One of the UK's best wildlife experiences is just a boat ride away - the Farne Islands lying off the coast of North Northumberland.
In summer the Farne Islands are 'home' for over 100,000 pairs of breeding seabirds, including 55,000+ pairs of puffins. When the birds leave in late summer the Islands become the pupping grounds for the second largest colony of grey seals in England.
Then there is the human story with St Cuthbert and Grace Darling taking centre stage, whilst the view from the Farne Islands back towards Bamburgh Castle rival any seen from the mainland.
The Farne Islands are open to visitors from 28th March to the 1st Nov.
The best time to visit, for the breeding seabirds that is, being mid-April through to late July, when landing is possible on Inner Farne, Staple Island, and Longstone.
The seal pups can be viewed from visitor boats from late October until mid-December.
Car parking available
In Seahouses - Pay and Display, non National Trust
Film / TV location
Absolutely the highlight of the holiday
tonyd150, Stowmarket, United Kingdom
Went on the Billy Shiel's trip to Inner Farne. The day was pretty cold (tip - take plenty of clothes!) and as the weather the day before had been poor it was VERY busy - we were bumped off our booked boat and had to wait for the next one. However it was definitely worth the wait to get up really close to seals and seabirds on the cliffs together with a very knowledegable commentary from the boatman. On the approach to the landing on Inner Farne I was far from sure it would be enjoyable give the hoards of people on the island but this was immediately forgotten on landing with so many birds inches away from the path - and some on it! Getting mobbed by arctic terns is an experience I will not forget in a hurry and getting inches from a shag and its young on a nest was amazing. And I didn't even mention the Puffins......
A must attraction if you visit Northumberland!
Ardementozo, Muscat Governorate, Oman
I have booked Billy Shiel's Boat Trips for a full day tour around Farne Islands for myself and my mother with landing at Inner Farne Island. The Island is full of terns, atlantic puffins, shags and during your boat trip you would come across gray seals swimming and sunbathing by the rocky shores of staple island. Book ahead if you want to secure your seats and if possible, visit it during end of June and Mid August to see the puffin chicks.
Bring a camera and lots of batteries!
Tony H, Northumberland, United Kingdom
Beautiful location. Proliferation of bird life. Many common species, some rarer, all beautiful to see in their natural habitat. Take a camera and lots of spare batteries, you'll need them. Better on a sunny day, obviously!
Dave P, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Took an all day tour that allows 2 hours on Staple and 2 hours on Inner Farne. Each island has a different character, but Inner Farne has the terns. Plenty of breeding birds to see on each island. Make sure to bring something to eat and drink as there are no supplies on the islands. Inner Farne does have toilets, but you do have to run the gauntlet of the terns to reach them.
Farne Islands visit.
What a beautiful place. Highly recommended for any nature lover. Highlights being the Puffins, Arctic and Sandwich Terns, Shags, Eider ducks and Seals. It is very weather dependant though. Free for National trust members but reasonable day passes which have to be purchased in conjunction with one of the local boat excursions.