Holy Island in Northumberland is just one of the many stunning destinations on offer in this wild and woolly Northern county and getting around these parts by car is the best way of seeing Lindisfarne and all the other attractions. With such a wide open landscape and so many sights to see including castles, abbeys and some of the liveliest towns and cities in the UK, taking advantage of economy car hire makes perfect sense here.
Photo by Akuppa
Holy Island is one of the top attractions in Northumberland. It’s only 20 minutes’ drive from the large town of Berwick, and is attached to the mainland by a long causeway which means that it is only accessible at low tide. There’s a car park at the mainland end with a pleasant cafe to shelter in if the weather plays up.
Christianity first arrived in England at this point, and there are many real pilgrims who make their way here as well as numerous tourists from around the rest of the UK and indeed the world.
Photo by tallpomlin
Photo by tallpomlin
The 16th century castle which dominates the skyline is iconic and has been used in numerous feature films, most memorably as Duncan’s castle in Polanski’s Macbeth. It was originally built to guard the border between England and Scotland in this area of the Scottish Borders, but Sir Edward Lutyens later converted it into a country house, and it has an attractive garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.
The castle is well worth a visit, and afterwards you could explore the rather spooky ruins of the nearby priory. From here you can also look along the Northumberland coast to the imposing outline of Bamburgh Castle, one of the most majestic and dramatic castles in the whole of these islands. Again, it’s just a short drive along the coast road by car.
Exploring Holy Island is a real pleasure, not only because it covers only two square miles but because it is packed with interest. There’s a delightful little harbour full of upturned fishing boats, as well as the fairy-tale castle perched on its sharp peak. There are some interesting shops in the village where you can buy jars of the monks’ honeyed Lindisfarne Meade (Lindisfarne still has a few monks left), and a sandy beach on the northern shore.
Holy Island is just one of the many attractions of the Northumberland coastline, with the likes of Sir Walter Scott’s home of Abbottsford and the mighty castle of Bamburgh being within easy reach by car. There are numerous guesthouses, bed-and-breakfasts and hotels across the region and the international airport at Newcastle if you’re coming here from farther afield.
David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. Written in conjunction with carhiremarket.com.