North East Family Fun

Family Life With Tweens | Days Out | Holiday Ideas

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland is such a magical place and somewhere I think everybody should make the effort to visit - especially if you are local. Shamefully, our last trip was in 2014 and we were well overdue a visit. 

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit

We have a new car now and I decided that Holy Island would be the perfect place for a run out. It takes around an hour to get there from our home in Cramlington - it's just straight up the A1 (8 miles South of Berwick and around 15 miles North of Alnwick). It's well-signposted just after the Lindisfarne Inn - you can't miss it. We decided to visit during school hours without the kids but we've visited a couple of times with children and I'd definitely recommend - make sure you pack their wellies, buckets, spades and nets. 

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - view of the drive over the causeway

Holy Island is cut off from the mainland twice daily and it is super important that you check tide times before crossing. The causeway is a proper road but as it's covered by the sea depending on the tide, it does flood in places and you may have to drive through a few big puddles along the way. Our car was filthy and in need of a wash after our trip over. The views as you drive over the causeway are simply stunning - they always take my breath away.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - lookout tower on causeway

We've tended to visit Holy Island in the Winter in the past and this was our first summer visit in a good 8-10 years.  We picked a sunny day but as it was a Wednesday in September during term time, I still expected it to be quiet. I was so shocked (and a little mad - and yes I see the irony in this) at how busy it was. We arrived at 10:30am when the island had only been accessible for one hour and the car park was heaving! I'd definitely recommend visiting Holy Island in the Winter rather than Summer as it's far more enjoyable when it's quieter. There is one main car park on the island and it's £2.40 for 3 hours or £4.40 for all day - make sure you bring change.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - fruit and veg stall

As you walk from the car park into the main village, some of the islanders have set up little road-side stalls selling vegetables and local produce. You can pick up jams, honey, crafts and artisan bread. I love this and I remember seeing similar stalls when I visited Holy Island as a child during our holidays in nearby Haggerston Castle.

After reading this post by Canny Food, I knew our first stop was going to be Pilgrims Coffee. A new addition to the island since our last visit. Pilgrims Coffee is pretty easy to find, just turn left out of the car park, keep walking straight ahead and you'll see the signs.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - pilgrims coffee entrance

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit

We were only going to stop for coffee but once we approached the counter, we were easily tempted by their cakes. Their coffee is roasted in a yurt on-site and although a little expensive at £2.50 for a small black Americano, was definitely worth paying that little bit extra for. The cakes were absolutely out of this world - we went for Poppy Seed and Lemon and a Vegan Chocolate Brownie. Both divine and some of the best cakes we've had in a while. The sandwiches looked lovely here too and I'd definitely return.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - pilgrims coffee ground coffee for sale

You can buy pouches of their freshly ground coffee too - we decided we'd pop in on our way back to the car to buy some as we didn't really want to carry it around with us all morning but unfortunately for us, the queue was about 40 people deep at 1pm and we couldn't be bothered to wait in the queue again just to buy some coffee to take home. My advice would be to buy a bag early on if you fancy some.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half  day visit - pilgrims coffee menu

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - pilgrims coffee counter

The sun was shining so we sat outside in the garden next to the roasting yurt and it was lovely. There were lots of birds about and the whole setting is beautiful. Holy Island as a whole is very dog-friendly and everywhere you go you are greeted by pooches and their owners. Pilgrims Coffee is no different and Steve commented that we were actually the only people there without a dog.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - lemon and poppy seed cake

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - pilgrims coffee outdoor seating

After our coffee stop, it was time to explore the island. There are a handful of little shops to pop into selling little gifts, crafts and local produce but the one pictured below in the heart of the village is my favourite. If you're a foodie, you must visit as they sell all sorts of local produce. I could have honestly spent a fortune! You can also sample some Lindisfarne Mead at the tasting station. Steve spent far too much time looking at Viking drinking vessels - the type that look like a cow's horn. Personally, I think I'd find these far too impractical, but Steve is very much a style over substance kind of man. At £55+ he can dream on though.......

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - lindisfarne mead shop


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - rose cottage

We've visited Lindisfarne Castle in the past and if you're National Trust members, make sure you bring your card as it's free to visit if you're a member. It's a fairly unique castle to visit and even if you're not NT members, one that I think is worth the entrance fee. The initial climb to the door is pretty steep so be warned. There are lots of seals around Holy Island and last time we visited there were viewing binoculars on the castle roof and we could see hundreds of seals basking in the sun along the coast. I'll always remember this as there were so many that at first I just thought they were rocks! There are fab views across to Bamburgh Castle too. This time, we were short on time (and prioritised food over castles) so didn't go inside but if you have time, definitely pop in. We did still walk along to the castle as the views are gorgeous and not to be missed. If you're visiting with kids, they'll love playing in the rocks along this route.


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is definitely more commercial now than it used to be and I was kind of disappointed to see two ice cream vans and a burger van parked on the road along to the castle (£1.80-£2.50 for an ice cream). It did spoil it a little and take away a little of the magic for me but there was obviously a demand for this kind of thing as they were busy so who am I to criticise.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - view across harbour to bamburgh castle

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - walk to lindisfarne castle



The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - lindisfarne castle



We decided to walk back to the main village around the main bay and then past the priory. If you walk this route you might catch some of the fishermen returning with their catch of the day. You do need to pay to visit Lindisfarne Priory (or it's free if you're English Heritage members) and we've enjoyed visiting in the past. It's very atmospheric and we learned a thing or two as well. If you don't wish to pay, there's a path which goes right past it and you can still get a good look. At the moment there's an archaeological dig happening as part of DigNation and passers-by can chat to the teams about their findings.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - lindisfarne priory

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - archaeological dig site near priory

I always feel like Holy Island is really missing a destination restaurant. I'm not sure how viable it would be due to the crossing times and tides etc.... but there's nowhere that's ever jumped out as a must-visit place for food (although now I'd definitely recommend Pilgrims Coffee for a light bite). During our last visit we popped into the Lindisfarne Hotel which is the first place you see as you exit the car park but to be honest, we weren't too impressed (although this was 4 years ago - however there were lots of spare tables here during our recent visit which speaks for itself when other places on the island had queues out of the door). Anyway, I asked Twitter for suggestions of places to eat and a few people recommended The Manor House Hotel. There's no lunch menu online so I've shared it below:

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - manor house hotel main lunch menu

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - the manor house hotel lunch and sandwiches menu

You can sit inside the bar area or grab a table in the beer garden with views of Lindisfarne Castle. All of the tables were taken outside by 11:50am (and I was keen to avoid the wasps) so we decided to sit inside. We were one of three tables taken inside but by 12:30pm it was full to the brim and they were turning people away so my advice would be to get there early. As stated before, like most places on the island, The Manor House Hotel is dog-friendly and the bar was filled with them. I know some people don't like dining when dogs are around so if that's you, I would probably not stop for lunch on the island as you really can't avoid them. We love dogs though and although we're not owners, I love seeing dogs in pubs so it wasn't a problem for us.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - the manor house hotel and beer garden

In the hotel garden, there's a special tipi which was signposted as an Oyster and Champagne Bar - very fancy. This is definitely up our street and we would have visited but sadly it wasn't open on the day of our visit.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - the manor house hotel oyster bar tipi

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - view from the manor house hotel beer garden

We decided to go for a full-on seafood feast and ordered Lindisfarne Oysters, Tempura King Prawns, a local crab sandwich and a portion of chips. Everything arrived very quickly and we really enjoyed lunch. I'd certainly recommend.


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - the manor house hotel lindisfarne oysters

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - crab sandwich

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - tempura prawns at the manor house hotel

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - chips from the manor house hotel

As we finished our lunch, we honestly couldn't believe the time. It was after 1pm and we'd been on the island for almost 3 hours. Sadly, we needed to head back to get home in time for school pick-up. It is my dream to stay overnight on the island one day as Highlighting the North East did recently. So many people say how magical the island is once the visitors have left and I can imagine this is the case. 


There's a fresh seafood van in the car park (and another ice cream van) should you fancy a few more treats to take home. 

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit - seafood bar holy island car park

I loved our little jaunt to Holy Island and it's one of those places which was definitely worth the hour's drive. Despite it being buseir than expected, it didn't spoil our visit and we still had such a lovely day. I'm definitely going to make sure we don't leave it another 4 years before we visit again. 


Would you like to visit Holy Island and do you have any recommendations for things to do on the island? 

Pin Me For Later 

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit







Share:

The Pros and Cons of Blogging Full Time


Next month marks my third anniversary of working as a blogger full-time. It just seems like yesterday that I was handing in my notice into the NHS and I can't believe it's been three years. It's been quite a journey but I honestly wouldn't change it for the world.

The Pros and Cons of Blogging Full Time
Share:

Scamp Theatre presents Private Peaceful | A Review

*We were provided with press tickets in order to review this show

Steve and I absolutely adore going to the theatre and every time we're lucky enough to catch a show, we always spend the rest of the evening wishing our lives away to a time where babysitters and commitments aren't a problem and we can visit the theatre on a more regular basis. 


Share:

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby

I love going out for walks with the family. It's always nice to get some fresh air into your lungs, it's good for your health and walking provides the opportunity to chat with each other and re-connect with the great outdoors.

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby

Share:

5 Reasons I Love Caravan Holidays

I am pretty sure that we've taken a caravan holiday every year for as long as I can remember. Our first ever holiday with Harry was to Reighton Sands Holiday Park near Scarborough when he was a few months old and it's a tradition that has continued over the years. Caravan holidays with toddlers are very different to caravan holidays with older kids but they're both have their benefits. There is a certain type of snobbery around caravan holidays but I honestly think I'd still enjoy the odd break away in a van if I was a millionaire. I love it.

Share:

A family visit to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea


Today we have another guest post - this time by Amy Smith featuring the Northumberland seaside town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Now can you believe I've yet to visit here? I keep meaning to take the kids but then never seem to get around to it. I'm going to make a real effort to visit before the end of the year as it seems lovely and reasonable too. Plus it's just up the road! Over to Amy....


Share:

Why you must visit the Fortune Cookies Chinese Van in Morpeth

Have you heard of the Morpeth Chinese Van? If not, you're missing a treat. It has to be the best place to visit in Northumberland for a cheap yet satisfying lunch. Fortune Cookies has been there for as long as I can remember and we visit a couple of times a year (I'd be there every week if I lived in Morpeth). Everyone you speak to who knows about Morpeth's secret will rave about how good it is. 

Why you must visit the Fortune Cookies Chinese Van in Morpeth

Share:
© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig