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Visiting Brownsea Island from Marsham Court Hotel


At the western end of the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area, you’ll find the wonders of Poole Harbour. This contains eight islands, and the biggest is Brownsea Island.

Important for both its unique ecosystem and its place in the history of the Boy Scout movement, Brownsea Island is open to the public — and it’s easy to visit from 4-star Bournemouth family hotel Marsham Court.

Brownsea Island

For an island just 1.5 miles by 0.75 miles, Brownsea Island has plenty on show. Owned by the National Trust, with the northern area managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, the island’s major draw is it’s ecosystem, which ranges from woodland to saltmarsh and reedbed.

The island is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with species ranging from common and sandwich tern, oystercatchers and kingfishers to avocets wintering there. However, the stars of Brownsea Island are its population of red squirrels — one of the few locations in southern Britain where the native species can still be seen.

The other thing Brownsea Island is famous for is the experimental camp held there by Lord Baden-Powell in 1907, which led directly to the founding of the Boy Scout movement. The island still features a permanent campsite, used by scouts and many others.

Accessing Brown sea Island

Brownsea Island is normally accessed by ferry, leaving from either Poole Quay or Sandbanks, the latter being a much shorter trip. You arrive at the quay, with the café and visitor centre close by. You are permitted to land in your own boat, kayak or paddleboard, but this is restricted to landing on the south shore.

If you have accessibility requirements, it’s best to make contact in advance. You can pre-book a wheelchair-friendly ferry service and hire an all-terrain manual wheelchair, to access the routes on the island. Alternatively, you can take a tour on the shuttle mini-bus around the island.

What to Do on Brownsea Island

The wildlife is Brownsea Island’s big draw, and you can visit for the day until 5pm, either joining a guided tour or wandering independently. For birdwatchers, there are hides available, while there’s a wildlife centre and an outdoor centre. For those wanting to go further than they can manage on foot, the Squirrel Shuttle mini-bus offers a hop-on/hop-off service.

Alternatively, visitors can book to camp overnight at the Brownsea Island Campsite. You can not only observe the island’s wildlife at night but also share the experience of those original proto-Boy Scouts.

Visiting Brownsea Island from Marsham Court Hotel

To make the most of your day out on Brownsea Island, you’ll need to be based somewhere convenient — not to mention having somewhere comfortable and welcoming to return to.

Bournemouth seafront hotel Marsham Court is perfectly placed for any destination in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas, and that includes both ferry terminals for Brownsea Island. An elegant Georgian building with an up-to-date interior, it also includes award-winning accessible facilities.

Get in touch with us to find out more about accessing Brownsea Island, and much more, from Marsham Court Hotel.

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