Four legged friends enjoying Holy Island

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Discover Holy Island
This mysterious tidal island off Northumberland’s coast becomes inaccessible when the tide washes over its causeway. When it’s safe to cross the causeway, expect to find charming cafes, an ancient priory, and a castle that teeters on the coastline.

Cut off from the rest of the world

Holy Island is a pint-sized island that holds pubs and cafés a-plenty, coastal Lindisfarne Castle and ancient Lindisfarne Priory. 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 due to the tide. Words cannot describe the magic of The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, particularly as you cross the causeway, admiring staggering views as you go, and feel as though you are entering a secret world as you approach the island.

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.

Pick up a coffee and pastry from one of the island's cafes, such as Pilgrim's Coffee House and Roastery who roast their own coffee on-site. Or, have lunch or an evening meal in one of Holy Island's pubs and restaurants. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time to leave the island based on safe crossing times, unless you are staying overnight, of course!

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.
Holy Island Causeway

Holy Island FAQs

Holy Island is located off the Northumberland coast, an iconic island that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

There is so much to do on Holy Island, including visiting Lindisfarne Castle, an iconic fortress on the Northumberland coastline that has a dramatic history filled with Viking battles, sampling mead and learning about the life of monks at Lindisfarne Priory, exploring the shops and cafes on the island, as well as watching out for local wildlife and bird watching.

It takes approximately two hours to walk across the causeway to Holy Island. Before walking the causeway it is extremely important to check the Holy Island  tide times, as when the tide comes in the causeway is cut off by the tide twice a day, with a fast and strong incoming tide.

Visitors can stay overnight on Holy Island with a range of Holy Island hotels, dog friendly accommodations options, and Holy Island accommodation self catering cottages to choose from. From The Lindisfarne Inn to the St Coombs Farmhouse, explore accommodation in Northumberland perfect for visiting Holy Island.

Cars are allowed on Holy Island. Visitors to the island can cross the causeway, when it is safe to do so, using the Holy Island tide times by car. The island has two car parks that visitors can park their vehicles within as they explore things to do  and attractions on the island.

There is no charge to visit Holy Island itself, however should you wish to explore Lindisfarne Castle or Lindisfarne Priory there is a charge for ticket entry to these attractions. There is also a charge for those looking to visit the island by car and park their vehicle within one of its two car parks.

If visitors get stuck on Holy Island they should not attempt to cross the causeway when the incoming tide cuts it off. The incoming tide that cuts off the causeway is extremely strong and fast and in the centre of the causeway is very deep. Visitors should not cross at this time as it is not safe to do so. 

Visitors to Holy Island should only cross the causeway at safe crossing times which can be found on our Holy Island tide times page. 

If visitors get stuck on the causeway itself as they attempt to cross and require assistance from emergency services, they should contact HM Coastguard or the RNLI.

Holy Island has a number of pubs to enjoy on their visit, including The Crown and Anchor and The Ship Inn. Whether you are looking to sample a local cask ale or enjoy Sunday lunch in Northumberland, there are plenty of food and drink options on Holy Island.

Visitors looking to explore Holy Island will need a minimum of 3 hours to explore all that the island has to offer, from enjoying the Viking history of Lindisfarne Castle or events at Lindisfarne Priory. Visitors to Holy Island may choose to spend longer on the island planning a weekend break for a couple of nights, enjoying all that it has to offer, including arts and gifts shops, cafes, wildlife and bird watching.

It is safe to walk to Holy Island across the causeway at designated safe crossing times. Visitors should plan their walk to and from Holy Island using our guide to Holy Island tide times. Visitors looking to walk to Holy Island should not attempt to cross the causeway when the tide is in, as the incoming tide is very fast and strong.

The drive over the causeway to Holy Island takes approximately 10 minutes over a three mile stretch of the causeway. Visitors travelling to Holy Island by vehicle should check the Holy Island tide times to plan their visit and journey safely.

Mountain biking in purple heather
Family walk in Northumberland
Couple enjoying a boat trip
Hadrian's Wall
Surf Northumberland
Outdoor adventures in Northumberland

Make it personal

With endless experiences, it’s impossible to see and do everything Northumberland has to offer. Create a personal profile and we’ll tailor the site to show you the best and most relevant content for you.