There are quite a few places in the village where you can buy ice cream, but it pays to shop around, as some sell local ice cream while others only have the ubiquitous Walls or Ben & Jerry’s (and while I am a fan of the latter, local is in my view even better!)
We found two good makes available. In the Island Post Office, on Marygate, we bought delicious Doddingtons ice cream. Doddingtons is a Northumberland firm that has won awards for its ice cream (and also makes great cheeses too). On this occasion I had a two scoop tub with lemon meringue and ginger flavours – the former was excellent and the latter good too, though it could have used a touch more ginger for my taste. The tub cost £2.50, and we ate our ices on a nearby bench – the island is very well-supplied with these.
On the following day we went to Pilgrim’s on the same street (other side of the road, nearer the harbour end) and bought Spurreli’s ices. This is another Northumberland firm, and unlike Doddingtons, one we had never come across. These ice creams were dearer, at £3.50 for a two scoop tub, but the portions were larger. I had a superb elderberry and ginger flavour (yes, I really like ginger!) and a creamy fudge, while Chris enthused about the mint choc chip in particular.
My next tip focuses on another local delicacy, Lindisfarne Mead.
Perhaps the most well-known local product of Holy Island is Lindisfarne Mead. This is a sweet fortified wine made from honey, grape juice, herbs and spirits. As well as the drink itself, you will find fudge and preserves flavoured with the mead. These are sold in several shops in the village, but the best place to buy the mead itself, and to try before you buy, is St. Aidan’s Winery. Here you are welcome to take a small sample to see if it is to your taste – personally I find it too sweet, but many people love it.
The shop also sells a wide range of other alcoholic drinks, with a particular emphasis on whiskies from Scotland and beers from the north of England. In addition there are the many food products made from the mead and other local delicacies. This is a great place to buy gifts to take home. There’s also a craft shop attached which specialises in hand thrown and crafted Northumbrian Pottery, as well as Celtic jewellery, Celtic throws, glassware and pewter. It also has cheaper souvenir items and post-cards. On the day we visited there was a heavy shower and it seemed that every visitor on the island at the time had descended on the shop – if you want to browse in peace come in fine weather or when the tide is in!
What to pay: A bottle of mead costs £9.29 for a full size (70 cl), £5.59 for the half-size. Fudge is about £2.50 and preserves range from £2.25 to £3.50. I bought a jar of damson jam with mead for my parents which cost £3.30.
We also bought a small booklet about the island with some lovely photos and information that has helped me in putting together this page – this cost just £1.80.
This is my last tip – please return to my Intro page if you’d like to leave me a comment.
What to buy:
Lindisfarne mead is the traditional thing to buy in Lindisfarne, but it is very sweet. At the place where it is produced you can try before you buy.
If you don't care about drinking it, there are other products which contain it. I recommend the gooseberry chutney with mead.
What to pay: About £5 for a jar of chutney - I never said it was cheap!
Lindisfarne Mead is an excellent treat! We bought a bottle and enjoyed it on our way back :-)
It is a fortified wine made from fermented white grapes, honey, herbs, pure natural water and it is fortified with fine spirits. Made only on Lindisfarne! (and tastes different than the various kinds of Polish mead)
The shop was somewhere near the priory (I am speaking 1989 so things may have changed a bit) and it had lots of gift items. To read more about Lindisfarne Mead and the local craft shop click here.