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
A must for any nature lover
lasder99, London, United Kingdom
If you are ok in small boats ( it can be a bit choppy!) there is the opportunity to get up close to a range of seabirds who, on the whole, view people as a mobile obstruction rather than something to be feared. That is, of course, excepting the Terns, who view people as a target so a hat is a must ! Great to take older children (8 or9 +) who are interested in nature as the spectacle of so many birds arriving at speed from all directions is worth every penny.
Seabirds right in front of you
DrCave, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
There aren't many places where you can get this close to seabirds. On a day trip to the Farne Islands you can expect to get very close to large numbers of all kinds of birds as well as seals.
aellituv, Manchester, United Kingdom
Had an amazing time to see the birds and puffins on the island Water was a bit choppy but otherwise a really great trip
These are a fantastic place to see seals in the wild. We picked a boat trip on a calm day and were fantastically rewarded with close up seals and pups. You don't see too many birds this time of year, you have to come in late spring or early summer really for this. But a great time of year to see seals with pups See photo and note this was taken with an average phone not a fancy camera. This will give you some idea of what it is possible to see.
Amazing photography opportunities
owsphil, Kidderminster, United Kingdom
I have been fortunate enough to visit The Farnes 5 times. I have been unfortunate enough not to have visited more. For the nature and/or photography enthusiast the place is amazing with Inner Farne and Staple Island being a haven for Puffin as well as Razor Bills, Guillemot, Shags, Gulls and Terns. Landing on Staple is not always possible and depends upon the swell on the day but even if you can only make Inner Farne it is well worth the trip. Ensure that you have a hat as the Artic Terns that next near and on the pathway WILL peck at your head if you are within the vicinity of their nests.