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
Caught a boat from billy sheils at the harbour in Seahouse The weather was poor but the boat ride was quite calm. It was camera heaven if the boat had sunk the insurance claims would of been 10s of thousands lol. It had been raining the day before so the ground was a little slippy. The terns did not disappoint as they attacked everyone so hat or umbrella is good. The birds were wonderful the puffins, shag, gullimot, gulls, to name a few. Had a wonderful two hours heaven there
Fabulous bird and seal life
Ian K, Alnwick, United Kingdom
Get the little ferry, and be prepared for choppy seas en route to wonderful sights. Seals abound, and the birds are multitudinous. The awks and terns are upstaged by the famous puffins - go during the Spring and early Summer nesting season for the best times.
Great Photo Day
Roger M, Stoney Stanton, United Kingdom
Booked 3 nights in a local guest house intending to visit the Farne Islands on the first day so booked the trip with Billy Shiels, day onetime islands were closed so managed to do it on the 2dnd day, it's a photographers dream, wall to wall Puffins, Arctic Terns, Razor Bills, Guillemots etc. Fantastic trip.
A Magic landscape on the edge of the Earth
Anthony D, Berwick upon Tweed, United Kingdom
If you're in North Northumberland, a boat-trip to the Farne Islands must be on the "Do not Miss" list. A number of boats operate out of Seahouses Harbour, each doing a slightly different itinerary. Remember if you land on one of the National Trust islands (Staple or Inner Farne) you have to pay the NT a landing-fee, unless you are a member. Also, landings cannot be guaranteed, depending on wind, swell and tide. I personally recommend the trip that takes in Longstone Island (Trinity House, not NT...) because you get to visit the lighthouse where Grace Darling lived. Here, you really do feel on the edge of the world... The best time to visit the Farnes is May-June, when the seabirds are nesting on the cliffs. Puffins are the local speciality, but there are thousands of Guillemots and Razorbills also. Later in Summer, whales and dolphins should be looked-for. There is a large population of White-Beaked Dolphins locally, and Minke Whales are regularly seen on passage.
SEALS AND PUFFINS - DIVERS PARADISE!
JulieMcK61, Tetbury, United Kingdom
Apparently the best place in the world to see seals, and I think they could be right. So many seals, so friendly and obviously use to divers in the water. #they were so friendly, coming right up to us so we could touch them. What an experience. In-between dives, sitting on the boat, the bird life is incredible and great to see puffins everywhere, not close enough to see their coloured beaks, but to see fat little birds like mini penguins flying through the air, was fabulous, and of course they don't come inland so the only time you will see them is if you go out to somewhere like that.