Beautiful wildlife, unrivalled views and a deep sense of calm purvey Northumberland’s islands.
From the excitement of braving the tide to cross the causeway to Holy Island or that first glimpse of a seal from the boat heading out to The Farne Islands, these are both unique places to visit.
The Farne Islands
This group of between 15 and 20 islands, depending on the tide, is accessible from Seahouses harbour where you can join a boat tour to see some 37,000 pairs of puffins, 23 species of seabirds and a large grey seal colony.
Inner Farne and Staple Island are open to the public where you can see the wildlife up close and there are some beautiful views of Bamburgh Castle and neighbouring Holy Island, so bring a camera.
Some people come to Holy Island for a sense of peace while others love the thrill of spending time in place which is only accessible at low tide.
Holy Island is known as a place of pilgrimage. It marks the end of St Cuthbert’s Way – a long walking route signposted by wooden poles in the sand from the mainland out to the island. St Aidan came here in 635AD and built a monastery, Lindisfarne Priory, which is currently housing the Lindisfarne Gospels – a medieval manuscript celebrated across the world. Check the safe crossing times before you visit to ensure you arrive as the tide goes out so you can make the most of your trip.
Walk around the island, taking in the upturned boat sheds, the former fort then holiday retreat of Lindisfarne Castle, seals on the beaches and the lovely shops in the village. From the rocky mounds of Lindisfarne Castle, there are some great views of Ross Back Sands across the water and Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands to the south.
Our top 10 things to do on Holy Island
1. Visit Lindisfarne Castle perched on a rocky promontory and its walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.
2. Walk among the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. Don’t miss the Rainbow Arch which survived the collapse of the tower above it 200 years ago, and learn about the famous Lindisfarne Gospels.
3. Spot wildlife on a walk around the beaches.
4. Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, barefoot if you are brave enough for a great muddy foot spa experience, along Pilgrim’s Way from the mainland to the island.
5. Take a classic ‘Holy Island’ photo of the upturned boats in front of the castle.
6. Try Lindisfarne Mead at St Aidan’s Winery.
7. Drink a cup of ‘Daily Bread’ coffee from the Island’s roastery and café, Pilgrims Coffee.
8. Refuel at The Ship Inn and enjoy a glass of Holy Island gin, distilled on the island.
9. Browse the shops of Front Street.
10. Explore the rockpools at low tide on Coves Haven beach. A remote sandy spot on the northern side of the island with high sand dunes to protect you from the wind.