Brownsea Island Escape
Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd June 2018
An EC perennial favourite, once again we'll be enjoying a taste of island life on one of Britain’s favourite nature reserves where we'll stay at a secluded lodge with its own private beach and kayak between islands. Brownsea Island is a former private island complete with a castle built by Henry VIII and is now a wildlife sanctuary containing one of the last red squirrel colonies in Britain.
This weekend is one of our most popular - designed for relaxation, laid-back walks and lots of opportunities for wildlife spotting. We can spend a morning on the water exploring the coast of Brownsea and some other nearby islands by kayak, or we can have some quiet time in the hides in the nature reserve to spot some of the many bird species overwintering on the island. Keep an eye out for the red squirrels jumping between the trees - Brownsea is one of the last places in the UK where they can be found. The rest of Saturday and Sunday will have a laid back vibe with more time to explore the rest of Brownsea at our own pace.
If you've never come on an EC Adventure before, they're informal, friendly and great fun. We typically have singles, couples and small sets of friends coming along, from complete beginners to adventure professionals - what we all share is a love for adventure. Ages tend to range between mid 20s and mid 40s but anyone over 18 years old and young at heart is welcome.
On Friday night at 8pm we'll be catching a private ferry together over to the island from Sandbanks Quay ferry terminal (postcode BH13 7QN), so please make sure you get there in good time. On arrival, our bags will be taken to the accommodation so we can enjoy the short walk there. After we're settled in we'll have the evening to relax and socialise with the group - we can play lawn games, watch the sunset from our private beach or even take a walk to look out from the nearby clifftop viewpoints.
Saturday will start with a cooked breakfast and an optional half-day kayaking session led by qualified instructors starting right from the bottom of our garden! We'll spend the morning exploring the Brownsea coastline and do some island-hopping, back in time for lunch. The rest of the afternoon will be free for us to explore the many paths and trails around the island (we'll give you maps), winding through woodland, heath, green fields and along secluded beaches - all the while watching out for the elusive red squirrels and shy sika deer. If the weather is good we'll get a BBQ going on saturday night, and spend the evening relaxing together. After dinner we might also don our headtorches and go for a night-time walk as a group - we'll be the only ones on the island after dark!
Sunday will be a laid back and free day to carry on exploring in our own time - there is so much to do! We might want to spend longer in the bird hides, find the ruins of Maryland village, get a souvenir from pottery pier, discover more clifftop trails, or carry on searching for wildlife. Before heading back across to the mainland, it's worth stopping at the cafe to grab a coffee and watch the birdlife - we've seen oystercatchers, gulls and terns diving for fish. Everyone will be leaving at different times so we'll be getting public ferries back to the mainland - on Sundays the ferries leave Brownsea every 30 minutes so we can just jump on the next one when we're ready to go (it's £3.25 and we pay on board). Don't miss the last ferry - it leaves at 5pm!
Travel time from London or Bristol is around 2.5 hours, so please allow enough time to park up and walk over to the ferry terminal (20 minutes minimum).
There is no free parking available near the ferry stop - the area only has pay-and-display street parking. You can't pay in advance using the machines for Saturday and Sunday so you have to pay each day. We strongly recommend pre-registering at Bemrose Phone & Pay here: https://www.phoneandpay.co.uk/. If you have a smartphone you can download the Phone & Pay App and use that to pay the daily charge.
Please note that charges do vary - Panorama Road, Grassmere Road and Brownsea Road all cost £10 per day. Streets further away can be more expensive. If you are willing to walk further there is free parking available on Chaddesley Glen and Brudenell Avenue about 20 minutes walk from the ferry terminal.
Set amongst woodland, we'll have exclusive use of South Shore Lodge, a former Victorian cottage with a lawn that backs down onto our own private beach. The accommodation has five bedrooms with bunk beds, two dining/common rooms, kitchen facilities and a separate shower and toilet block. All bedding is provided so all you need to bring is a towel and for comfort we would recommend an extra pair of shoes or flip flops for walking from the main building to and from the shower block.
Your EC host will prepare a home-cooked breakfast each morning and we'll get together for a BBQ on Saturday evening (weather permitting). You'll need to bring your own food for Friday night, and packed lunches or picnic food for Saturday and Sunday. There is a large fridge where you can store your food.
Our recommended kit list for walking is available to download HERE. If you're doing the kayaking session (see below) you will get wet - but all you'll need to wear are clothes you don't mind getting wet and some old trainers.
A half-day kayaking session is available at £45 per person, payable in advance (you can add this on when you make your booking). No previous experience is needed and specialist equipment will be provided.
- Private ferry across to Brownsea Island on Friday night
- 2 nights' accommodation in a converted Victorian cottage nestled in woodland with its own private beach
- A half day kayaking session on Saturday morning (optional extra)
- Free access to the outdoor games sets at the cottage
- 1 x BBQ dinner on Saturday night (weather permitting)
- 2 x breakfasts (Saturday and Sunday)
- Maps of the island and advice on what to do and where to go
- EC Host for the weekend
- Discounted Earlybird price for EC CLUB Members - £149 (if deposit paid before 9 March 2018)
- Discounted Earlybird price for non EC CLUB Members - £164 (if deposit paid before 9 March 2018)
- Standard price for EC CLUB Members - £164
- Standard price for non EC CLUB Members - £179
You'll need to pay a £75 deposit when booking with the balance due six weeks before the weekend.
If you'd like to know more about this weekend or have a particular question about this or any of our adventures, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 0117 405 7497 during normal office hours and we'll do our best to help you.