Mystic Lindisfarne: Exploring the Holy Island’s Magic

Table of Contents

My Weekend Getaway

Whenever I go to Edinburgh I take a few short train trips to different places. A friend suggested that I visit Lindisfarne Island or the Holy Island in the northeast coast of Northumberland.

How to get to Lindisfarne

I took a 45 minute train ride from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed and then a 20 minute taxi ride (when the tide was low)to the B & B on the island.

Edinburgh to Lindisfarne by bus: You can take a bus that goes from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Lindisfarne and then cross over by taxi.

You can walk over but you will have to give yourself plenty of time in between the tides.

The tides

Lindisfarne poster showing the danger of the tides. A cartoon of a man in a car that is on a flooded causeway
Check the tides!

The tides

About Lindisfarne, Holy Island

Lindisfarne is a tidal island, meaning access is limited at certain times of the day. During high tide, you can’t leave or enter the island. In the evening, after the day visitors have left, the island becomes wonderfully quiet and peaceful.

Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, was a center of Celtic Christianity. It was founded by an Irish monk from the Isle of Iona and is considered one of the holiest Anglo-Saxon sites. The island is renowned for its pilgrimages.

Where to stay in Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne Hotel, brick building beautiful blue sky
Fantastic hotel on Lindisfarne!

Lindisfarne Hotel

I highly recommend the Lindisfarne Hotel, a family-run hotel. It serves a great breakfast, and the owners are very helpful and friendly. The hotel is clean, and my room had tons of light. I loved it!

The hotel owners gave me a map of the island, several walking suggestions and even told me where to go for the best sunset views and sunrise views. I felt welcome and well taken care of.

What to do on a solo trip?

Stay active when traveling solo! I love to walk around and take photos at different times of the day and night. Bring a sketchbook to document what you see or to doodle for fun. Even stick figures can make for amusing diary entries!

Walking on Lindisfarne

There are two or three well-marked long walks around the island. I managed to get lost, but that’s my style—I have no sense of direction, but I love to walk!

Have you ever tried walking through dunes? They don’t have any signs or markers, which makes the walk feel wonderfully wild and mysterious.

Dunes on Lindisfarne Island, narrow path in between grassy dunes, bright blue sky
Dunes on Lindisfarne

Dunes on Lindisfarne Island

I was told that it is very easy to get disoriented when walking through the dunes, so I did my best to walk in a straight line and made mental notes of what I saw. However, when I returned from the beach, I couldn’t find my way back. 

There was a constant wind, but it was warmish, and I loved the sounds around me even though they felt eerie, and I was getting a bit afraid of not finding my way back. 

Author walking on lower part of dunes, wearing a hooded coat, high grass and blue sky

Happy to find my way back

Nature is amazing

While I was walking back, I heard noises, and I stopped to listen carefully, but I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. I stayed still and looked around me. The tall grass started to move a few feet away from me, and then I saw wild deer jumping out of the grass and running away from me. It was so beautiful! 

I tried to photograph them, but they were too fast.

Lindisfarne’s awesome birdwatching station

The island has a bird-watching hut, where I sat for a long time. It was like watching a slow-motion movie. Birds came and went. At times, it was windy, and the tall grass moved back and forth so that I could see water. It was such a beautiful and peaceful hour. I could have stayed all day there, and that is when I understood bird watchers.

I saw many sheep throughout the island, and they seemed to really like being near the castle.

Sheep on the Island of Lindisfarne, landscape of grass, blue sky and why clouds

Sheep on the Island of Lindisfarne

It was the cows that frightened me. I was told not to worry if I saw any because they would not bother me. The thing is that they are huge and they just stared at me as I walked. I felt so uncomfortable and so scared.

I reached a spot where the cows blocked my path. I stood looking at them, hoping they would move, but they stood there staring me down. I wasn’t sure what to do, but eventually, I found a way around them. It was such a strange feeling.

St.Mary’s Church, brick building, tall grass and trees, blue sky

St.Mary’s Church

I was very lucky in terms of the weather. I had two cloudy and rainy days and two gorgeous sunny days. I walked every single day and had a taste of island living.

St. Cuthbert’s Island off of Holy Island

The tiny Island of St. Cuthbert’s can only be reached when the tides are low. I loved walking around it and looking at Lindisfarne from this point of view.

Contrary to what many think, Saint Cuthbert was not buried here! But you must put your feet on this tiny island- the saint was buried at the Lindisfarne monastery.

St. Cuthebet’s wooden cross on the island of Cuthebet off of Holy Island or Lindisfarne

St. Cuthebet’s wooden cross

The Pilgrim

When I travel, I always look for a good coffee shop and was so happy to find one here. They also had some great soups, salads and sandwiches. I discovered that it was wise to come after the normal lunch hour so that I could enjoy a quiet lunch.

Coffee Shop in Lindisfarne, brick structure and entrance, coffee shop is visible

Coffee Shop in Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne is a place to go for a few days of relaxation, painting, photographing, meditation and for long walks.

Solo Traveling

This is a great spot for a short solo trip. I went alone. I sat down on most of the benches to enjoy the views, and there were always people asking if they could join me. I would scoot over, make room, and have lovely conversations with other visitors.

Some people knew the island during WWII and came to visit it every year, there were many history buffs, and others wanted to see the castle that was in Harry Potter. There are many people who go there for pilgrimages – some private and some go in groups.

If you do go alone, you can meet people easily, and if you wish to be on your own, it’s very easy to spend a few days without chatting with anyone. It’s a little piece of heaven!

At the end of one of my days there, I sat at a bench on the main road to the island. A couple was there, and they moved over and told me to sit and watch what was happening. 

A car was trying to cross while the tide was rising and had made several unsuccessful attempts.

High Tide on the causeway in Lindisfarne

High Tide

The car owner came back, got out of his car with a drone, and spent the rest of the evening flying his drone and filming. He must have made a very beautiful film.

A book about walking and Lindisfarne:

To the Island of Tides A journey to Lindisfarne by Alistair Moffat

Resources for you:

Lindisfarne Hotel

Holy Island Crossing Times


Updated May 2024

Marguerite Beaty

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

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