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Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Just off the Northumberland coast is Lindisfarne, otherwise known as Holy Island. Similar to the famous Mont Saint Michel in France, this is a small tidal island — cut off from land twice a day — with a castle perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop.

Its name Holy Island comes from its long history as a centre of Celtic Christianity, dating back to around 634 AD when an Irish monk established the first abbey here. After surviving raids by Vikings, the Lindisfarne Priory was re-established in 1093 and later refurbished in the 16th century. The evocative ‘rainbow bridge’ arches and other remaining ruins are now an English Heritage Trust site and the entire island has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK.

The 16th century Lindisfarne Castle, rising from the rock face at the tip of the island, also makes for a fabulous photo opportunity. Although the castle is closed for renovations, there is an easy 1.5 mile (2.4 km) walking path that laps around Castle Point, passing by the Lime Kilns that remain from the island’s 19th century limestone processing industry. After your walk, reward yourself in the village with a glass of Lindisfarne Mead, fortified honey wine that arrived to the island with the Irish monks.

The island can be reached via a mile-long causeway from the mainland village of Beal only when tides are low. Cars are not allowed beyond the entrance to the small island but the village is small enough to be explored on foot. 

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