Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Travel: Holy Island is a historic delight

Lindisfarne Castle (Trevor Kersley)
Lindisfarne Castle (Trevor Kersley)

FROM the minute you hit the road in, you know you’re going somewhere just a bit special.

Well, that road is on a causeway and twice a day the tide rolls over and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is cut off from the mainland.

So, the most important thing for any visit is a check on the safe crossing times.

It takes just a couple of minutes to cross the tidal stretch and, even though we’re well into the safe-to-cross period, big puddles and sand on the road are a reminder that nature rules here.

To the right we see the poles that indicate the original Pilgrim’s Path, where foot crossings have been made for so many centuries.

The island is, of course, steeped in religious heritage and we stop off first at Lindisfarne Priory, looked after by English Heritage, to get a sense of that.

Craster harbour

Former prior St Cuthbert was the most celebrated of the monastery’s holy men and his remains rested in a pilgrim shrine until the monks fled with them from Vikings raiders.

They ended up in Durham Cathedral and it wasn’t until the 12th Century that the monks returned to build the priory church which you can wander round after sketching in the history at the museum.

Here, it’s all neatly done in a timeline, with ancient stones dotted between.

There’s a sense of peace and tranquillity of the island, a way of washing away worries and slowing down the pace of life.

So much so that a leisurely exploration round the streets and windswept paths had left us with an eye on the tide times and a reckoning that the other big attraction, Lindisfarne Castle, best wait for another day.

There’s not a lot of accommodation on the island anyway, so we were just half an hour down the A1 in Seahouses.

Lindisfarne Boat Sheds (Trevor Kersley)

The Bamburgh Castle Inn, right on the harbour where you can take a boat tour out to the wildlife wonder that is the Farne Islands, is deservedly a regular award-winner.

A night at the fabulous Olde Ship Inn across the road, a good night’s sleep, a full-to-the-brim brekkie and – with a double check on the tides – we were back on Holy Island with time to devote to the castle.

It recently reopened after an 18-month closure to allow £3 million of conservation work to be undertaken by the National Trust.

It was a fair old time – but then what was originally a Tudor fort has been sitting on the volcanic crag for about 450 years so a bit of a refurb is understandable.

It was redesigned by architect Edwin Lutyens in the early 20th Century as a holiday home on a grand scale and on a previous visit I’d felt it somewhat lacked ancient splendour.

But at the moment the interior is being allowed to dry out. Without the collection inside we find it much easier to explore and really appreciate the structure and hear from the staff about some of the discoveries made during the restoration.

And, of course, the views from the top are simply unbeatable.

Surfing (PicFair)

From next month there will be yet another look as the Trust have invited international artist Anya Gallaccio to use the blank canvas of a lifetime to create an eye-catching installation.

But it’s far from the only magnificent castle dominating a headland on this wild and wonderful stretch of the north east.

Five minutes’ drive from Seahouses is the castle from which our hotel takes its name. It’s even more dominant and if you think it’s picture-perfect then so do moviemakers who regularly use it as dramatic backdrop.

While Bamburgh Castle has been fully restored, Dunstanburgh Castle, a little further down the coast, is a sprawling ruin.

It’s no less worthy of a look, though, and, like Lindisfarne, it’s partly about how you get there.

We reach it from Craster, famous for its smoked kippers, and as we put our best feet forward, we soon see why it was number nine in ITV’s recent 100 Best Walks.

Striding out with the white-capped sea to our right, it just reminded us again why Northumberland is so worth discovering.

The Facts

For more information on Lindisfarne Priory, see

Bamburgh Castle Inn has regular deals, including off-season DB&B packages from just £50 per person.