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 Cottage 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 gem of a place

    Sandra, Winchester

    What a find. I almost don’t want to tell you about it.

    It’s a family park with lovely, mostly new, fresh, clean spacious caravans – all set out almost in steps on the side of a small hill. The larger hill rises behind you, the sea spreads out in front and the swimming pool beckons behind the bar.

    The people are friendly, the site is clean and welcoming and the scenery unbeatable. It’s a gem of a place.

  • Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage


    Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage. A truly wonderful location, lying under the stunning Ballard Down and surrounded by beautiful countryside. Being only a 10 min walk from Swanage and the coast means it’s conveniently located for all amenities.

    The staff are always very helpful to sort out any problems and keep the site in fantastic condition. A 5-star park.

  • Friendly, clean & well kept

    Cheshire, UK

    Stayed here as a base to tour Isle of Purbeck and go on to Air show in Bournemouth. Not the cheapest site but definitely the cleanest and well thought out.

    Swimming pool , shop and pub/restaurant all in proximity and well kept/stocked. Bus stop right outside entrance. Grass pitches have plenty of space and well drained with shower blocks water/ drain points really handy.

    Will definitely be using this site again.

  • Lovely weekend

    Tina, London

    We have just returned from a lovely weekend caravanning at Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park.
    Lovely clean site with indoor heated pool. We went in the pool around 5pm and were the only ones in there (apart from life guard) it was lovely and warm and clean.

    We walked to old Harry’s rock and then Down into Swanage itself and had fish and chips and an ice cream.
    Staff on the site were helpful and friendly. Lovely stay.

  • Our second, lovely Christmas at Ulwell

    Jane P, Cheltenham

    After the success of Christmas 2016 at Ulwell, we returned again for Christmas 2017 and had another great time. Lovely warm caravan, peaceful and relaxing on site and a fantastic carvery on Boxing Day at The Village Inn.

    Thanks to all staff who were working and made sure we had such a great break away.

All reviews


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

Latest reviews

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

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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