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  • Address: Brownsea Island, England
  • Admission: Varies

Poole ATTRACTIONS See all

Brownsea Island Tours

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. 
Bottom of Form

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.

Tours & Tickets

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Steam Train and Sea Cruise Adventure Including the Jurassic Coast from Poole, Poole, null
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Steam Train and Sea Cruise Adventure Including the Jurassic Coast from Poole

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 16 Reviews

An amazing experience and one of the best day trips in Dorset. Start your day with a cruise from Poole to Swanage through the largest natural harbour in ...  Read more

Location: Poole, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $29.14
Poole Harbour and Island Cruise from Poole, Poole, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Poole Harbour and Island Cruise from Poole

4 star rating: Recommended 1 Review

Enjoy a spectacular and relaxing 75-minute cruise around the largest natural harbour in Europe, and get some great views of the beautiful harbour islands and ...  Read more

Location: Poole, United Kingdom
Duration: 75 minutes (approx.)

From USD $12.95
Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage from Poole, Poole, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage from Poole

Enjoy a fantastic 2-hour round cruise between Poole and Swanage, and experience over 2 million years of geological history. This popular cruise takes you ...  Read more

Location: Poole, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $16.19

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