot?
Brownsea tree climbing trail
Our popular tree climbing trail is back! Navigate the island and find nine trees to climb, ranging from oak to pine, all with interesting stories to tell. If you're lucky, you may even spot a squirrel scampering up one of the neighbouring trees so do keep a look out. Pick up a trail sheet from the visitor centre.
Natural Play Area
Located at the heart of the island, families will find our natural play area equipped with balancing beams, climbing frames and see-saws. Here you can practice soaring, scrambling and scampering - can you match the agility of our resident rare red squirrels?
'50 things' on Brownsea Island
There's lots of activities on the '50 things to do before you're 11¾' list to keep you busy on the island. No. 32 Float in a boat, can be crossed off your list as soon you step aboard for your ferry ride to Brownsea – a great way to begin a day’s adventure. And it doesn't stop there. You've the chance to tick off welly wandering – perfect for rainy days on the island – as well as eat a picnic in the wild, make friends with a bug, cloudwatching, discover wild animal clues and find your way with a map. See the full list.
Good to know
- Baby-changing facilities are available at the Courtyard near Reception, Visitor Centre and Outdoor Centre.
- The Visitor Centre and Engine Room are open with activities and family-friendly displays on wildlife and history.
- Free all-terrain pushchairs are available to hire for the day. Booking advisable, please call 01202 492164.
- Picnic benches and benches available across the island.
- You can re-fill your water bottle at the Villano Café or at the Outdoor Centre.
- Children's options are available on the menu at the Villano Café.
- Pocket money gifts are available at the Trading Post at the Outdoor Centre.
There's all sorts to do in Dorset with the family, including discovering places to explore in gardens, parks, the countryside and on the beach.
There are lots of things to do when you visit one of our family-friendly places. Find inspiration for days out and discover a range of activities for everyone.
In this article you'll find all you need to know to plan your visit to Brownsea, including how to get here by ferry.
Find ferry information about the Sandbanks Jetty boat service connecting Sandbanks to Brownsea Island and more details about the Sandbanks Jetty project.
Fuel up for your adventure at the Villano Café, where you'll find a wide variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks and light meals. Elsewhere, shop for a Brownsea Island souvenir at the Trading Post and browse our second-hand bookshop.
To ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the island, discover how we're making Brownsea accessible to all.
Spend a night under the stars and have a family adventure to remember at Brownsea Island's historic campsite.