Lindisfarne, AKA Holy Island, Travel Guide
This tiny island lies off the northeast coast of England and is home to just 160 people, but attracts many thousands of visitors every year. Also simply known as Holy Island, Lindisfarne has long been an important religious site as a well as a picturesque part of the UK’s coast. It is home to the ruins of a medieval priory and a 16th century castle, as well as other interesting sites and curiosities.
Lindisfarne is also famous for its causeway, allowing visitors and residents access to and from the island when the tide is out. It’s very important to check the times of daily tides, as well as the weather, as it’s possible to become stranded if you’re not careful. You can walk or drive onto the island, and you can reach it in just over an hour’s drive from Newcastle on the A1 to Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Why Visit Lindisfarne?
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a truly unique place to visit, and has a remarkable history for such a small scrap of land. Cut off from the mainland twice a day, the island features a small village next to the famous Lindisfarne Priory.
This priory was once at the very heart of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times, spreading its teachings to the ancient kingdoms of Britain on the mainland.
Probably the most famous artefact associated with the Holy Island is the Lindisfarne Gospels, an 8th century manuscript of the Biblical gospels in Latin that feature a stunning collection of illustrations.
Later on in that same century the island was raided by Vikings, an event that is widely held as marking the beginning of the Viking Age, leading to the decades of raids on the coasts of Britain.
The island is also home to a picturesque castle built in the 16th century, and later renovated and altered in the early 20th century to create a peaceful retreat.
It was built to defend English ships sheltering in the harbour during skirmishes with Scotland, and was visited by the future George V and Queen Mary in 1908.
What to See on Lindisfarne
The island is famed for its calm and spiritual nature, as well as its historic sites, and is the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring.
The Lindisfarne Priory can be found on the edge of the village, next to the current parish church. You can see the elegant arches and pillars of the old priory, built in the 11th century, as well as the sleeping quarters of the monks who lived there. You can also find out about the vicious Viking raids that took place on the island and in Northumbria, and the lasting effects they had.
The castle is a picturesque site, perched on its rock above the sea in an idyllic location. Though it was built in the 1500s, the castle was renovated by the renowned Arts and Crafts architect Edwin Lutyens, and today you can see the interior fitted out with period items, much as it might have looked in his day. You can also enjoy the stunning views from the top of the battlements, giving you a panorama of the Northumbrian coast It may be a small island, but the local community provides a warm welcome to visitors, and after exploring the castle and other sites, you can relax outside the pub and take in the views, as well as sample some of the local seafood.
Image credit: Onenortheast
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