Saturday, 11 April 2015

Holy Island

Lindisfarne, more commonly known as Holy Island is just off  the northeast coast near Berwick upon Tweed. It has a population of around 140 people and is accessed via a causeway. 

To make it more 'exciting' we told Thomas if we didn't get across the causeway in time we'd have to be rescued by the RAF helicopter. He spent the next few minutes in a state of high alert and we got a running commentary on the depth of the sea.

This is the hotel we stayed in. We'd booked in for one night but I'd have been quite happy staying here for several. Being cut off from civilisation for several hours a day was a dream come true. 
The hotel is situated right next to the priory ruins. The weather was lovely and we spent a couple of hours just sat soaking up the sun and having a tipple or in Mark's case two or three....
Thomas bought a water pistol from the Village Store and he spent a lot of time squirting to death imaginary enemies hiding behind the trees. 
After a bite of lunch which included crab sandwiches, we decided to walk around the island.

The island store is just outside the entrance to the hotel. Their food stock value is probably about £250 at most and as long as you don't need anything more than a drink, sandwich, ice-cream etc. you'll be fine. The shopkeeper was really nice, as were all the locals we spoke to. But then, much to Amy's embarrassment, I'm known for talking to anybody and generally find people are happy to converse with me. 

Across from the store is Lindisfarne Mead. Half of the building sells souvenirs the other half sells alcohol including the islands famous mead. It's not to our taste though, so we bought a bottle of their toffee liqueur instead which is delicious.

The building next to Lindisfarne Mead is the church. At the moment the stained glass window is being restored, hence the scaffolding. This is what it looks like inside. Double this space and that's the size of the church.  

Around the corner is the island's primary school. Four children attend, can you imagine that, although if the weather is good they travel to the mainland to have lessons with children at Lowick, which is 8 times bigger with 33 pupils on its register!
A stones throw from the school is the village post office where as well as buying stamps you can stop for a drink and something to eat. 

And this is the 'High Street'. There is a pub, a cafe, a couple of souvenir/ice-cream shops and a National Trust shop.

There is also a small art gallery run by the artist and his brother. Mark treated me to this. It's called 'Precious'. We took Amy and Thomas down to the cove after our evening meal and the colours of the sunset are spot on.
The main attraction though is the castle on the hill. Walk down the High Street and the road takes you straight there. Or if you're feeling a bit lazy there's a shuttle bus you can catch.

The island has 650,000 visitors a year but by 2.30pm people start to leave so as not to get cut off by the tide.Come 3pm the island suddenly becomes deserted apart from the few people who are staying overnight and this is when you can really appreciate how peaceful and tranquil it is. 

There really is nothing to do on the island, (bliss), and most places shut shop when the day visitors have left. But this made for some relaxing 'fun time' playing board games which Thomas loves.
And a walk to the store for an ice-cream was a must especially as the sun was shining.
Followed by a leisurely meander around the Gospel Gardens. Based on the 7C Lindisfarne Gospels the garden was initially created at the Chelsea Flower Show where it won Silver Medal. It was then re-created on Holy Island.
Back at the hotel Amy and Thomas decided a lie down on the bed was necessary. I think all the fresh air had knocked them out. This is the 'view to the left' from our bedroom window which is the centre of Holy Island.
And this is our head-on view of the harbour and the castle.
After our evening meal we took Amy and Thomas down to the beach as the sun was setting. We had a stroll along the waters edge and then a look around the churchyard and abbey ruins before returning to finish off a bottle of wine we'd ordered with our meal. By 10pm we were all tucked up in bed.
The following morning I woke up to this.  Unusually I was the first up so I sat in the window with a cup of tea watching the sunrise and the fishing boats go out and return with crabs for the islands famous sandwiches.
After a lovely breakfast we decided to stroll down to the castle. The walk takes you along the coast which is beautiful and there are lots of benches to sit on and take in the views.
Just to give you an idea of how close everything is this is our hotel halfway on the walk to the castle. 
It was a beautiful morning and the walk took us about 20 minutes each way at a very slow pace. We definitely went at the right time. On the way back we were like salmon swimming against the tide of visitors who had just arrived on a day trip. There must have been about 200+ people swarming to the castle.

Although we didn't go in the castle Thomas had fun climbing up to the outside, until he slipped and hurt his bum!
We headed back to the hotel and had a leisurely coffee in the garden then it was time to leave for the next adventure of Edinburgh and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Mark and I have decided we could quite happily live on Holy Island but as much as they enjoyed it Amy and Thomas declared it was too quiet for them, which makes it even more appealing to us! 

I do know that at some point we'll return and I definitely intend to stay longer next time. 



  1. Lovely pictures! It's years since I've been to Holy Island, you've reminded me how beautiful it is :)

  2. It is really beautiful isn't it. It's one of those places I want to tell everybody about but at the same time keep it as our secret. xx

  3. Great pictures (those of the sunset and sunrise are stunning). I've visited Holy Island a few times over the years (my dad took me the first time when I was a little girl and it bucketed down!) but have never stayed there.

  4. It's beautiful isn't it. You're lucky to live so near. It took us nearly 4 hours to get there but that makes for a great excuse to stay over. xx

  5. one of my favourite places x

  6. one of my favourite places x

  7. It's beautiful isn't it. It's a shame we don't live nearer, we'd never be away. xx