We visit Brownsea Island several times a year as it is local for us. You can get to it by two methods. One – you can go to Poole Quay and take the ferry from there, I think they go every 30 minutes. When you return they take you all round the harbour on the way back so it is quite a long trip, but very nice to see the other islands in the harbour. The quicker method is to go from Sandbanks peninsula where the boat only takes 10 minutes to get you across to the island. The only downside of that is that parking is limited and on a good day you cannot get rid of the car anywhere in that area as people are going across to Shell Bay for the day. The island opens at 10am and is owned by the National Trust. Once on the island you can walk around all day and although you have arrived on a boat full of people, somehow they all disappear to various parts and you can spend a peaceful day walking around. There are various parts to the island, there are little beaches which are lovely and safe for children. There are cliffs, grassy areas for picnics (bring a rug) and woodland walks. The island is famous for it's connection to Scouting and the whole Baden Powell movement, so there are often scout camps on there. They spend their days on watersports and other outdoor activities on the island. There are toilets at the boat terminal and also towards the far end near the scout camp area, they have built a new block up there. The island takes about an hour to walk from one end to the other, but there are only refreshments at the boat jetty end, so you will need to pack lunch and take it with you. A wonderful day out with lots to see and enjoy. There are free range chickens near the jetty and if you have children with you, it is nice to take a handful of bird food and feed them. The island also has lots of peacocks who will oblige with a tail exhibition in the spring. Pheasants are also roaming on the island and often have babies following them. The island is home to the red squirrel so you have to keep your eyes open for them too. You will enjoy the day without a doubt. The last ferry leaves the island between 4 and 5pm so ensure you allow enough time to get back. There are land rover tours for those of limited mobility.