Review Brownsea Island National Trust – We have long been members of the National Trust. I am sure it is the best value family pass we have ever brought. The boys have been busy filling up their National Trust passports this Summer. So I was delighted when I realised our close proximity to Brownsea Island when we stayed at Sandbanks last weekend.

How to get there:

I had often heard about Brownsea Island but had never thought to make a specific trip to see it. Now having visited we will definitely be making another trip soon. I was surprised by just how much there is to do there. Plus it really is something different when it comes to National Trust properties. To access it you do need to catch a boat over. We caught ours from Sandbanks, but we also saw several different boats going out of Poole. The boat is run independently from the National Trust so you do need pay. For the four of us it was £19 return. Although it is a very short trip from Sandbanks. Our boat went at quarter past and quarter to the hour. With the last one being around 5pm as this is when the Island shut. 

Coming into the harbour on Brownsea Island you see a little row of beautiful holiday cottages. With their concrete fronts they look like the extension of the castle. Once of the boat you are directed through the National Trust entrance. The Island is not large but you can easily spend all day there, walking the trails. The  map helpfully marks out three different ones each with a time of how long it will take. Obviously with a three year old in tow everything takes that much longer. Especially when there are so many sticks you can pick up and pine cones to explore. 

The Dorset wildlife trust also has an area on the Island and they offer little trails to follow. We saw out first red squirrel on such a trail. It came bounding towards us and I am not sure who was more shocked to see each other, us or the squirrel. I am a little gutted that I did not have my camera ready. Since the other squirrels we saw were more in the distance. 

As well as the red squirrels there was plenty of other wild life including peacocks and deer. One of the rangers walking around explained the reason for everything being so tame is because there are no predators on the island. One of the places we headed to was the natural play area. The sun was out and it was so peaceful watching the boys balance on various wooden stumps. Although the whole wooded area is really a play area with lots of trees to climb on. 


Monkey started Beavers at the beginning of the year and has really got into it. So he was particularly taken with the fact that Lord Baden Powell created the first scouting group on the island. Which meant that we had to go to the trading post too, to pick up a badge for his camp blanket. It was lovely seeing all the scarves from all the groups that have visited there over the years. I know Monkey now want his own group to visit. They do family camping weekends at certain times of the year but I am not sure I will get the husband under canvas. 

There was lots of other things to do on Brownsea Island which we didn’t get to. I suspect the views from the beach are stunning and there is mini golf as well as lots of other activities organised. I am sure we will visit again its so beautiful.

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Review Brownsea Island National Trust


  1. Wow! The name of the island is vaguely familiar but I had no idea there were proper trails to explore. Love the idea of the natural playground and how fab to see red squirrels. Another really helpful review for a day out. Thank you.

  2. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    Another place to put on my to do list – have heard great things – will be seeing soon too

  3. Jarek - minitrbetravels Reply

    That looks like such a great place. We used to be members of National Trust but never really made the most of it. Seeing your post I think we might revisit

  4. Looks really beautiful here and so amazing to see red squirrels!

  5. Ah I love hearing about other National Trust places that I haven’t visited! Looks fab and sounds like you enjoyed x

  6. Dalene Ekirapa Reply

    What I’m loving the most from Brownsea island has to be its calm atmosphere. This would be a perfect hideaway spot from the city noise that I’m used to. Anyway, the boys must have enjoyed the calm and laid-back stay at the island.

  7. Your pictures look great. This park looks like a lot of fun for the kids. The good thing about not being able to see it all at the first visit is that you have to go back for more.

  8. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting Brownsea Island before, but it looks like such a dream! I’d love to go over and explore the area for myself one day soon. 🙂

  9. This is such an amazing adventure for kids. It is nice to connect with nature from time to time. Makes you feel relieved and disconnected with stress.

  10. I had no clue about it’s existence! IT looks like a great place to spend a weekend with family! I love the mushroom pictures! 😀

  11. Fabulous photos, how exciting that you have to get a boat across there! I love the photos, you found some very amazing fungi!

  12. Your pictures are wonderful! Looks like such a great place to visit, especially with the family.

  13. Catherine Santiago Jose Reply

    Brownsea Island looks like a great place to visit with your family, friends or even your scouting group. You can do a lot of fun activities that I am sure every kids would be love.

  14. Berlin Maynigo Reply

    love it that as you explore a place, you are with your loved one and together, you enjoy the scenery and the place together. so much learning while visiting a place.

  15. What a beautiful place to visit, I love exploring islands. Always reminds of the Famous Five adventures.

  16. Melanie williams Reply

    What a fab place to visit. I love how you to go an actual island…i think that it is very cool for sure xx

  17. Gemma Hendry Reply

    So great to see the red squirrels thanks for sharing the pictures

  18. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red squirrel in person it looks huge xx

  19. Sean Eccles Reply

    Love seeing all the things you get up to this looks amazing and your boys are just adorable

  20. Shelley Jessup Reply

    How lucky were you to get a perfect capture of that beautiful red squirrel! The place looks amazing for exploration.

  21. Carly Belsey Reply

    What a lovely day out. We are looking to purchase National Trust Memberships this year – these are some wonderful places in Kent that we can visit

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