Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle sit in the extreme northeast of England, about 11 miles south of Scotland, just off the coast of Northumberland. We were headed to Scotland for the weekend and heard about the castle, so of course, we planned a stop to explore.
Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle
The island was granted to the church in AD 634 and the monastery and community were established, playing a roll in the adoption of Christianity to northern England. The history of Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle continues with a lot of blood, war battles, take overs and the monastery falling. Lindisfarne Monastery was also the site of the first Viking raiding on a monastery in 793. It has also served as a Coast Card base and Garrison for a time. Finally it was gifted to the National Trust in 1944. Now it is a lovely island with a cute village and historical ruins on the island. You can find more detailing information on the website Castles Forts Battles. It’s quite interesting.
The Way In
Travel on A1, from the north or south, to access the causeway to the island east of Beal. Getting onto Holy Island is a matter of timing, as it is a tidal island and can only be accessed at low tide. There is a paved roadway that is covered during high tide, making access impossible in a regular vehicle.
We did not know this fact and it was high tide when we arrived at the causeway on the way north. We decided to wait until our way back. As you can see in the photo above, the road goes right into the water. Be cautious and read The Holy Island of Lindisfarne’s travel page prior to visiting.
On the way back, we planned our trip so we arrived at low tide and we were easily able to drive across, although it was kind of an odd experience.
Holy Island Village
The Holy Island village is home to just over 160 people, but hosts 650,000 visitors per year. It wasn’t crowded the day we went, in early May, but I’m certain going in the summer time would not have the same results. There are cute shops, restaurants, a church and cemetery to explore in the village. There are also homes you can view from the outside.
If you plan on staying more than one day and plan in advance, there are about 40 rooms to rent throughout the village. These are also good in case you miss the tide in your exploring and can’t get across the causeway.
The Lindisfarne Priory are the ruins of the monastery that was built about 1400 years ago.
In 1534, Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church of England and closed and took control of all of the wealth of the monastery. Lindisfarne Priory was used as storage rooms for a time after. Quite sad actually.
Around the Island
We stayed and walked around the island quite a long time, although I could have easily stayed for a few days. Dang my husband’s job anyway. He had to be to work the next day.
The island is quite beautiful and I enjoyed every minute of it.
If you visit Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle, be sure to bring some warm clothes. It was cold and windy the day we went, although the sun was out most of the day.
Lindisfarne Castle is quite impressive from a distance. It is intact for the most part and was actually updated to a “fashionable residence” in 1901 when Edward Hudson purchased it to live.
These are photos of the inside of the lower area.
I love brick and the different colors of this brick was quite enchanting to me.
I told you above that you need a special vehicle to get across the causeway at high tide. This is one of those vehicles. See the air intake going up the front of the vehicle? That’s it.
I really, really loved visiting Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle and could easily stay for a few days and just walk around.
On the way off the island, it was my turn to drive, on what is the wrong side of the road to me. It was pretty weird and I didn’t really like it. As you can see, it freaked me out, although I may have been being a bit dramatic.
Have you ever been to Northern England? If so, did you visit Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle? If you are planning a trip to England, I highly recommend you visit here and also Castleton. Both are quite wonderful.
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