• Visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Holy Island

You’ll find Holy Island in the North Sea waters of the Northumberland Coast AONB. An ancient causeway bridges the gap between the mainland and the island, but only twice daily. Walk the distance when the tides allow, always checking the tide times before going. Although a small island at just two square miles, between the historic Priory, coastal castle and charming village, a day or two spent here will give you no shortage of things to do. Whether you’re journeying to Holy Island to enjoy its natural tranquillity or take in its natural beauty, there are countless things to do, and we've listed the best of them below.

Walk Across the Pilgrim’s Way

Aptly named due to its legacy as a pilgrim site, follow in the footsteps of centuries of monks that have been making this crossing since the 11th century. The Pilgrim’s Way takes you from mainland Northumberland, across its AONB coastline, and onto Holy Island on foot. 

Only accessible at low tide, time your crossing right – many advise setting off two hours before low tide as walking the causeway will take you around two hours in total. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the island’s history, making the crossing as the monks did is the best way to start.

If you’re a little stuck about where to walk, just look for the large wooden poles in the mud flats to direct your way. Before the road was constructed in 1954, the poles would guide those making the crossing and have become an iconic landmark in Northumbrian heritage. 

A man walking the Pilgrim's Way causeway towards Holy Island
A view of Lindisfarne Castle from the coastline beneath

Discover Lindisfarne Castle

From its Iron Age fortifications to snippets of life during King Edward’s reign, Lindisfarne Castle is the perfect destination for a historic adventure for all ages.

It’s an iconic landmark that’s draped in history and dates back to the 1500’s, though it wasn’t discovered until 1901. What’s unique about it is that it’s built on a volcanic mound to protect the castle against invasions. meaning it plays host to some amazing views. Seriously, you won’t find any coastal scenes quite like it.

The castle gives you a perfect panoramic view of the island bay. You can pass a lot of time walking around this historic site and taking in some of the lovely architecture. If you want, you can walk there from the village and make a day trip out of it!

Visit Lindisfarne Priory

You’ll find Lindisfarne Priory in the centre of the village, quite near the village square.

This 12th-century priory was once the centre of Anglo Saxon Christianity. Though a ruin now, it was a place of devout worship and Christian pilgrimage, and the home of St. Cuthbert and St. Oswald. 

Given Lindisfarne’s North Sea location, the Priory was also vulnerable to lootings by Viking raiders throughout the eighth century. 

Wander these poignant remains to follow in the footsteps of both Christians and Vikings of centuries past. Although all sublime, visitors are particularly drawn to the skyward-spiralling “Rainbow Bridge”. It’s namesake, the mythical Norse “Bifrost” that bridged the realm between Earth and Asgard, the home of the gods.  

The Priory’s museum and visitor centre give an even deeper insight into its history, and so we highly recommend it to those who wish to know more. 

Lindisfarne Priory

Explore the Village

The village of Holy Island, on the west of the island, is home to charming shops, pubs, and restaurants. If you’re looking for great coffee, we love Pilgrims Coffee and for some fresh ice cream, head to Pilgrims Gelato. After a day of exploring Lindisfarne, it’s natural you’ll have worked up an appetite, and for that we recommend The Ship Inn, popular for it’s cosy pub feel and beautiful beer garden. 

From the village, you can follow a network of footpaths and trails that lead to the island’s beaches and landmarks. They’re a great way to explore the fascinating geography of Holy Island, characterised by tidal wetlands, dramatic coastline, salt marshes and sand dunes. These varied landscapes and the surrounding waters provide homes to nesting seals, wildfowl and Terns that migrate between here and Africa. In fact, for its natural beauty and diversity, the island is part of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.


Three stained glass windows from Lindisfarne Priory
Image attribute: David Edkins

Holy Island’s Spiritual Past

In the 7th and 8th centuries, Holy Island became central to Christianity in England. It was home to two of Britain’s most famed saints: St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert. At the request of King Oswald of Northumbria, St. Aidan converted the area from Paganism to Christianity and founded the island’s monastery. The monastery is now famous for its beautifully ornate manuscripts, the Lindisfarne Gospels, which you can see on display at the British Library.

The miracle of St. Cuthbert is fascinating. Eleven years after his death, monks opened his tomb to find his body had not decayed, and in the years that followed miracles of healing were reported on the island. Since then, Lindisfarne has become one of the most important pilgrimage centres in the UK.

In rural areas of Northumberland, you’ll often see people riding around on horseback. It’s a popular pastime here, and there are some lovely places to go for a ride. Holy Island is no exception and provides a stunningly natural setting for a horse ride. When the tide is low, you can gallop across the beach for miles! It makes for an amazingly romantic evening for couples. If you’ve never ridden a horse before, then don’t you worry. There’s a local stable on the island that offers lessons and beach rides for people that don’t know what they’re doing.

Enjoy Some Horse Riding

Woman preparing horse before a ride around Holy Island
All that’s left for you to do is find your perfect stay. Our Beadnell apartments are just a 30-minute drive to the Holy Island Causeway. They also offer great access to more of Northumberland’s delights, including Seahouses and Bamburgh. Book now for an unforgettable holiday experience.