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

  • Great location

    Paul James

    Great location, 25 mins walk from the front and nice settings, friendly and clean site with good facilities including a good play area for the kids & a free swimming pool. On site pub and pizza. Will be back

  • Amazing views

    Daniel Hare

    Amazing long weekend spent with family in a static park home at Ulwell we had amazing views over swanage and surrounding hills and the night sky from there is picture perfect, the accommodation was everything we could of required, highly recommend Ulwell Holiday Park

  • Fantastic site

    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.

  • Lovely Caravan Park

    Simon MA

    I’ve been coming to Ulwell now for around 20 years and have always been impressed by the site. The caravans are always an excellent standard, indoor swimming pool, great on site shop and great restaurant. Have never had any problems in all the years I’ve been coming here and I’m sure will continue to spend my holidays here in the coming years. The staff are always friendly and helpful.

  • Home from home

    Cara M

    I have been visiting Ulwell for 10 years and as soon as I arrive I feel at home. This time I stayed in a caravan and was so happy with the layout and cleanliness. The shop is well stocked and sells some nice pastries. The village Inn is a nice little spot to relax and have a drink. The food is good too.

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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

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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