Mead (honey wine)has long been associated with Lindisfarne.
Certainly the original monks would have brewed it, and the Vikings were very fond of it too.
It's now made from white grapes, honey and herbs....and is pretty potent stuff.
There was a big kerfuffle about the building of the new St Aidan's Winery shop (the windery itself has been there since 1968). Its modern style does rather jar the senses. But it has brought trade and employment to the island.
I think mead is a lovely drink, especially on cold and windy days. You can try a free sample in the winery even if you don't end up buying any!
Whether you pay to go in or not, it's a nice gentle stroll from the village to the castle, with excellent views out to sea, to the Farne Islands and the Northumbrian coastline.
The castle itself is not really a castle at all. It was a small Tudor fort, but in 1550 and set on top of a limestone crag. In 1901 it wa s privately purchased and turned into a country house/retreat.
It is now owned by the National Trust, and offers itself out for wedding receptions etc as well as being open to daily visitors.
Nearby you can see the remains of Victorian lime-kilns. The production of lime as an important part of Lindisfarne's economy at that time.
Lindisfarne priory dates from the late 11th century, used by the monastic community there until it was suppressed by Henry Vlll in 1537.
You can still see the huge arch, which was once a vault-rib for the crossing tower.....and the wind and rain and frost have not yet eroded all the beautiful carving on the remaining pillars.
There is a small museum incorporated into the visitor's centre, with examples of Anglo-Saxon name-stones and cross-bases from the earliest monastery on the island. The final Viking raid in 875AD led to the monks abandoning Lindisfarne until 1104, when they returned once again to set up their community.
Well worth visiting.......take yourself back, in your imagination, to a time when this tiny island was a haven of peace and tranquillity for those hard-working holy men.
check the ebsite for entrance fee. In 2009 it was 4.20 GBP.
The Priory ruins are an evocative scene with its Rainbow arches. Again there is an entrance fee (£3) but we decided not to actually go inside the ruins in our short time on the island. In truth you can see enough looking through the entrance gate and enjoying the views from the grounds of the adjacent parish Church - for which there is no entry fee. The Benedictine Priory was built during the late 11th century and contrary to popular belief it appears not to have been built on the site of the Irish monastery founded by St. Aidan
By the castle there is a picturesque small harbour - the castle on one side and across there are the views of the ruined priory. Small fishing boats on the water and upturned boats converted to sheds add an unusual aspect to the scene and have become a favourite feature here.
About 500m from the castle is this delightful walled garden - formerly the castle's vegetable garden. It was re-designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911 during the conversion and in more recent times the National Trust re-created her garden ideals when re-planting the garden in 2003. Even during our visit in Sept 2005 it was a colourful oasis - protected from winds by its stone walls. Entrance is included with your castle ticket but if you just wish to see the garden then there is n honesty box for a £1 donation just near to its gate. Lovely views across to the castle from here too.
Lindisfarne Castle is a commanding feature of the area - being situated on the volcanic mound known as Beblowe Craig it is visible for quite a distance and a favourite landmark. It was the built in the 1550's - after dissolution of the monasteries - using stones from the demolished Priory. Today it is owned by the National Trust and can be visited for a fee - £5 for adults in 2005. Times of opening vary with the tide time - you may have noticed this on the previous tip where the link for the tide times also lists the castle opening time. Please note the castle is not open on Mondays though. We decided not to look at the interior of this castle, which was converted (1902) into the Edwardian country house seen today by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Its a pleasant stroll around taking in the views of the harbour near here and the walled garden.
Lindisfarne or Holy Island to give it its other name is an historic tidal island not far from the English Border town of Berwick -upon-Tweed (some 8 miles away). Its famed for its medieval religious heritage including a ruined priory and also its more recent picturesque 16th century castle. Its a popular place for day-trips and indeed is small enough to see the main sights in a few hours and then escape back to the mainland before being cut off from the tide. The few streets of the village are busy with visitors during this time and its car park filled but if you can do stay overnight and experience the tranquillity of the place without the visitors and when the shops have closed down - many of the shop owners live on the mainland,so within half an hour of the tides coming in from the North sea the place soon shuts down!
Lindisfarne castle is not, as you might expect, a romantic ruin, but an Edwardian home.
The castle itself was extensively refurbished by Lutyens, and the gardens were designed by Gertrude Jekyll.
The castle is owned by the National Trust.
On the shore, near the priory, we came upon this upturned boat, which had been turned into a sorage facility. It is the first time I had seen something like this and gives a new meaning to the phrase boathouse.
First built in 1550, the castle sits romantically on the highest point of the island, a hill called Beblowe. The Castle has never witnessed any major battle or Border siege although it was occupied by some Northumbrian Jacobites at the time of the 1715 Rising. Lindisfarne Castle was converted into a private residence by the well known British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903. A small but superbly rugged looking building, it has been a National Trust property since 1944.It today the only feature of Holy island, that suggests any involvement with the violent border history of Northumberland.
£5.20, child £2.60, family (2 adults & accompanying children under 18) £13. Garden only: £1, child free.
In the church of St mary the Virgin, you can find the lifesize statue, in wood of monks carrying the coffin of St Cuthbert,
In 654 Cuthbert came to Lindisfarne, where his reputed gift of healing and legendary ability to work miracles, achieved far reaching fame for the island. Cuthbert was elected Bishop of Hexham in 684 A.D but exchanged the see for Lindisfarne, to become the fifth successor to Bishop Aidan.When Cuthbert died in 687 A.D, he was burried in accordance with his wishes on the island of Lindisfarne, but eleven years after his death, his body was found to be in an incorrupt state by the astonished monks of the island. The monks were now convinced that Cuthbert was a saint and pilgrims continued to flock to Lindisfarne in numbers as great as during Cuthbert's lifetime.
The Anglican Parish Church is reputed to stand on the site of the original monastery founded by Aidan. Parts of the structure date back to the 7th century, several hundred years before the appearance of the Priory. It is an Island-focus for all Christian pilgrims.
In the grounds of the priory is a statue of St Aiden, who founded the monastery here in Anglo-Saxon times, in A.D 635, on land granted by Oswald, King and Saint of Northumbria. Aidan is believed to have chosen the island site because of its isolation and proximity to the Northumbrian capital at Bamburgh. Aidan the first Bishop of Lindisfarne, a Scots-Celtic monk from the isle of Iona, travelled widely throughout Northumbria and with the help of King Oswald as interpreter, began the conversion of the pagan Northumbrians to Chrisatianity. The conversion of the Northumbrians to Christianity by Aidan and Oswald, was not undertaken lightly.
Lindisfarne was one of the most important centres of christianity in Anglo-Saxon England, and even today remains a place of pilgramage.
St Aidan founded the monastery in AD 635, but St Cuthbert, Prior of Lindisfarne, is the most celebrated of the priory's holy men. After many missionary journeys, and 10 years as a hermit on lonely Farne Island, he reluctantly became Bishop before retiring to die on Farne in 687. Buried in the priory, his remains were transferred to a pilgrim shrine there after 11 years, and found still undecayed - a sure sign of sanctity.
The island and its buildings often fell prey to Viking invaders, and the ruins we see today date back only to Norman times.
Ruins are now in the care of English Heritage - As well as the ruins there is also a visit centre with exhibitions and displays.
Adults - £3.70