Despite living in North East England until I was 18, and visiting regularly until my parents retired and moved away in the early 90s, I had never been to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne until our recent weekend in Northumberland. Neither had John or my friend Valerie – I went to school with her, so you can guess where she comes from. Only her husband Kenn, a southerner, had been before and that was – ahem – a few decades ago. I am ashamed. Lindisfarne, often known simply as Holy Island, is wonderful. There’s also a lot more to it than I thought. I imagined a small island with a priory, but there’s a village, a castle and more trails than we had time to do.

It’s a tidal island, so you have to be careful when you cross. We parked in the main car park (fee) and walked down to the village. Our first port of call was the priory – to reach it, we passed St Mary’s Church, to which we would return, and the statue of St Aidan. We also admired the views over to the castle.

Aidan, an Irish monk, founded the monastery of Lindisfarne around 634. It became the base for Christian evangelism in the North of England and Northumberland’s patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk here and later abbot. There’s a statue of Cuthbert within the priory grounds.

After the priory, we explored St Mary’s Church. The sculpture here is of monks carrying Cuthbert’s body.

Next, we climbed to the old Coastguard Lookout from which there were good views down to the priory and across to the castle.

A different path took us back to the village – and lunch – before we set off for the castle. Along the way, we came across this lovely building, Window on Wild Lindisfarne, part of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. John’s picture shows it better, but I rather like my iPhone silhouette of him and Kenn.

The castle approached – a steep climb up and we were in!

Lindisfarne Castle is an old fort that was converted to a holiday home by Edward Hudson, founder of Country Life magazine, in 1901. Obviously he pulled in all his connections, because the architect was Edwin Lutyens and the garden was designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

The first thing you notice in the Entrance Hall is the wind indicator, painted by Max Gill. A weather vane on the roof powers the central needle via a mechanism in the chimney and turns it in the direction of the wind. I’ve not seen anything quite like it before.

Moving into the kitchen, I was impressed at how many artefacts were lying in the open rather than behind glass or a rope barrier. I asked the guide on duty and she said this was now policy and so far no harm had been done. I was also struck by the parcel addressed to Austin Reed, which was poignant because the company had just gone into administration.

Some of the rooms were closed for conservation, but there was plenty to see. I absolutely loved this bijou castle – it must have been a joy to stay in. Not only that, the guide leaflet had such engaging stories to tell about Hudson that I think I’d have liked him too.

Before we left the castle, we spent some time on the Upper Battery which had great views over the island.

Below the castle, someone had been having fun making art from stones. The other castle you can just see across the water is Bamburgh which I’ll be taking you to in a couple of post’s time.

Finally, we walked across to the garden but it hadn’t been planted for the season yet so there wasn’t much to see. There were other trails we could have followed back to the car, but by this time there was less sun, more wind and a definite nip in the air so it was decided to take the same route back because it was quickest.

This was a wonderful day out – and remarkable cheap! The priory is administered by English Heritage and the castle by the National Trust, so our Historic Scotland and National Trust for Scotland cards got us in free. Even if you don’t have these memberships, I’d say they were well worth visiting at Β£6 and Β£7.30 respectively. Just don’t forget to check the tides…

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks – lots of walks this week ranging from Poland to Canada.


62 thoughts on “Lindisfarne

  1. hilarymb May 30, 2016 / 10:04

    Hi Anabel – wonderful telling about Lindisfarne – I was entranced donkeys years ago! I went with my father … but it was an incredibly hot year … but I don’t remember seeing much on Lindisfarne, but we went to Bamburgh too – places I need to visit again. Marvellous arrangements they seem to have got … cheers Hilary


  2. restlessjo May 30, 2016 / 10:06

    Thanks so much for sharing one of my favourite places, Anabel. It was a treat! πŸ™‚ I’ve only been a couple of times myself and always mean to go back, but you know how it is… πŸ™‚ The place has so much atmosphere! I didn’t see so much of the castle because there were quite a few people inside. Did you visit Bamburgh too? Many thanks for the link. Sunny up there today?


    • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 10:11

      Thanks Jo. Yes, we went to Bamburgh too. I thought I’d been there, but didn’t recognise the interior at all so I think I’ve only viewed it from the beach before. Still waiting for the sun!


      • restlessjo May 30, 2016 / 10:21

        Same here, on both counts. πŸ™‚ Consoling myself with the blogs and the fact that we’re avoiding Bank Holiday traffic. Would be nice to get in the garden though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 10:26

          Sun coming out now! We’re expecting a friend soon, so waiting in till he arrives. Had 2 great sunny days so far though.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. ms6282 May 30, 2016 / 10:31

    I’m not entirely surprised that you and your friend hadn’t been before. Our relatives from Sunderland rarely drift up there. You don’t always appreciate what’s on your doorstep.
    A few years ago we stayed in a cottage on the coast about halfway between Bamburgh and Holy Island. A short walk across the dunes and we were on the deserted beach from where you could see both of them. A lovely, relatively unknown part of the country.


  4. Su Leslie May 30, 2016 / 10:37

    It looks lovely Anabel. Definitely on my must-visit list for next time I’m in the UK.


      • Su Leslie June 1, 2016 / 00:13

        I drove from Edinburgh to Newcastle a couple of years ago with every intention of visiting, but realised very quickly that I hadn’t allowed nearly enough time and had to keep driving. Britain has so many wonderful places that I want to visit and wish I’d made more effort to when I lived there. Your blog is adding to my list!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. findingnyc May 30, 2016 / 10:46

    This looks like a wonderful place to visit! The architecture is beautiful, and the entire island looks like it has such character. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure – your photos of everything were great.


    • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 11:33

      Thank you – it is spectacular and I’m kicking myself for missing out on it all those years.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Birgit May 30, 2016 / 12:15

    I never heard of this place but what a beautiful place to visit and get away from the hustle and bustle. Some great pictures as always


    • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 12:20

      Thanks Birgit. It’s well known in England which is why I’m so ashamed not to have visited before!


  7. Pit May 30, 2016 / 14:09

    Thanks, Anabel, for taking us around Lindisfarne. πŸ™‚
    Have a great week,


  8. susan@onesmallwalk May 30, 2016 / 15:56

    Anabel – such a lovely place. I wondered about the tides – do you drive over on a raised road ?


    • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 18:30

      Yes, it’s a causeway that’s only uncovered at low tide. If the tide comes in when you’re over there you would just have to stay the night! But they do publicise the times quite well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. TanGental May 30, 2016 / 20:51

    being a southerner! I’ve been twice but not since 2004. It sounds like it has moved on and it was good then. I suppose it’s like me and St Paul’s; I’ve been in once and that was twenty five plus years ago.


    • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 21:18

      I suppose you always think you have loads of time to go, then you never get round to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lori L MacLaughlin May 30, 2016 / 21:02

    Just beautiful! Love the photos, as always, particularly the castle and the ruins. Definitely a place to visit if I ever get over there again.


  11. anotherday2paradise May 30, 2016 / 21:31

    Thanks for the tour, Anabel. It looks like great place to visit, and I enjoyed your photos very much. The only Lindisfarne I was acquainted with was the pop group by that name. My favourite song of theirs was ‘Run For Home’. πŸ™‚


    • Anabel Marsh May 30, 2016 / 21:35

      I had seen them before, but not the island they are named after! I’m a Fog on the Tyne girl myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. lisadorenfest May 30, 2016 / 23:00

    Wow, wow, wow with an extra wow thrown in for the castle. I want to visit here.


  13. goannasnake May 31, 2016 / 10:47

    Isn’t it a shame we don’t travel in our own back yards more often.


      • goannasnake May 31, 2016 / 12:01

        Same. It took us more than 20 years to get to a national park that’s only a few hours drive away but in that time I’ve been to the UK 3 times.


  14. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor May 31, 2016 / 19:15

    Lindisfarne is a magical place! Glad you finally got to see it. We used to have annual memberships in Historic Scotland and National Trust for Scotland. So worth it!


  15. T Smithers May 31, 2016 / 21:37

    If you keep adding places to my “must go” list, I’m going to be in the UK for a lot longer than 4 years (not like that’s a bad thing) πŸ˜‰


  16. RuthsArc June 2, 2016 / 09:35

    A fascinating post. I haven’t visited either so thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


  17. Liesbet June 2, 2016 / 22:35

    What an amazing place. The castle on the rock is beyond picturesque. And, you taught me a new word: “priory”. I love all the culture, nature and history you are sharing on your blog, Anabel! And Lindisfarne for sure is a destination I would like to check out one day.


    • Anabel Marsh June 2, 2016 / 22:39

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it – and learnt something…


  18. Beth Walsh's Photoblog June 4, 2016 / 12:49

    What a wonderful place to visit. That is one unique holiday home. They don’t make them like that anymore! πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking me along on the tour Anabel.


    • Anabel Marsh June 4, 2016 / 14:20

      Glad you enjoyed it, Beth. I am definitely envious of the holiday home.


  19. Lemonpath June 5, 2016 / 00:47

    What a wonderful island and castle, I miss historical buildings living in New Zealand.


    • Anabel Marsh June 5, 2016 / 07:29

      Yes, I would miss buildings this ancient too. But I’m sure there are compensations!


  20. inesephoto June 5, 2016 / 15:41

    Beautiful post, Anabel! History, views, your photography and writings made my day.


  21. joylovestravel June 6, 2016 / 11:58

    Looks gorgeous, we’ve never been – never got around to it even though it is a place that intrigues me. Your photos show it off really well Anabel.


  22. rosemaylily2014 June 6, 2016 / 14:53

    Have always thought Lindesfarne would be worth visiting Anabel – my dad has been there and recommends it too. Lovely photos – had no idea there was so much to see here. The history is fascinating too. Think you’d want to go on a good day as it must get so wild in stormy weather!


    • Anabel Marsh June 6, 2016 / 15:07

      I didn’t know either, or maybe I’d have been there long before now! Agree about the weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Ann Coleman June 14, 2016 / 17:36

    That looks like a wonderful place to visit! Where exactly is it? We are hoping to visit England and Scotland one day!


    • Anabel Marsh June 14, 2016 / 17:45

      It’s in Northumberland which is the North East of England, just south of the Scottish Border.


  24. jazzfeathers June 16, 2016 / 08:42

    It does look like a beautiful day. Such an amazing place.
    And I love the castel. I love wisiting places that are preserved the way they used to be. It’s like going back in time πŸ™‚


  25. darwinontherocks January 1, 2017 / 14:41

    I wish I had the time to visit the monastery ! You had beautiful weather !! Thanks for sharing these pictures with us. I can’t wait to go back there to visit what I have missed the first time πŸ™‚


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