Lindisfarne (Holy Island) Travel Guide

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Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle

j.l.pearce

Lindisfarne, also known as the Holy Island, is a very moving place to visit.  Site of a ruined abbey and a 15th century castle, this tiny village is of religious and historic signifigance.

The abbey, an English Heritage site, is best understood after viewing the exhibit that is included in the ticket price.  It details the history of the site, and shows what life in the abbey would have been like prior to Henry VIII's repression of the church.  It is a very accessible museum, easy to understand, and has activities for children.      

After the abbey was abandoned, a castle was built using some of the stones.  The abbey itself lies in ruins, with grass growing like a carpet between the remains.  Visitors can walk through what's left, and small plaques identify some of the key spaces without detracting from the overall feeling of the site.  The space has a very desolate and austere feeling to it. The wind is constantly blowing through the ruins, leaving one with a sense of why monks who wished a life of solitude would go there.  

Saint Mary's Parish Church is directly across from the ruined abbey, and one must walk through the graveyard of the church to reach it.  The graveyard is very old, with many ancient and crumbling stones.  Saint Mary's Church is also very beautiful, and in the process of being renovated.  Visitors are encouraged to come in and see the stained glass windows and historic pamphlets about the area.  Lindisfarne has several very small places to eat.  Visitors should be aware that opening and closing times vary. 

There is also a hotel and several B&Bs.  Reservations are strongly recommended, as there are few spots available on the island.  For more information, see the Lindisfarne website mentioned below. The island is also home of the Lindisfarne Mead, made from local honey.  It is highly recommended.

There is an island shuttle from Berwick-Upon-Tweed.  The shuttle runs twice a day, and times vary depending on the tide.  The shuttle picks up from several stops in Berwick, beginning at the train station.  Go up the hill and turn right, there is bus stop there.  The bus stop is part of the local bus routes, and is not specifically marked as being to Lindisfarne.  It is route 477.  Visitors can also walk or drive across the causeway.  Tidal times are clearly marked on either side.  Please do give yourself enough time to get across, as tides can be very fast to come in.

For more information about the island and its history, check out the official Lindisfarne website at www.lindisfarne.org.uk, or the English Heritage website at http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/conProperty.132. 
Admission to the abbey is 3.60 for adults, or free for English Heritage members.

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August 06, 2005 change by trouble

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