Ride a ferry to a forested island. Observe colorful peacocks and playful red squirrels beside this grand castle from the 1500s.
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 gray, 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.