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Brownsea Island Tours and Activities

Brownsea Island
With ancient woodlands, windswept heathlands, and freshwater lakes hemmed in by grassy sea cliffs and sandy beaches, Brownsea Island crams a startling variety of scenery into its small landmass. The mostly uninhabited island, which is run by the National Trust, is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour.

The Basics
The most popular way to explore Brownsea Island is on a day trip from Poole—it’s a short ferry ride from the mainland. Alternatively, a sightseeing cruise around Poole Harbour affords spectacular views of Brownsea Island, as well as the surrounding islands and mainland attractions such as the Sandbanks, Old Harry Rocks, Corfe Castle, and the Purbeck Hills.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The weather on Brownsea Island can be wet and windy even in summer, so wear layers and bring a raincoat.  
  • Getting around the island is only possible on foot—vehicles and bikes are not permitted on the ferries.
  • The Brownsea Island Visitor Centre, a short walk from the ferry port, has restrooms, a café, and a shop. 
  • Wheelchair-accessible ferries are available, and you can rent all-terrain wheelchairs on the island. 

How to Get to There
Brownsea Island is only reachable by boat. Regular passenger ferries set sail from Poole Quay or the Sandbanks and take around 20 minutes to reach the island. From Poole, buses and taxis run from Poole train station to Poole Harbour. 
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When to Get There
Brownsea Island is open to the public from March to October and on selected winter weekends, depending on the weather. In peak summer season (July and August), book your ferry tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Exploring Brownsea Island
The Brownsea Island Nature Reserve covers the whole island and offers nature trails and wildlife such rare red squirrels, sika deer, wild peacocks, and birds (avocets, black-tailed godwits, and wildfowl). Additional highlights include the beachfront Brownsea Castle, which dates back to the 16th century; the Brownsea Open-Air Theatre, which hosts performances throughout summer; and electric buggy tours, which traverse all the island’s most scenic viewpoints.
Address: Brownsea Island, England
Admission: Varies
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2 Tours and Activities to Experience Brownsea Island

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Poole Harbour and Island Cruise from Poole

Poole Harbour and Island Cruise from Poole

star-4.5
96
Get acquainted with the seaside splendor of Poole during a cruise around Europe’s largest natural harbor from Poole. Climb aboard the boat and enjoy spectacular views of the famous Sandbanks and the Blue Lagoon. Listen to illuminating commentary from your knowledgeable captain as you sail from the picturesque town of Poole. Hear of how Poole Harbour was formed in the last ice-age and absorb the tranquility of the ocean before returning to Poole Quay.  
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$17.02
From
$17.02
Taking safety measures

Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage from Poole

Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage from Poole

star-4
78
Settle in for a round-trip cruise from Poole to Swanage, and see the renowned Jurassic Coast from the water. As you listen to the captain’s commentary, gaze out at the sights of Poole Harbour, Sandbanks, and Brownsea Island. Travel along the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast, learn about its geology, and look out for key landmarks such as Old Harry Rocks and Studland Bay.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.27
From
$21.27
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Brownsea Island?

Things to do near Poole