• The Farne Islands

    An archipelago off the Northumberland coast.

Must-See Northumberland Islands

Cut adrift from the mainland between the shorelines of Seahouses and Bamburgh lies a archipelago of around 20 islands, the Farne Islands. This National Nature Reserve is a breeding colony for seals and seabirds, with dolphins and whales occasionally stopping by too. Jump on one of the regular boat trips that run between March and October, or see what lies beneath with a diving trip. This underwater adventure will give you unique experience with the marine life and shipwrecks that surround these islands. Considering a visit to the Farne Islands? Pack your camera and sense of adventure, and get ready to be swept away by the natural beauty of the Farne Islands.

Visit The Bird Sanctuary On Staple Island

The Farne Islands are teeming with nesting birds, some of which you won’t find elsewhere on the British coastline. 

While all of the Farne Islands are perfect for birdwatching, Staple Island’s sanctuary is the cream of the crop. Between May and July, the sanctuary is brimming with action and, as it’s breeding season for many of the birds, you’ll likely spot some adorable hatchlings.

Across the Farne Islands, between May and July, keep an eye out for: 

  • Atlantic Puffins
  • Arctic Terns
  • Razorbills
  • Common Guillemots
  • Northern Gannets
  • European Shags
  • Common Eiders

(to name a few) 

Guilliemots on the Farne Islands

Discover Longstone Island’s lighthouse, home to an extraordinary tale that has captivated generations of

The walls of the lighthouse hold the story of Grace Darling and her father, who heroically saved nine lives from the Forfarshire shipwreck in 1838. With such a gripping past, it’s no surprise that the lighthouse still stands tall, even after its decommissioning in 1990. As a visitor, you can take a glimpse into Grace’s world and see her humble bedroom from where she spotted the shipwrecked sailors clinging to the rocks. 

Not to mention, the views from the lighthouse are breathtaking. Iit offers a mesmerising view of the neighbouring islands and the Northumberland coast. 

See The Lighthouse On Longstone Island

A view of Longstone Lighthouse from the waters of the Farne Islands
A lone grey seal pup at the Farne Islands

Spot Atlantic Seals On The Outer Farnes

Embark on a breathtaking adventure to the Outer Farnes – a collection of small islands that are less populated than the rest. But don’t expect to see any human life here! 

Instead, prepare to be amazed by the thousands of Atlantic grey seals that call these islands their home. 

Seals live on the Farne Islands year-round, but they’re much harder to spot in winter. Numbers start to rise around March, and by summer the curious creatures are everywhere! If you want to see some pups, the best time of year is autumn. In September and especially October, you’ll find around 1,000 adorable balls of white fur sunbathing on the crags of the Outer Farnes. 

Make sure to always watch seals responsibly! Check out this handy guide from Visit Northumberland for more information. 

As well as enjoying the local fauna, exploring these secluded islands will leave you in awe. Take a leisurely stroll around the islands, and let the stunning natural scenery take your breath away.

Experience Some Scuba Diving

The Farne Islands is the ultimate destination for scuba diving enthusiasts, with people flocking to the islands every year for the diving, alone. There’s a host of diving companies to choose from, such as the Deep Blue Pirates and Sovereign Diving. Plus, with underwater visibility of up to 20m, you’re guaranteed to have a thrilling experience. 

From colourful fish and local seals to historic shipwrecks, you’ll be amazed by what lies beneath. Such as the famous Somali, a 6810 tonne passenger cargo steamer that was bombed in 1941 by the German Air Force during World War II. If you want to dive with seals, your best chance is in September and October. 

Whether you’re an experienced diver or a beginner, the Farne Islands has something to offer to everyone, and there are plenty of day returns available from either Seahouses or Bamburgh.

A diver underwater with a seal at the Farne Islands

How To Get To The Farne Islands

Your starting point will be from Seahouses on the Northumberland coast. Here, you’ll board a boat that takes around an hour. The Farne Islands are owned by the National Trust, and you’ll have the choice of using one of three boat companies by purchasing your ticket at the National Trust trailer on the harbour. They are Serenity Farne Island Boat ToursBilly Shiel Boat Trips or the Golden Gate Farne Island Tours

The tours only operate from March to October, and landing the boat is up to the discretion of the boatmen. If the weather is particularly bad, the National Trust will close the islands to visitors.

As you leave the harbour, keep your eyes peeled for seals, dolphins, and even whales! You’ll be heading towards a cluster of rocky islands that are teeming with wildlife, from puffins and terns to guillemots and razorbills.

Sadly, no dogs are allowed on the island so as not to disturb the wildlife, but you can let your furry friends accompany you on the ferry ride to the island. 

There is a fee to enter the islands which varies between peak and low seasons. It is £8.50-£13 for adults and £4.25-£6.50 for children. But National Trust members are exempt from the entrance fee. This does not include the charge for the boatmen. 

Just a short boat journey from the mainland, the Farne Islands offer some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife available in the UK. No trip to Northumberland is complete without a visit.