A day out on Brownsea Island

September 27th, 2018

Brownsea Island is a nature sanctuary owned by the National Trust. It is the largest of 8 islands dotted throughout Poole Harbour and has spectacular views across the Isle of Purbeck towards Old Harrys Rock. The island is only accessible via a scenic boat ride from either Poole Quay or Sandbanks, which adds to the magic of visiting.

As you arrive at the landing stage you will be greeted with views of Brownsea Castle, which has served many purposes throughout the years. It was originally built by Henry VIII who saw the islands close proximity to harbours entrance as an opportunity to defend against French invasion. Today it is an exclusive hotel owned by the John Lewis Partnership who lovingly restored the castle from a state of disrepair.


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Rare wildlife

Brownsea is renowned for its abundance of wildlife, which has been able to thrive on the island away from threats of predation on the mainland. Thanks to its variety of habitats including woodland, heathland and reed beds there are many species to discover, some of which are incredibly rare. Brownsea Island is one of the only places in the United Kingdom where it is possible to see red squirrels in their natural habitat and is home to a large number of birds, which you can observe from the hides that are dotted along the shore.


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As you follow the many trails and paths that twist and turn through the woodland you may be lucky enough to spot one of the heard of Sika deer who quietly roam the island. You may also encounter one of the beautiful peacocks on the green next to the church, which still holds a weekly Sunday service. These sociable and nosey birds are incredibly friendly so be careful of your picnic!


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The island has a rich and varied history, which you can learn about during your trip at the visitor centre and museum. Broken pottery found on the island has indicated that pottery production was the main source of income for early settlers. Brownsea Island is best known perhaps as the home of the scout movement, where Lord Baden Powell created his first camp and introduced children to a range of outdoor activities such as bush craft and first aid. Brownsea continues to be a mecca for scouts from around the world and still offers children the opportunity to get involved in a number of outdoor activities.

Poole harbour is just a short 35 minute drive from Ulwell Holiday Park making Brownsea Island the perfect destination for a family trip during your stay. Children will love getting up close to such a diverse range of beautiful animals and running wild amongst the forest trails!

What our guests say

  • A lovely quiet site

    Andy Blackwell

    A lovely quiet site, nice warm amenities with good sized shower cubicles, shop not open yet as it’s too early but the local pub is ideal. Staff were very friendly and helpful. If you’re reasonably fit you can walk into Swanage but the bus service is great so why would you want to. Overall a very nice break, we will be back.

  • Super swimming pool

    Joseph Molford

    Fantastic site, we have had a brilliant holiday. Super swimming pool and changing facilities. Site really handy to get to Swanage and Studland. Will definitely return. Thanks to all the staff for a lovely holiday.

  • Excellent quality caravan site

    Peter Skrobacz

    Excellent quality caravan site, top quality, small and friendly, location fantastic. Been visiting Ulwell for over 25 years now and every year is special.

  • An amazing week at Ulwell

    Jenny H

    We have just returned back from our weeks stay at Ulwell Holiday Park with our 2 small children and dog. It was an absolute brilliant week! The site has everything you need, and more! A lovely comfy pub on site for drinks and a bowl of chips, a small shop, swimming pool, large play are with park, and the bus stops right outside.. what more could you want

  • Easter break


    We have just returned after a brilliant Easter break. Couldn’t fault anything at all and we didn’t want to leave. We didn’t visit the pub but the shop is stocked with local produce and essentials. The facilities are great and the location convenient. Our van was spotless and had everything we needed. We will definitely be back

All reviews


We are currently at an amazing 4.5 score at TripAdvisor, based upon 200+ reviews from verified guests.

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Proudly associated

Over the years the family has developed the park to award-winning standards and in a style which compliments its surroundings.

  • Camping and caravanning
  • AA
  • British Holiday & Home Parks assocation
  • Poole Tourism
  • Visit Britain
  • premier park 2020 logo

Finding us


From Bournemouth via the Sandbanks chain ferry and following the B3351 into Swanage.

From Wareham using the A351 into Swanage, turn left along the seafront towards Studland.


The park is situated on the main bus route from Bournemouth to Swanage.


1 ° 58’ 16” West, 50° 37’ 34” North



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