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Holidays

Brownsea Island / Castle (Poole, Dorset)

54 replies

RedSquirrelsAreAwesome · 25/05/2021 18:18

Hello,

On a whim we have booked to stay at Brownsea Castle on Brownsea Island for 4 nights in July. It looks lovely and the red squirrels really swung it for me! We have a newborn baby and after thinking again DH is saying we need to cancel it because of the hassle of the ferry and maybe needing to take two trips there and back to bring over the stuff we need. He’s worried about leaving his van in the car park. Then he’s saying about Covid even though they are running at reduced capacity and dining areas are all separated and all the safety measures are in place. I have been really looking forward to this trip. It will be lovely to go out and about with the baby on nature walks and I would be so disappointed to cancel it.

Have you been before?
Did you enjoy it?
Is the ferry easy enough to use?
Is it worth me trying to persuade DH to go or will I regret the earache if he finds something about it he doesn’t like?! DH has form for changing his mind about things just after he’s agreed to it!

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 18:23

I am not sure I would want to stay overnight there with a baby. It's not really a ferry you go on - it's a small boat. You wouldn't have access to emergency nappies, milk, Calpol, medical care etc once the ferry/boat has stopped for the night.
Go for a day trip.

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 18:24

There are also loads of lovely nature areas in that area of the country so you won't be missing out.

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RedSquirrelsAreAwesome · 25/05/2021 18:27

@Ilovemaisie - Thank you! It sounds like DH is right this time. I’ll cancel the trip 😢
We’ll book again when little one is older.
Mainland sounds like a much more sensible option, I think I just got carried away!

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Waveifyouknowme · 25/05/2021 18:29

@Ilovemaisie

I am not sure I would want to stay overnight there with a baby. It's not really a ferry you go on - it's a small boat. You wouldn't have access to emergency nappies, milk, Calpol, medical care etc once the ferry/boat has stopped for the night.
Go for a day trip.

Fuck me It's not in the Atlantic! Funnily enough if there was an emergency it is possible to get to the 'mainland' and if you can't pack enough nappies/milk/calpol then I don't think you should be allowed out of the house!

How much stuff do you need for a newborn? It's not a small boat but a river ferry, people are helpful, it's a beautiful part of the world and a wonderful place for a holiday.
Car crime isn't a massive problem but if you want to PM me where you are planning on leaving it I can advise if there are better locations.
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Waveifyouknowme · 25/05/2021 18:30

[quote RedSquirrelsAreAwesome]@Ilovemaisie - Thank you! It sounds like DH is right this time. I’ll cancel the trip 😢
We’ll book again when little one is older.
Mainland sounds like a much more sensible option, I think I just got carried away![/quote]
Children live on the island all year, they catch the ferry to school, local schools have allocations based on Poole landing steps. Don't cancel you will love it.

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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 18:31

The squirrels are absolutely amazing but you may not see any in summer as October is the time when they are rampant gathering the nuts off the trees, they are almost tame and you can hand feed them but I have heard summer they keep hidden, sorry about that news.🐿
The ferry crossing is about ten minutes and it’s a boat rather than a ferry.
Where were you thinking of long stay parking as this could work out expensive as well, there is a multi storey car park on the quay and a surface car park at baiter but I’m sure they are short stays….might be an idea to google car parking on the BCP website.
Anything else you need to know just ask as this is my home town

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OldTinHat · 25/05/2021 18:38

There's not a lot there tbh. Isle of Wight would be a better bet if you want red squirrels and more to do for families.

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RedSquirrelsAreAwesome · 25/05/2021 18:45

Thanks everyone! It does sound lovely but I have emailed them to cancel. We would have taken everything we need with us so I wasn’t worried about that but DH was already going all doom and gloom about the ferry/boat! If the red squirrels are not likely to make an appearance in the daytime until October I feel much better about the decision!

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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 18:52

@RedSquirrelsAreAwesome

I think you could guarantee to see them in Autumn and they do a guided walk which is interesting, maybe a day trip would be nice in the autumn
With an overnight stay ? There are loads of travel lodge/travel inn/premier lodge places here.
Plus the best chippy in the world ‘Lakeside’ near the quay
Hope you get to see them soon 🐿

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 19:00

I know people live on the island and 'commute' daily but what I meant was more that you can't just pop to the nearest 24 hr Tesco at 3am when baby has pooed and puked over the entire pack of nappies you bought with you. An older baby you could probably improvise with but the OP said her baby is newborn.

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 19:05

Also Waveifyou it's very easy to take everything you need but not guarantee anything going wrong like dropping a whole bottle of Calpol or tub of formula all over the floor. Or as I said - baby puking over an entire pack of nappies. Random things happen with babies and as much as I think Brownsea Island is a beautiful place I would rather be on the mainland.

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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 19:11

@IlovemaisieI
Its good for the day isn’t it really ?

Isn’t the castle owned by John Lewis Group, I think I heard that

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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 19:12

@Ilovemaisie
Sorry Maisie I did the ‘at’ wrong

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 19:17

I think the castle is (or was) owned by John Lewis. I believe staff ('Partners') could put themselves in a lottery to stay there. Not sure if that's true.
I haven't been to Brownsea for years. I don't think I ever saw a red squirrel. Just lots and lots of peacocks. And a duck that kept following me.

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 19:18

I know someone that swam from the mainland to the island though.

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CliftonGreenYork · 25/05/2021 19:27

I'm assuming you are a John Lewis Partner? I have stayed there a few times (am a York Manager) and its fabulous with lots to do. The rooms are incredible and the food amazing. You get 4 meals a day including afternoon tea. Its not a ferry, it's the Partnerships private boat and only takes about 20 mins to go across. We stayed there for 4 days and loved it.

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HappyHappyHippocampus · 25/05/2021 19:28

Do you (or your partner) work at John Lewis OP?

I’ve been and and stayed in the castle as a guest and hands down, it was one of the best holidays I have been on in my entire life! I would seriously consider a career at John Lewis just to go again.

The ferry trip is really very short amc I wouldn’t be worried about taking a baby. Our car was very safe in the carpark for the 5 days we were there. The castle itself is huge with its own private beach in a little cove, perfect for having a beach day with the baby! A huge amount of grounds, parkland and gardens. The rooms are simple but clean and beautiful. You will eat SO much. Breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner every single day. All really lovely quality, loads of options. They have a bar and the staff cannot to enough for you. You will be very looked after and spoilt!

The island itself is lovely and not so big you feel like you’re going on a hike. It’s easy terrain and with a baby carrier you’ll be well away. Look out for the peacocks as well as the red squirrels.

Go for it. I honestly cannot wait until John Lewis give it up and anyone can book to go on holiday Grin

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HappyHappyHippocampus · 25/05/2021 19:33

@RedSquirrelsAreAwesome

Thanks everyone! It does sound lovely but I have emailed them to cancel. We would have taken everything we need with us so I wasn’t worried about that but DH was already going all doom and gloom about the ferry/boat! If the red squirrels are not likely to make an appearance in the daytime until October I feel much better about the decision!

Oh no! I’ve just seen this. That’s such a shame!! I totally would’ve done it with a newborn. In fact I was rather unwell when we went and I certainly didn’t feel too far away from the mainland if I needed something urgently and the boat trip was very short.
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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 19:40

@Ilovemaisie

I know someone that swam from the mainland to the island though.

It’s not that far but the water isn’t exactly inviting is it ?
Not that I could do it but I wouldn’t fancy it even if I could !
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Lulu1919 · 25/05/2021 19:49

It's a ten minute boat trip
In an emergency they would have taken you over
My daughter had a fried who lived in the island ...her parents still do !!
Do you work for John Lewis ?

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LlamaofDrama · 25/05/2021 19:51

I did it with a 10 month old baby and it was great. The island is beautiful and DD had a lovely time looking at things from the backpack.

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Ilovemaisie · 25/05/2021 20:07

Sappy his swim was delayed several times due to bad weather. He has also done the English channel to France (I can just about belly flop around a public pool)

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Mugsen · 25/05/2021 20:20

We went over for the day on quite a big boat that did a bit of a tour, but didn't see any wildlife at all, not even one bird. It was eerily devoid of anything alive but we did go around July I think. It was pretty however.

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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 20:21

@Ilovemaisie
The channel thing always amazes me, I would panic if I couldn’t see dry land in my eyesight.
Fair play him doing that, it’s pretty shallow between the harbour and the island about six feet in some places, hence it’s quite stirred up because of the silt and not clear, murky water is quite disconcerting but I expect people doing that are just concentrating in the finish
I love ringstead for swimming as it’s crystal clear
Sadly have not been there since before lockdown and we aren’t exactly having beach weather are we 🥲

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SappysCurry · 25/05/2021 20:26

@Mugsen

We went over for the day on quite a big boat that did a bit of a tour, but didn't see any wildlife at all, not even one bird. It was eerily devoid of anything alive but we did go around July I think. It was pretty however.

They do the quick trip over to the island (Harvey’s boats I think)
Then on the way back they take you on a tour around, you see Arne nature reserve, , the other islands (that island with the magnificent ‘tree house) and the back of hamworthy where the SBS/Marines train
Takes about 40 minutes the return journey
Autumn is the best time if you want to see the squirrels, they gather round the church, it’s brilliant to see them so close up ❤️ We go every October and have been lucky with the weather so far.
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