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
Excellent and interesting
We went as part of a boat trip which you access from Seahouses. We booked prior to going as if you wait till the day you risk not going at your desired time. The Island was stunning. The rangers were very interesting. Recommend going to the talk at the chapel as it gives you a history of the island. Only lasts 10 mins. The birds were beautiful and the rangers were able to answer all our questions. The little beach was stunning and the rangers had set up a fish tank so the children could ask questions about the sea life in there. The seals were beautiful and a highlight of the trip. A definite must on your trip to Berwick and surrounding area.
Most amazing place for Seabirds
I've been to many places to see seabirds such as Bempton cliffs but the Farne islands were the most incredible place to see the birds. The National Trust rangers on the islands were helpful and answered any questions and gave a talk at the start reminding everyone of the importance of the islands and to try and minimise the disturbance we cause. I will be going back to see the Puffins again next summer!
Great family day out
Suraiya84, Manchester, United Kingdom
We took a boat trip around all the islands and saw beautiful wildlife. Puffins gliding along the water, seals bobbing up curiously to see what the commotion is about, various seabirds including Guillemots and shags making homes in the jagged rocks. It was all lovely to see via the boat ride. Once we disembarked onto Inner Farne, we walked up the hill to the lighthouse and all around to take in the beautiful sea views which took about 15 minutes in total using the prescribed paths laid out for you. Nothing can prepare you for the strong smell of concentrated bird droppings however so beware! We visited the shop and got a souvenir, then the kids enjoyed hunting for shells on the tiny beach next to the jetty. However, there isn't much else to do. I would recommend this experience to any wildlife or bird lover as it is truly unique. My favourite being the colourfully characteristic puffins. I do however, think it works out to be fairly expensive if you are not National Trust members to pay to visit the island on top of the boat ride fee.
Fantastic and should be done
emuslushy, London, United Kingdom
Visited the Farnes twice on our visit. Once to stop on Inner Farne and the other to stop at Longstone Lighthouse. So much nature and history around. You can really get close to the birds on Inner Farne, but they are not disturbed by this. Seals were also very prevalent around Longstone Lighthouse. Not sure who was watching who!! Would recommend visiting if you are in the area. There are different trips available depending on which boat operator you use, so best to research your own idea. NT members visit free, pay for boat trip. Must show NT card at the quayside for a wristband before boarding boat.
What can i say about the farnes they are beautiful, majestic, historic, to name but a few and of course home to thousands of birds and gray seals i visit here every year without fail and it leaves you with a sence of happyness and awe it is without dought a major jewel in the northumberland crown.