Lindisfarne

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, known colloquially as either Lindisfarne or Holy Island, is just off the coast of Northumberland, England. It is a tidal island linked to the mainland by a causeway.

The monastery of Lindisfarne was raided by Vikings in AD 793. This event is usually considered to mark the beginning of the Viking Age.

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Access to Lindisfarne is affected by local tides. This point cannot be expressed enough as many people get stranded on the causeway every year requiring coastguard rescue (sometimes including helicopter rescue). Tide tables are available locally and are published on the internet.

Local bus service 477 runs from nearby Berwick-upon-Tweed, however it can be somewhat irregular due to tidal patterns, and does not run every day through winter months. Travellers are advised to make local enquiries before making arrangements around the bus service.

The main east coast road the A1 is conveniently located for Lindisfarne. The turning is located in the small village of Beal (which appears to consist only of The Plough Hotel and a service station, both on the eastern side of the road). The turning is signed as “Holy Island”. The distance from the turning to the island is approximately 5 miles, including the tidal causeway.

The Pilgrim’s Crossing is a clearly marked walking route from the mainland to the island that crosses the sand and mud. However, due to the tidal nature of this crossing, it is strongly advised that this route must only be attempted with an experienced local guide.

Map of Lindisfarne

Due to its size and nature, Lindisfarne has very few roads. Those that exist tend to be narrow and often have tourists walking on them. There is a large car park available before entering the settlement on the island. The car park is pay & display, priced at £4.40 for a stay of over 3 hours (correct as of 3rd May, 2008). On-street parking is virtually non-existent. Some B&B establishments may offer parking, however this should be checked when booking.

From the car park there is a shuttle bus service to the castle, although visitors need to check if this will be running on the day of their intended visit if they intend on using it. Beyond this and the bus link from the mainland, there is no formal public transport on the island.

In essence, be prepared to do some walking! Maps are available on the island, including a number of suggested circular routes exploring the island.

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