Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island


The perfect day’s adventure, this island wildlife sanctuary is easy to get to but feels like another world from the moment you step ashore.

The island sits in the middle of Poole Harbour, with dramatic views to the Purbeck Hills.  Thriving natural habitats, including woodland, heathland and a lagoon, have created havens for wildlife, such as the red squirrel and a huge variety of birds.

The island is rich in history too, which is revealed in our Visitor Centre.  There are the remains of daffodil farming, pottery works and the village of Maryland to explore, or head to the Outdoor Centre to find out more about the birthplace of the Scouting and Guiding movement.

Visit the National Trust website, or the Visit Dorset website, or the Dorset Wildlife Trust website

See the Scouting History website and the Scouts Fact Sheet details

What makes it special

  • Family adventure
  • Stunning views and interesting wildlife
  • Visit the world famous First Camp site of Scouting

Opening Times

Limited by the boat service from Poole or Sandbanks (mid-March to autumn half-term)

See the Brownsea Island Ferries website, or the Greenslade Pleasure Boats website


Adult - £7.50 (with Gift Aid £8.40)
Child - £3.75 (with Gift Aid £4.20)
Family - £18.75 (with Gift Aid £21.00)
(x1 adult and x3 children) - £11.25 (with Gift Aid £12.60)

Hostels nearby

Brownsea Island

Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE

Map references

OS Map: 195, and Explorer OL15

OS Grid Ref: SZ019879

Lat/Lng: 50.691251, -1.973901

Contact information

Email: [email protected]

Other things to do nearby

Person climbing on a climbing wall

Climbing in Totland Bay

There are various indoor and outdoor climbing walls in close proximity to the Youth Hostel. For something a little different, why not try tree climbing?

Swanage Pier


A friendly, colourful seaside town with an award winning beach, amazing chalk pillars of Old Harry's Rocks and a very English Victorian pier.


Mowlem Theatre

Opened in 1967, the Mowlem Theatre is situated on the sea front at Swanage and has over 200 film productions a year as well as 60-100 nights of live theatre.

Steam train

Swanage Steam Railway

Explore the beautiful countryside around Swanage on the old steam trains that chuff along to Corfe Castle and beyond. Visit the website

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle

Uncover the secrets of Dorset's iconic medieval monument and discover how royalty, warfare and nature have shaped the castle.

Studland Beach

Studland Beach and Nature Reserve

One of the UK’s finest beaches and extensive nature reserve. Enid Blyton lived here, so look for Policeman Plod’s thatched cottage!

Walking a dog along a coastal path

Walking and Rambling in Totland

The hostel is surrounded by National Trust land and footpaths galore. Footpaths go north to Yarmouth, south to Lord Alfred Tennyson's Monument on the Tennyson Trail, east to Freshwater Bay and west


Watersports in Totland

Totland Bay and Freshwater Bay provide surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding and coasteering. Colwell Bay is great for kite surfing and at Compton Bay you can go surfing.

New Forest Water Park

New Forest Water Park

Set in 50 acres of beautiful countryside, the park is a great place to try waterskiing, wakeboarding or you the inflatable banana and tyre rides.

New Forest

New Forest Tour

See the New Forest National Park like never before! Enjoy grandstand views on an exhilarating, open-top ride through pretty villages and magical landscapes, passing wandering ponies.

Cycling in forest

Cycling in the New Forest

There are over a hundred miles of way-marked cycle routes in the New Forest which offer safe cycling for all the family (maps are available at the hostel).

Canoeing on wide calm river

Watersports in the New Forest

According to the official Bournemouth website, no area in Europe has such a wide range of watersports in such a condensed area as Bournemouth and Poole!

The Tank Museum

The Tank Museum

Our exhibitions tell the story of armoured warfare from World War One to the present day.



Serious shopping and entertainment centre.  Tethered balloon flights, great beaches and top concerts throughout the year. Visit the Bournemouth website