What can you expect on a day trip to Brownsea Island?
For anyone who has children in Scouting, Brownsea Island is the place of Scouting legend! Known as ‘The Birthplace of Scouting’ it was the site of Baden-Powell’s first ‘experimental camp’ and with a young, enthusiastic Beaver and (currently resting due to family commitments) Scout Leader in the family, we couldn’t visit the area without taking a day trip to Brownsea Island!
How do you get to Brownsea Island for a day trip?
Brownsea Island is famous for Scouting, wildlife and of course, Red Squirrels! Accessed only by boat from either Pool Harbour or Sandbanks, the fact that it’s difficult to get to becomes part of the adventure!
The famous yellow Brownsea Island Ferries operate daily and take you on journeys of varying length across to the island. The price is additional to your admission to the island but the 20 minute journey there is enhanced by a 50 minute return journey which takes in some of the additional islands in the harbour making your fare better value for money.
You can brave the elements on the top deck of the ferry or settle downstairs where there are a number of tables and chairs and a bar selling snacks and hot drinks. There is so much to look at in the harbour and the children were entertained by the large number of different sailing vessels, some of which sailed rather close to the ferry!
What can you expect from a day trip to Brownsea Island?
On arrival on the island you feel like you are entering a different world! Apart from the few houses by the pier (one of which was a very appealing looking National Trust Holiday Cottage!) there are very few houses on the island and apart from the odd National Trust vehicle, no cars, making it a perfect location for the children to roam around. We also discovered that there were free all terrain buggies to borrow which was a wonderful idea and meant that we were able to explore more of the island than we had initially anticipated…
After an early lunch in the café, we set off with the objective of reaching the Scout Camp (doing some Geocaches on the way!). There was a spooky Halloween trail on offer over the holiday along with activities at the Visitor Centre so there was plenty to entertain the children.
We encouraged Eira to practice her map reading skills and navigated our way to the stone marking the place of the first Scout Camp. Eira proudly posed for a photo before we had a quick trip to the Scout Shop to buy the obligatory badge to add to her camp blanket!
The island has an abundance of wildlife to spot including a family of peacocks! However, it’s the red squirrels that we really wanted to see and on our way back from the Scout Camp we took our time to watch and wait and were rewarded with a glimpse of several squirrels – too quick to capture on camera so we had to be satisfied with a souvenir cuddly squirrel from the gift shop!
We made our way back to the entrance in time for our return trip and took a longer ferry ride back home.
I really would recommend Brownsea Island for a day trip. The whole experience is a great adventure for all and it’s rare that you actually manage to visit a real island!