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Family adventures on Brownsea Island

Mother and daughter in hats and coats playing in autumn leaves with trees in the background.
Mother and daughter having fun playing in autumn leaves | © National Trust Images/ Arnhel de Serra

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.

Child climbing down steps in a playground with her dad holding out a hand for support. Other people, play equipment and trees in the background
Family enjoying the wild adventure playground | © National Trust Images/ Sophie Bolesworth

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.
A mother helps a young child climb over a fallen log in the parkland, on a bright, wintry day.

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’

Have fun exploring nature and the great outdoors with our list of ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’.

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A mother helps a young child climb over a fallen log in the parkland, on a bright, wintry day.

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’ 

Fancy running free in the fresh air, learning new skills and trying new things? Grab your gear and start your adventure.