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Everything you need to know before you visit Brownsea Island

Wonderful views of the harbour - a great reason to visit Brownsea Island.

The county of Dorset and Robert Baden Powell have one thing in common: Brownsea Island. The simple reason for this is that the island lies just off the coast of Dorset, and scoutmaster Robert Baden Powell used this island to set up his experimental camp. As well as its interesting history, you can expect to find yourself on an island with plenty of adventure prospects. Whether it involves a day’s hike, a camping weekend, or a few hours of birdwatching, Brownsea is guaranteed to be Dorset’s hotspot for excitement. This guide will explain everything you need to know before you visit Brownsea Island.

What is Brownsea Island?

Brownsea Island is a tourist attraction that is owned by The National Trust and can be described as one of Dorset’s largest attractions. You can recognise the island on a clear day as you stroll along Poole Harbour. It can be perceived as a floating village with its own church, castle and café. It is also a location that is especially popular for school and scout trips which can take place all year round.

Brownsea Island consists of peaceful areas and areas that provide a heap of noise, mostly thanks to the squawking birds you can find in these areas. If you are lucky, you may also encounter some of the red squirrels that live on this island.

How to Get to Brownsea Island

A red and white ferry crossing over the sea to visit Brownsea Island.

Getting to Brownsea Island can never be simpler. Many ferry journeys are made to the island from Poole and Sandbanks, with a yellow ticket kiosk located in both of these areas.

All you need to do is approach this kiosk and purchase a Brownsea Island ferry ticket, valid as a return ticket. You can also pre-book a ticket if you are leaving from Sandbanks. With your ticket in hand, you can board the ferry to the island and then enjoy your brief 20-minute cruise, knowing you don’t need to purchase another ticket to get back to the mainland.

The ferries run at select times from Sandbanks and Poole Harbour, both on and off-peak.  Click Here to read more about these timings and prices. If you want, you can also book a guided tour, like one of these .

Things to do on Brownsea Island

Some of the best activities you can take part in on the island include the following:

  • Hiking – For one island, there is a good selection of hiking trails that are very simple to complete and handy for those who are getting into hiking. Getting your steps in will also allow you to learn facts about the island, such as how many different tree varieties there are in total.    
  • Wildlife Watching – If you are a keen ornithologist, or you just fancy bringing some binoculars to try out, then there are plenty of good areas to keep your eyes peeled to make wildlife encounters that are usually rare. Even the kids can have a go at this. All they need is a booklet they can collect from the island’s reception area and record what they find.
  • Embarking on a Tour  – Volunteers who work as part of the National Trust are more than willing to offer free tours of the island. This will come in handy if you are a teacher eager to develop the school kids’ geography skills as well as their history skills. They may even become inspired by Robert Baden Powell’s story relating to this island and may want to follow in his footsteps.
  • Attending Church  – If you wish to do so, you can visit Brownsea Island only to take part in a family service at St Mary’s Church. These services take place weekly every Sunday from May to September every year.

Brownsea Island Accommodation

If you fancy spending the night on Brownsea Island, be assured that there are several accommodation choices for you. These can range from the simple option of sleeping in a tent on the island’s campsite to getting a slightly more luxurious feel by staying in one of the available houses.

The campsite on the island can pitch up to 40 tents. A range of camping options are available and will suit you if you are an adventure camper or a camper who wants that extra touch of luxury while embracing the wildlife around them. Note that no matter your camper style, all stays on the campsite must be a minimum of two nights. Group camping trips can also be arranged for scout and guide groups.

Or, if you are someone who prefers to stay under a roof, a selection of houses and lodges are available to choose from. These are as follows:

  • South Shore Lodge  – This sea-view lodge can accommodate up to 12 guests and has three dormitories that can sleep four people each. All dormitories contain two bunk beds.
  • Agent’s House   – Providing a more luxurious feel, this house can accommodate up to six guests and has three bedrooms (two double and one twin) and one bathroom.
  • Custom House  – Located right on the seafront of Brownsea Island, this house can accommodate up to four guests and is complete with two bedrooms (one double and one twin), both of which are en-suite.

You must book a minimum of three nights for all lodges and houses, and the prices of each house/lodge will vary depending on the season. Even though the prices will be more expensive than pitching up your tent, there is more of a guarantee that you will be protected from rainy weather.

My Experience of Brownsea Island

can you visit brownsea castle

Booking ferry tickets to the island for me was very easy, and even though sitting on the top deck of the ferry proved to be choppy, the excitement of exploring this island was there.

After arriving on the island and embarking on my first nature trail, I immediately heard the slowly-increasing loud squawking of birds. As my ears aren’t sensitive, I didn’t mind this at all. There’s no hardship in having to see a mallard with her baby chicks, teaching them to swim for the first time.

The educational aspects of this island were certainly noticeable in that I was able to learn the different tree varieties. I also had more insight into how Robert Baden Powell’s experimental camp progressed and what he did while on this camping adventure.

After completing long stretches of walking, I found some good spots to stop briefly and re-energise before my next stretch. It was also easy to notice how submerged I was in the most peaceful parts of the island.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spot any red squirrels running around. I would advise bringing binoculars to see if you can spot any squirrels running in the distance. They will also be handy if you wish to try and spot any other wildlife roaming (or even flying) around.

After completing my long trek around the island and filling my head with fun facts, I headed to Villano Café, which had a delicious range of sweet and savoury food. The Gift Shop is in the same building so thus didn’t take long to reach. I settled with feeling a bit of satisfaction and pride, seeing as they sell cuddly red squirrels (at least I saw a red squirrel, right?).

Visit Brownsea Island FAQS

Q:  what is the brownsea island population.

  • A:  There is no set population of people who live on Brownsea Island. However, the number of tourists visiting the island can range between 100,000-150,000 tourists per year. The wildlife population itself is countless.

Q:  Can dogs visit Brownsea Island?

  • A:  Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed to visit the island with you unless you   are someone who is assisted by a guide dog. Anybody who wishes to bring their guide dog with them, and is also looking to stay on the island, will need to notify the National Trust when booking.

Q:  Where is Brownsea Island?

  • A:  Brownsea Island is a tourist attraction located south of Poole Harbour in Southern Dorset. The island is easily reachable via ferry, and the tickets can be purchased from yellow kiosks which are located in Sandbanks and Poole. Tickets can be pre-booked if leaving from Sandbanks.

Q:  What is the best time to visit Brownsea Island?

  • A:  You can visit Brownsea Island anytime from the middle of March to the end of October each year. The island itself is open from 10:00-17:00 each day, and the Villano Café timings are from 09:30-17:00 each day. The Campsite is open every day from April each year.

Q:  How much are Brownsea Island ferry tickets for 2023?

  • A:  The 2022 ferry ticket prices for Brownsea Island are currently on sale for £8.50 per adult (18+) and £5.00 per child (6-17), and kids under 6 can use the ferry for free. Information on the 2023 ticket prices has not yet been confirmed, but it is hoped they will be available very soon.

Q:  Is Brownsea Island worth visiting?

  • A:  Visiting   Brownsea Island is guaranteed to be something you won’t regret. As well as its interesting history, you can expect to find yourself on an island with plenty of adventure prospects. Whether it involves a day’s hike, a camping weekend, or a few hours of birdwatching, Brownsea is guaranteed to be Dorset’s hotspot for excitement.

Q:  Can you visit Brownsea Castle?

  • A:  Brownsea Castle is currently open and operating as a holiday centre. It is allowing guests who work for Waitrose and John Lewis to stay overnight. Brownsea Castle boasts extremely comfortable beds, gorgeous sea views, and exclusive access to the private beach.

Q:  What are the Brownsea Castle ticket prices in 2023?

  • A:  Unfortunately tickets to Brownsea Castle are not available as it is being operated as a holiday centre exclusively for John Lewis and Waitrose employees. 

In Conclusion

A view of Brownsea Island's shores.

This guide has covered the reasons why visiting Brownsea Island will prove exciting. There are, of course, other tourist attractions in Dorset that aim to educate and engage its visitors. However, visit Brownsea Island, and you will be sure to leave it with the spirit of adventure surging inside you, which can be refuelled by returning to it.

Louie Amos is a freelance travel writer currently operating in the UK. Having achieved his NCJ Diploma in Travel Journalism, he regularly posts articles on his website  The Travelling Foodie  as well as Everything UK Travel .

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can you visit brownsea castle

Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across the harbour and to the Purbeck Hills. The island is owned by the National Trust with the northern half managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Official Brownsea Island website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

can you visit brownsea castle

The island is an interesting mix of woodland, heathland and a lagoon creating an ideal habitat for wildlife such as the red squirrel, sika deer and a wide variety of birds such as oystercatchers, kingfishers, avocets, spoonbills, common and sandwich terns.

On the island you can also find a Scout Commemorative Stone. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement, held the first experimental camp here in 1907. Scouts and Guides from all over the world still make pilgrimages to Brownsea for camps and day trips.

A visit to Brownsea Island makes for a perfect family day out. There are plenty of trails to explore around the island, a visitor centre, peacocks roaming free and pretty little beaches and coves.

Brownsea Island Admission Charges 2023

Entrance to Brownsea Island is free for National Trust members but everyone still has to pay for the ferry between Brownsea Island and Poole Quay. Click here for National Trust membership fees.

The Brownsea Island Entrance Fees given below are for non-members and do not include the price of the ferry. (the price of the ferry can be found a bit further down the page)

Dogs are not permitted on the island except for assistance dogs. No bikes either.

Boats to Brownsea Island

There is a regular ferry service that runs from from Poole Quay to Brownsea Island everyday from around Mid-March to the end of October. The crossing takes approximately 20 minutes and is operated by Brownsea Island Ferries .

Website: https://www.brownseaislandferries.com

There are regular departures throughout the day starting at 10am. Ferry tickets can be booked online on the Brownsea Island Ferries website. Ferry tickets can also be bought on the day of departure at the Brownsea Island Ferries kiosk on Poole Quay but if you want to guarantee availability then we recommend booking in advance especially during the summer months and if you want to depart on one of the earlier ferries.

Related Pages: National Trust Membership / Boat Trips / Poole Harbour / Poole Quay / Sandbanks / Shell Bay Beach

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Brownsea Castle

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About Brownsea Castle

Brownsea Castle was originally built as a Device Fort by Henry VIII to defend Poole Harbour from French attacks. The castle was occupied by Parliament forces during the English Civil War, but fell into disrepair by the end of the 17th Century.

During the 18th Century the house was converted into a private house and was extended into a country house with landscaped and ornamental gardens. More building work and extensions were added during the 19th Century, but a serious fire gutted the castle in 1896.  It was restored and used as a lavish residence during the start of the 20th Century.

The castle was allowed to fall into disrepair ofter 1927 and was purchased by the National Trust in the 1960s.The present building incorporates part of the 16th-century Henrician Castle and is leased by the National Trust to The John Lewis Partnership for use as a corporate hotel.

Brownsea Castle is not open to the public

can you visit brownsea castle

By: Barry Skeates

Type: Castellated house

Condition: In use as a corporate hotel

Date: Original Castle built between 1545 and 1547

Region: England , South West

County: Dorset

Managed By: National Trust

Entrance Fee: No Access

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National Trust, Brownsea Castle and Island

Photo credit: National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

National Trust, Brownsea Castle and Island

Open to the public

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Part of National Trust

Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset BH13 7EE England

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Your chance to see inside John Lewis' Dorset castle as retailer seeks new staff

They need people to work, tending to the guests

  • 14:46, 10 JUN 2022

Brownsea Castle 17 September 2009

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You can now go and see inside the John Lewis' castle in Poole Harbour, after the retailer opened job adverts for two roles at the site. Each coming with salaries up to £23,000, the roles mean that you will not only work at the site - that is closed to the public - but get to meet the guests too.

John Lewis currently lease Brownsea Castle off the National Trust. Originally a Henry VIII defensive fort on the entrance of Poole Harbour, the building is nested next to Brownsea Island's main jetty. John Lewis' Partnership first gained access to the site in the 1960s, then after working with the National Trust to restore the stone building, it is now only open for visits from the Partnership's staff as a luxury perk.

The two roles that are now available at the site are that of Food Services Assistant and Kitchen Assistant, both of which come with a salary range of £19,000-£23,000 DOE. On top of this, you will get to see inside the little-known-about site.

Read more: What is on the islands in Poole Harbour? Oil wells, John Lewis jaunts and £3m wildlife schemes

John Lewis note that "Brownsea Castle, it’s our place by the sea, our island getaway across beautiful Poole Harbour offering an escape, history and nature to our guests." And if you are wondering exactly what features the guests enjoy then read on....the job listings note that guest at the castle benefit from the use of facilities such as a private beach, croquet lawn, children's play area, badminton, football, cricket, fishing, archery site and Frisbee area and golf space.

On top of the activities, it's clear that the food on offer must be pretty tempting too. The Partnership highlights that "The emphasis always being on providing exceptional customer service" as well as highlighting that the successful candidates will also benefit from John Lewis and Waitrose discounts as well as other subsidies.

If you fancy a job at the 'John Lewis castle' then you can see both of the job openings online here

Did you know we share all relevant local updates from Poole and the surrounding area into our dedicated Facebook group here - give it a Like to join in the conversation

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Visit Brownsea Castle

Brownsea Castle is a majestic fortress of Tudor design, proudly overlooking the southeastern corner of a large island in Poole Harbour. It was initially constructed in the 16th century as a fortification to defend the southern coast of England from European attacks. Visit this stalwart structure to learn about British history. Then explore the rest of the pleasant island.

Study the impressive square blockhouse castle from the ferry as you approach the island. The castle has been renovated many times over the centuries, which is apparent from its mixed design. Note the grey, red and brown sections of the castle’s façade. A large British flag waves in the breeze atop the building.

Climb the steps toward the fortress for a closer look. The many trees and bushes planted around the castle create a welcoming green landscape. Stroll leisurely through the gardens and capture photos of the lush vegetation with the fortress in the background. The castle’s entrance offers views of White Ground Lake and Poole Bay, which lead into the English Channel.

Spot the island’s red squirrels clambering up the trees that surround the castle. Listen to birdcalls of herons, egrets, terns and avocets. Hike along the walking paths of the forest and look for a relatively tame peacock. Wait patiently for a magnificent display as it unfurls its tail feathers.

After early use as a fortification, the structure was converted into a residence by a British politician and architect William Benson. Some locals still refer to it as Branksea Castle, which was its archaic name.

Although the island is open for visits between April and September, the castle interior is always closed to the public.

Brownsea Castle looks out over the eastern coast of Brownsea Island. Regular ferries transport passengers from Poole Harbour to the small dock near the castle. From here, walk 1 minute west past the gardens to reach the castle entrance.

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Home > Things To Do > Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island

An island adventure for all the family, with dramatic views to the Purbeck Hills, Poole Harbour and thriving natural habitats to explore.

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Embark on your very own island adventure, with free nature trails that lead through the island's beauty, natural play areas adding an extra touch of excitement for the whole family. Offering fantastic picnic spots, promising an adventure-filled outing for everyone.

About Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island, the largest of five islands in Poole Harbour is located close to the Harbour entrance, less than half a mile across the water north west of Sandbanks chain ferry.

Although the other four islands are privately owned and have no public access, Brownsea has been welcoming visitors to its shores for over a hundred years. However, there are also boat trips from Poole Quay near Poole town centre that, as well as taking you all the way round Brownsea Island will venture further into this second largest harbour in the world for closer views of Furzey Island, Green Island, Long Island and Round Island.

Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour

Quite apart from international recognition as a nature reserve and together with the Harbour an area of outstanding natural beauty, Brownsea Island is also known throughout the world as the birthplace of the Scout movement. Lord Robert Baden Powell set up his first experimental camp on 1 st August 1907, with boys pitching their tents on the Island. Little did they know how important and far-reaching their camping week would be, as it laid the foundations for the worldwide scouting and guide movements. There’s still  a wonderful campsite on Brownsea where you can experience what the first scouts did all those years ago!

Commemorative stone erected in 1967 near the original campsite.

When visiting the Island you may come across the commemorative stone erected in 1967 near the original campsite. Earlier, in 1962 Brownsea Island’s future as a heritage asset and wildlife preserve was guaranteed when the National Trust took ownership and leased the northern part to Dorset Wildlife Trust.   When on holiday at Sandbanks or the nearby Poole and Bournemouth, Brownsea Island really is a ‘must visit’.

Brownsea Island Forest wooden play area

There is something for everybody and the Island is especially popular for a family day out. You can embark on one of the large ferries which provide a regular service starting at Poole Quay, or take the smaller ferry boat* on the shorter trip from the landing slip near the chain ferry that links Sandbanks with Studland. All the ferries operate daily when the Island is open, normally between late March and the end of October every year, but remember that other than guide dogs, there are no dogs allowed on Brownsea. (*Currently suspended, so please check before you plan your trip.)

Brownsea Island Ferries – The Maid of Poole

There is just one arrival point on Brownsea, at the southern end of the Island where there are reception facilities for arrivals. There is also a campsite, a visitor centre, public toilets and a souvenir shop and two National Trust holiday cottages situated just three metres from the water edge. Here you will be close to Brownsea Castle, also known as Branksome Castle and originally a fort built by Henry V111 between1545 –1547,to protect Poole Harbour from the threat of a French attack. Indeed, a hexagonal gun platform remains to this day as part of the building. For much of the C20th and until recently, the castle was used by the retailer John Lewis Partnership as a holiday centre for employees.

Brownsea Castle – a 16th Century commissioned by King Henry VIII

The southern end of Brownsea is always the busiest part of the Island because of the comings and goings on the ferries, the visitor facilities and, not least, the dozens of peacocks! Here is the starting point for the daily guided tours, and the area most used for outdoor events and educational activities. Every summer since 1964, Brownsea’s open air theatre has performed a Shakespearian plays, with boats organised from Poole Quay for the ticket only performances.

Our very own Director – Paul Andrews (on the left), performing in All’s Well That Ends Well!

For the more active amongst us the National Trust provides information, with helpful free maps, so when you visit the Island take a walk through the woods following the footpaths to see glorious views across the Harbour towards the Purbeck Hills. Why not bring a picnic and sit on the grassy area, or on hot sunny days find your favourite tree to sit under?

A view through the trees on Brownsea Island

You can watch the birds and squirrels eating seeds from nearby feeders. And if you’re lucky you may even get to see the friendly peacocks perform an elaborate dance to show off their tail feathers!

Beautiful peacocks stroll amongst visitors to the island

If you’re one of the many who visit Brownsea Island Dorset for the wildlife you will want to take the circular path round the island through the internationally important nature reserve featuring rare wildlife. Brownsea is one of only two places in southern England, which has an indigenous population of protected red squirrels.

Home of the rare Red Squirrel

The Island has a thriving variety of natural habitats including woodland, heathland and a lagoon where rare and threatened wildlife find sanctuary in its woods, reed beds and lagoon. And in this aquatic environment there are many species of birds, avocet, black-tail godwit, spoonbill, common tern and the mallard to name but a few….. in fact there are two dozen rare species recorded on the Island. There’s good viewing from the many hides, whilst paths and boardwalks give access to most of the habitats.

Nature trail around Brownsea Island

A wildlife and wetland centre is situated in the middle of the reserve. There is so much to see and do on Brownsea Island! Make a day or half day trip as part of your unforgettable holiday at Sandbanks Beach.

Video Tour of Brownsea Island

Escape on your very own island adventure to Brownsea Island

This stunning island boasts a rich history, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes that will captivate your senses. Whether you're a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Brownsea Island has something special to offer.

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Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island

Brian Bleese

Photo showing ferry boat crossing to Brownsea Island

Credit: Jonny Owen

Spoonbills on Brownsea lagoon

Hamish Murray / Spoonbills on Brownsea lagoon

Visitors to Brownsea Island

Alastair Cook

Brownsea lagoon

Black tailed godwit on Brownsea Island Lagoon by Hamish Murray

Brownsea Island © Brian Bleese

Nicki Tutton / Brownsea lagoon sunrise 

Brownsea boardwalk

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Find out about ferry crossings

Os map reference.

A static map of Brownsea Island

Know before you go

Parking information, bicycle parking, grazing animals, walking trails.

A network of paths and boardwalks runs along the reedbeds which border the lagoon, to the bird hides and through the wetland and woodland areas to the Wetland and Wildlife Centre run by Dorset Wildlife Trust.

If you are planning to visit Brownsea Island, you will need to get the  foot ferry service which operates from Poole Quay – fares apply for all visitors but no booking is required.

If visiting as a Dorset Wildlife Trust member, please bring your membership card which will allow access only to the area that we manage. If you wish to explore the rest of the island which is managed by National Trust, please note that you will need to pay the National Trust island admission fee ,  unless you are also a National Trust member.

All visitors are welcome to visit the lagoon, bird hides and the surrounding area that Dorset Wildlife Trust manages - for visitors who are not members of Dorset Wildlife Trust, we ask for a small donation of £2 per person to help us to manage and maintain this important habitat.

  • Please note that only guide dogs are allowed on Brownsea Island. 
  • The Seahorse landing craft can provide wheelchair access to the island – booking is essential.
  • Please note that groups larger than 15 need to book directly for entry to the Dorset Wildlife Trust lagoon and wetland area. Email: [email protected] or phone 01202 709445 to make a booking.  

Find information on the ferry service ,

When to visit

Opening times, best time to visit, about the reserve.

Brownsea Island is a very special place. It is one of the few places left in the UK where you can catch a glimpse of a red squirrel. We estimate that 250 of these iconic creatures live on the island and are often seen scampering up and down the trees gathering and devouring nuts. If you have adopted one of these beautiful and playful creatures from Dorset Wildlife Trust, this is the chance to see them for yourself – a wonderfully comical sight in autumn when they busily start caching food for the winter ahead, searching out just the right spot to hide them in- a process that can take some time! Read more about our exciting Wild Brownsea project which has been successful in attracting more wildlife and people to Brownsea.

And it’s not just the red squirrels that the nature detectives in the family will be able to spot – the lagoon plays a vital role in providing a safe haven for overwintering birds including avocets, black-tailed godwits and large numbers of wildfowl. In winter it’s also possible see huge groups of spoonbills. These tall white birds can be seen swishing their spoon-shaped bills through the water as they feed. 

In the summer, the lagoon bird hides are a great place to watch common terns, sandwich terns and gulls. The reedbeds and alder carr are home to water voles, sika deer, kingfishers and water rails.

Brownsea Island was saved for wildlife and people to enjoy in 1962 when the National Trust took ownership and leased the northern part to Dorset Wildlife Trust. Since then we have worked in partnership to protect the habitats of rare and threatened wildlife, which find sanctuary in its woods, reedbeds and lagoon. Take a walk through the woods following the footpaths to see glorious views across Poole Harbour.

Our Wildlife and Wetland Centre is situated in the middle of the reserve. Although it is currently under refurbishment, you are welcome to bring a picnic and sit on the benches in the sun, watching birds and squirrels nibbling seeds from the nearby feeders. 

You can read more about Brownsea Island's place in the Purbeck National Nature Reserve here.

  • Black-tailed godwit
  • European spoonbill
  • Common tern
  • Sandwich tern
  • Red squirrel
  • Tufted duck
  • Greylag goose
  • Brent goose
  • Black-headed gull
  • Great black-backed gull
  • Lesser black-backed gull
  • Herring gull
  • Common gull
  • Oystercatcher
  • Towns and gardens
  • Lowland heath
  • Wet woodland
  • Saltmarsh and mudflats

Environmental designation

Brownsea lagoon webcam.

The Brownsea lagoon webcams are back! You can now enjoy viewing the fantastic wildlife Brownsea lagoon has to offer from the Tern Hide and Avocet Hide - all from the comfort of your own home. This has been made possible thanks to our collaboration with Birds of Poole Harbour .

Map of Brownsea Island 2022

Dorset Wildlife Trust

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Nearby Nature Reserves

Upton Heath © Tony Bates MBE

Upton Heath

Lytchett Bay DWT/ARC Nature Reserve

Lytchett Bay DWT/ARC Nature Reserve by T Bates

Lytchett Bay

Early spider orchid © James Hitchen

Early spider orchid © James Hitchen

The Traitors Takes Place at the Sprawling Ardross Castle in Scotland

The historic estate encompasses manicured gardens and vast parkland.

preview for The Traitors Season 2 Official Trailer

Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

a group of people posing for a photo in front of a castle

Where Is The Traitors Filmed?

The Traitors takes place where many chaotic storylines in pop culture unfold: a lavish estate . Specifically, the competition series is filmed at Ardross Castle—and that goes for both the U.S. and U.K. versions. Located in Scotland’s Ross-shire county, the Scottish Baronial-style building was chosen as the filming location for the series because it has a big enough interior for the roundtable room where contestants have pivotal discussions. The executive producers of the U.S. version—which is hosted by actor Alan Cumming—told Variety that only one wing of the castle is used for filming along with the outdoor areas, which encompass manicured gardens and more than 100 acres of parkland.

a group of people sitting in a room

According to the castle’s website , the estate has been extensively renovated. But since it’s such a big property, it sounds like it could still use some work. Mike Cotton, one of the executive producers of the U.S. series, explained to Variety : “It’s a really old building, and there’s parts of it that are completely unrenovated, that haven’t been touched for many, many years. At one point, it was occupied during the war by the Navy. It’s fascinating because it’s got so much history to it. I can’t estimate the square feet, but it’s got the potential for 30 bedrooms in reality. A lot of it is unconverted.”

people sitting in chairs in front of a fireplace

A collection of interior photos in the castle’s online gallery showcases the rich, renovated rooms. A grand drawing room—with mauve walls, a pink chandelier (which is seemingly made of Murano glass), and a detailed molded ceiling—prevails as a standout space. There’s also a sunny yellow dining room, a billiard room wrapped in a green tartan wallcovering, and at least four large bedrooms, each with a distinct style and matching bathroom with a freestanding tub. You can peruse the extravagant interiors and the grounds here .

Can You Stay in or Visit Ardross Castle?

ardross castle

Unfortunately, ​​you can’t book a stay at Ardross Castle. The estate is only available to book as an event venue, like for a wedding , or filming location for TV, movies, or photo shoots. If you’re only after a tour of the place, we have more bummer news: Since the castle is privately owned, it doesn’t offer any group or individual tours for eager travelers. Alas, your options are pretty limited if you hope to visit one day. But luckily, its onscreen appearance provides just enough scenic shots to make you feel like you're there.

a group of people outside a building

If it makes you feel any better, the contestants on The Traitors might not even get to stay at the castle during filming. The producers have sworn to secrecy when it comes to revealing their true accommodations, but it's rumored that contestants stay at a hotel near the airport instead. That setup would be a bit cruel if true, but it makes sense—especially if there aren't even enough rooms for all of the contestants to stay in.

Love knowing what your favorite stars are up to? Same. Let’s keep up with them together .

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram and TikTok .

Headshot of Kelly Allen

Kelly Allen is the current Associate Editor at House Beautiful , where she covers design, pop culture, and travel for digital and the print magazine. She’s been with the team for nearly three years, attending industry events and covering a range of topics. When she’s not watching every new TV show and movie, she’s browsing vintage home stores, admiring hotel interiors, and wandering around New York City. She previously worked for Delish and Cosmopolitan . Follow her on Instagram .

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COMMENTS

  1. Brownsea Island

    The island is only accessible by ferry and visitors may need to go up and down steps from the jetty when boarding and disembarking the boats. The Brownsea Seahorse landing craft is available to book as an alternative for visitors who are unable to access the island on the passenger service from Poole Quay or Sandbanks. Call 01202492164 to enquire.

  2. Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit Brownsea Island

    Brownsea Island is a tourist attraction that is owned by The National Trust and can be described as one of Dorset's largest attractions. You can recognise the island on a clear day as you stroll along Poole Harbour. It can be perceived as a floating village with its own church, castle and café.

  3. Brownsea Castle

    Plan of the 16th-century blockhouse In 1533, Henry then broke with Pope Paul III in order to annul the long-standing marriage to his wife, Catherine of Aragon and remarry. [3] This resulted in France and the Empire declaring an alliance against Henry in 1538, and the Pope encouraging the two countries to attack England. [4]

  4. Historical tour & cream tea in Brownsea Castle

    Brownsea Castle, run by the John Lewis Partnership is allowing limited access to the public. The walks are available on the third Tuesday of the month (except August).

  5. Brownsea Island

    The castle to the left flying a flag is Brownsea Castle. The castle is not open to the public. The castle has its own very ornate landing jetty. On the island you can also find a Scout Commemorative Stone. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement, held the first experimental camp here in 1907.

  6. Brownsea Castle

    Info Location / Accommodation About Brownsea Castle Brownsea Castle was originally built as a Device Fort by Henry VIII to defend Poole Harbour from French attacks. The castle was occupied by Parliament forces during the English Civil War, but fell into disrepair by the end of the 17th Century.

  7. Brownsea Island

    Open now 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Write a review About Owned by the National Trust, Brownsea Island is dramatically located in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills.

  8. National Trust, Brownsea Castle and Island

    Open to the public Wildlife or nature reserve in Dorset 3 artworks Part of National Trust Plan a visit More about About the venue Address and contact Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset BH13 7EE England [email protected] 01202 707744 Before making a visit, check opening hours with the venue http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island

  9. Your chance to see inside John Lewis' Dorset castle

    Brownsea Castle 17 September 2009 (Image: oxyman/ Jim Linwood) You can now go and see inside the John Lewis' castle in Poole Harbour, after the retailer opened job adverts for two roles at the site.

  10. The National Trust properties you CAN visit: what you need to know

    Brownsea Island Corfe Castle. ... There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend at Kingston Lacy during your visit, so you can thoroughly explore and enjoy the grounds. The parkland ...

  11. Brownsea Castle in Poole

    1 room, 2 travellers Leaving from Going to Departing Returning I only need accommodation for part of my trip Search Visit Brownsea Castle Poole travel guide Ride a ferry to a forested island. Observe colourful peacocks and playful red squirrels beside this grand castle from the 1500s.

  12. Brownsea Island

    A small portion to the southeast of the island, along with Brownsea Castle, is leased to the John Lewis Partnership for use as a holiday hotel by partners, and is not open to the public. [citation needed] The island forms part of the Studland civil parish within the Dorset unitary authority.

  13. Dorset walk around Brownsea Island

    Brownsea Castle and quay (Image: Archant) ... You can also visit Dorset Wildlife Trust's reserve as an optional extra; if you have time its well worth popping into their bird hides. This walk follows the South Shore where reminders of Colonel Waugh's ill-fated Branksea Clay and Pottery Company are everywhere. Started in 1852, the Colonel ...

  14. Brownsea Castle

    16th century Plan of the 16th-century blockhouse Brownsea Castle was built as a consequence of international tensions between England, France and the Holy Roman Empire in the final years of the reign of King Henry VIII.

  15. Visit Brownsea Island: National Trust

    Here you will be close to Brownsea Castle, also known as Branksome Castle and originally a fort built by Henry V111 between1545 -1547,to protect Poole Harbour from the threat of a French attack. ... If you're one of the many who visit Brownsea Island Dorset for the wildlife you will want to take the circular path round the island through ...

  16. BROWNSEA ISLAND: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

    4.5 2,553 reviews #7 of 55 things to do in Poole IslandsNature & Wildlife Areas Closed now 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Write a review About Owned by the National Trust, Brownsea Island is dramatically located in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills.

  17. Getting here from Sandbanks|Brownsea Island

    Adult: £9.50 Family (2 adults + 3 children): £23.75 Family (1 adult + 3 children): £14.25 Child (5-17): £4.75 Child (under 5): Free Island admission price Island admission is free for members, so please bring your membership card with you. Non members will need to pay admission as well as the ferry fare, payable on booking.

  18. Brownsea Castle

    The Castle is an amazing place to visit, first glimpsed from Castello, the private launch that ferries Partners to this magical island from both Poole Quay and Sandbanks. Arrival & departure information, (car parking & boat times) Accommodation details Facilities Food & drink Things to do & see Contact details & useful information

  19. Brownsea Island

    Brownsea Island is open between 11 March - 29 October 2023. 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 ...

  20. The Ultimate Guide to Brownsea Island

    Brownsea Island is a haven for wildlife, woodland and heathland, making is a wonderful place to explore. It sits in Poole Harbour and enjoys splendid views of the Purbeck Hills in the distance. Wander around to see the thriving habitats of birds, hens and peacocks, which you can find near the old church. You may also see an array of wildlife in ...

  21. Getting here from Poole|Brownsea Island

    Everything you need to know about visiting Brownsea Island from Poole Quay - No booking required. Getting to Brownsea If you're planning a trip to Brownsea, then you'll need to catch a foot ferry which runs every day from Poole Quay. Please note: You can find information on the Sandbanks service here. Travelling from Poole Quay

  22. Brownsea Island

    'Brownsea Castle and the Wild Purbecks' (Image: Archant) ... If you arrive at the right time - on a high spring tide - you may see up to 10,000 waders taking advantage of the constantly maintained water levels and rich food supply. Recently nominated by BBC Countryfile as one of Britain's Favourite Nature Reserves, Brownsea is among the ...

  23. Brownsea Island

    The Seahorse landing craft can provide wheelchair access to the island - booking is essential. Please note that groups larger than 15 need to book directly for entry to the Dorset Wildlife Trust lagoon and wetland area. Email: [email protected] or phone 01202 709445 to make a booking. Find information on the ferry service,

  24. Where Was 'The Traitors' Filmed? Inside the Scottish Castle

    Unfortunately, you can't book a stay at Ardross Castle. The estate is only available to book as an event venue, like for a wedding , or filming location for TV, movies, or photo shoots.