This pint-sized island holds pubs and cafés a-plenty,
a coastal castle
and an ancient priory that are all waiting to be discovered. Always check safe crossing times before visiting Holy Island, as it becomes separated from the rest of the world and completely inaccessible twice a day.
This place of worship, tranquillity and breath-taking beauty was the home of St Cuthbert, who allegedly held the power of spiritual healing. Cruise across the causeway and you’ll find
the 12th century Lindisfarne Priory
, the epicentre of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times and once the home of St Oswald. Ransacked by marauding Viking raiders in the 8th century, the evocative ruins of Lindisfarne Priory include the famous ‘rainbow bridge’ which spirals skywards with the ghost of a long-vanished tower.
Perched on a rocky plateau overlooking the island sits Lindisfarne Castle, which holds its own history predominantly marked by military defence. From around 1570 onwards, garrisons of soldiers were placed here to man weapons and keep their eyes on the horizon for potential trouble. Based on the impeccable condition of the castle when it was discovered in 1901, it is thought that the military history here was a relatively quiet one. Today,
National Trust look after the castle so you can enjoy the fabulous architecture and the striking sea views.
Holy Island remains a place of pilgrimage today, and is the final destination of long distance walking route and one of Scotland’s Great Trails, the St Cuthbert’s Way. Take things in your stride with a guided walk across the causeway, or take a look at Walks on Holy Island
for some route ideas for exploring independently.
As well as the wealth of history within its tidal walls, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne has an exciting array of wildlife. Its island status protects tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and dunes which together form the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. Look out for wildfowl in the autumn and wading birds over winter on the reserve. Plus, spot pale-bellied brent geese flying in from Svalbard (Spitsbergen) to spend the winter on Holy Island and grey seals bobbing in the waters and sunbathing on the sands.
A word of caution: Be sure to check for safe crossing times on the causeway's notice board before journeying to Holy Island. Berwick Tourist Information Centre has full details of both the tides and bus service to the island.