Lindisfarne Favorites

  • Stained glass window, St Aidan's RC Church
    Stained glass window, St Aidan's RC...
    by toonsarah
  • St Cuthbert
    St Cuthbert
    by toonsarah
  • "The Journey" of St Cuthbert's coffin
    by toonsarah

Most Recent Favorites in Lindisfarne

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Two saints who define this island

    by toonsarah Updated Aug 27, 2012

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St Aidan
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: The first monastery on Holy Island was founded by St Aidan in 635 AD, and thus he can be seen as the person who first established the island as a centre for Christianity and spirituality, setting a pattern that would continue to this day. Without him, this could be a very different place indeed.

    Aidan was an Irish monk from the monastery founded by St. Columba on the now Scottish island of Iona. The Romans had previously brought Christianity to Britain, and the British had taken it to Ireland (most famously through the missionary work of St. Patrick). But when the Romans left and the Anglo Saxons invaded, they brought their pagan religions with them. In the northernmost kingdom of Northumbria, however, the ruling warrior family came under the influence of the Irish monks of Iona. When Oswald became king of the region in 633 he chose to base himself at Bamburgh and to invite the monks of Iona to reintroduce his people to Christianity. Aidan arrived in response to this invitation and chose nearby Lindisfarne as the home of the new monastery because of its similarities to Iona and proximity to Bamburgh.

    Here Aidan established an Irish-type monastery of wooden buildings with a small wooden church. Here the monks lived a life of prayer, study and austerity and from here they went out on mission. They used Aidan's only method as a missionary, which was to walk the lanes, talk to all the people he met and interest them in the faith if he could. His monks visited and revisited the villages where he sowed the seeds and in time local Christian communities were formed. To ensure the continuation of the mission Aidan also educated a group of local boys in reading, writing and Latin, and in practical work of being monks, priests and missionaries through observing and working with the older monks.

    After 16 years as bishop Aidan died at Bamburgh in 651. But the monastery survived and grew in influence, and his memory is still strong here on the island. One of its most well-known sights is the statue of him in the grounds of the Priory (which I have seen sometimes mistakenly labelled as being of St. Cuthbert, the island’s other great saint).

    So, to St. Cuthbert -

    Unlike St. Aidan, he was a local Northumbrian boy, who it is believed grew up as a Christian. Some sources say he was a shepherd, others a warrior. His life changed when he was about 17 years old. He was looking after some neighbour's sheep on the hills one night when he saw a light descend to Earth and then return, escorting, he believed, a human soul to Heaven. The date was August 31st 651 - the night that Aidan died. Perhaps Cuthbert had already been considering a possible monastic calling but that was his moment of decision. He went to the monastery at Melrose, also founded by Aidan, and asked to be admitted.

    The Holy Island website describes his links to the island:
    "Cuthbert seems to have moved to Lindisfarne at about the age of 30 and lived there for the next 10 years. He ran the monastery; he was an active missionary; he was much in demand as a spiritual guide and he developed the gift of spiritual healing. He was an outgoing, cheerful, compassionate person and no doubt became popular. But when he was 40 years old he believed that he was being called to be a hermit and to do the hermit's job of fighting the spiritual forces of evil in a life of solitude.

    After a short trial period on the tiny islet adjoining Lindisfarne [today known as St. Cuthbert’s Isle] he moved to the more remote and larger island known as 'Inner Farne' and built a hermitage where he lived for 10 years...

    At the age of about 50 he was asked to leave his hermitage and become a bishop. He reluctantly agreed. For two years he was an active, travelling bishop as Aidan had been... Feeling the approach of death he retired back to the hermitage on the Inner Farne where, in the company of Lindisfarne monks, he died on March 20th 687AD. His body was brought back and buried on Lindisfarne.

    Following his death, and the discovery eleven years later that his body had remained undecayed, he was elevated to sainthood. The island became a place of pilgrimage. But in 793 the first Viking raid ravaged the monastic community, and after that they lived in a near-constant state of fear, threatened by regular attacks. Around 875 the monks decided to leave, taking St Cuthbert’s body with them. After over 100 years spent in various places in the north of England, the body found its final resting place in Durham Cathedral where it is still visited by pilgrims. But Holy Island too will always be associated with St. Cuthbert.

    When you have had your fill of exploring Holy Island, there is still the important matter of refreshment. So my next tip will take you to the first of the places we ate in on this recent visit.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo

    Wheelchair Access to Holy Island

    by RhineRoll Written May 2, 2004

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boats on Holy Island

    Favorite thing: Holy Island is well worth visiting also for travellers with disabilities. I'm not sure if it's possible to get into the castle, but the track to the castle is nearly flat, right up to the steep hill on which the castle sits. There are other paved tracks on the island, so it is actually an excellent destination for wheelchair users who like to be outside and move around independently.

    There's free parking for holders of a disabled badge on the Coach Park, where you'll also find the disabled loo. (RADAR key necessary)

    Related to:
    • Disabilities

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    Lindisfarne causeway

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The only way to get to the Holy Island is by a long causeway that links it to the mainland. Twice a day the tide recedes and uncovers the road - or, as some say, the tide comes in and covers the road ;-).

    We started crossing very early in the morning and we actually planned to walk to Lindisfarne. I can't remember whose idea it was to shortcut across the uncovered sand instead of going along the road, but we soon discovered it was a bad idea - we were up to our ankles in mud! So we hurried back to the road and soon our van came along to pick us up. I guess our driver received our telepathic message! ;-)

    The safe crossing times are displayed at the causeway but you can also get them online if you want to plan your trip before you get there. Just remember that tide times are subject to variations and also depend on strong winds, so do not plan the crossing near the extreme times.

    Will add the photo later, I left it out accidentally when scanning all the other ones.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    The gang that did the trip

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On top of Lindisfarne castle

    Favorite thing: This picture was taken at the top of the Lindisfarne castle where you get a fine view on the island and the sea.

    And here's a part of the gang from Oxford that took me on this wonderful trip. There were nine teenagers, myself [ahem, not that much older than them ;-)], and three adults. They were a wonderul lot, I will never forget them or the trip itself, although I don't remember the names of most of them...

    Fondest memory: Them all being Anglicans, and myself being the only Catholic in the gang, we equally enjoyed the trip to the roots of Celtic Christianity that go back to well before Christianity was ever divided...

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    Bamburgh castle on your way to Lindisfarne

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bamburgh Castle

    Favorite thing: Some say the Bamburgh Castle is the finest one in England, others may disagree. My picture does not show all of it - it extends further to the left. We saw it on our way to Lindisfarne, it's just south of the Holy Island and it offers a great view of the Farne Islands. Finest or not, it is definitely a most impressive castle! Well, it should be 'cause Bamburgh was the seat of the kingdom of Northumbria :-)

    The origins of the Castle go back to the 6th c. but at that time it was fortified only by a hedge and timber palisade. It took a real castle shape during the Norman Conquest (11th c.) only to be destroyed by cannons during the Wars of the Roses (15th c.). Its owners also changed in the course of time, but those who contributed to its restoration were Lord Crewe in the 18th c. and Lord Armstrong in the 19th c. It is still owned by the Armstrong family today but it is open to visitors from April to October.

    To read more about it, visit the Bamburgh Castle website.

    Fondest memory: Seeing the castle unexpectedly through our van windows when the pouring rain suddenly stopped... It was awesome!

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    Relaxing by the rainbow arch

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    That thing defies physics!

    Favorite thing: Apparently this famous rainbow arch defies the laws of physics and should have collapsed ages ago! It is probably the best known architectural detail from the Priory.

    We had like almost an hour to explore the ruins of the Priory and they are really magnificent! - check my Must-See tips for more pictures.

    Fondest memory: Sitting near the rainbow arch for half an hour, exposing my face to the sun, reminding myself that this is also summer holidays :-)
    I got nice suntan then!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    Lunch break, guys!

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Oh, let's just relax ey?

    Favorite thing: Lindisfarne can be quite relaxing if you decide to spend a whole day there before the low tide again allows you to return to the mainland.

    You have enough time to tour the island and its architectural monuments, and have a picnic lunch just in front of St. Cuthbert's little isle. There are benches to sit down and contemplate, but grass feels all the more comfortable to lay down, take off your shoes after the long walking, and just enjoy the sea breeze...

    Only keep the low tide time in mind so that you collect your pieces and run for the mainland in time :-)

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    Lindisfarne Island from afar

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Can you see it in this lousy picture?

    Favorite thing: You know the feeling when you 're going to a place that you wanted to see so much... and that place is looming in the distance... and you start feeling excited about finally getting there...?

    That's how it felt to see the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the distance as we were approaching our last night stop before heading towards the causeway the next morning. It's a lousy picture because I had a lousy idiot-proof camera at that time, but it felt really great to see Lindisfarne in the sea ahead!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Lindisfarne

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

113 travelers online now

Comments

Lindisfarne Favorites

Reviews and photos of Lindisfarne favorites posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Lindisfarne sightseeing.

View all Lindisfarne hotels