A TIDAL ISLAND: Holy Island is linked to the mainland by a long causeway. Twice each day the tide sweeps in from the North Sea and covers the road. Tide times and heights can be accurately predicted from the phases of the Moon. Severe weather can produce offsets, particularly with strong winds from the North and Northeast. The causeway crossing times are forecasted 'safe' crossing times. Nevertheless, travellers should remain vigilant if crossing near the extremeties.
Climatic charts indicate that Holy Island, on average, is one of the driest parts of the country. It is a rain-shadow area. But yes, of course it does rain - sometimes!
BY ROAD: Proceed along the main A1 roadway to the crossroad at Beal which is approximately 8 miles South of Berwick-upon-Tweed and about 60 miles (halfway) between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh. (Note: From the A1, Beal appears to consist of `The Lindisfarne Inn' and `Lindisfarne Services' both to the East (or seaward) side of the road.) `Holy Island' is signposted East from Beal - distance about 5 miles.
REGIONAL BUS (Routes 505/515): This regional service operates between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed. Buses will stop, on request, at Beal. From the Beal crossroad there is a 5 mile walk to the island unless your journey is timed to coincide with the above route 477 Holy Island bus from Berwick-upon-Tweed.
LOCAL BUS - Route 477: A bus service operates to the Island from Berwick Station on most days during Summer months but sometimes as few as once a week between September and May.
LOCAL TAXI AND MINIBUS: There are several local taxi and minbus services in Berwick and the surrounding area. Our link here takes you to a regular provider with intimate knowledge of the tides and local conditions. They are able to suit most requirements from collection at the nearby airports of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Edinburgh and Berwick mainline railway station - even from the bus stop at Beal!
BY RAIL: The nearest mainline station is at Berwick-upon-Tweed on the London (Kings Cross) to Edinburgh GNER line. A public bus service operates from the station to the Island although the frequency varies considerably from Summer-to-Winter and according to the prevailing tide. Throughout the year, there are several taxi services that operate from the station to the island.
AIR TRAVEL: Our nearest international airports are Edinburgh and Newcastle and are about 65 miles away. Each has regular links to the country's other main airports.
WALKERS, CYCLISTS, OTHER RIDERS:
THE CAUSEWAY: As mentioned, Lindisfarne is a tidal island and can be only be accessed via a metalled causeway. Tidal closure affects all forms of transport. A car park is located on the Beal side of the causeway together with tide and crossing information. Tidal information is also available from the English Tourist Information Centre (Phone:01289 330733). A copy of the causeway opening times is reproduced on the LINDISFARNE CASTLE WEB SITE. For those visiting more frequently, you can purchase the "Islanders' version" in a convenient booklet from the Holy Island Post Office. Guests should ask to be provided with causeway crossing times when confirming bookings with their hotel or Guest House.
Between the cross roads at Beal and Holy Island there is only one road to the Island. At all times there are road users: visiting the farm, exploring the area or those unaware of a causeway or its opening times. But when the causeway is open traffic flow will be more frequent - sometimes enormous during holiday periods. A single footpath lines the roadside as far as Beal farm. Just past here is a specially-prepared walking/cycling route leading down to the start of the Causeway. It is also the safest route to take. (The lane is otherwise so narrow in places that opposing traffic has to slow, almost to a standstill. There are no footpaths and a steep slippery bank on which to step to avoid oncoming traffic.)
You will re-join the road where it meets the causeway at the 'Beal-End' car park. Remember you will be sharing our 'main road' with vehicular traffic. Some drivers may be just as unfamiliar as you with the surroundings they find themselves. Many will certainly not be expecting to find slow or stationary road users in front of them. Some traffic will be fast moving and in a hurry to transact their business and return before the tide closes. Some may be foreign and unfamiliar with the British highway code.
It is easy to become distracted as natural history abounds and the views along the route are spectacular. For your own safety, be alert and prepared to step off the main road to allow passage to motor vehicles.
Within 200 yards the road reduces to a single file as it crosses the bridge. Take extra care for here there is no room to step to one side. You will be passing the refuge which is for the use of those who might become stranded. Take note that on a full tide the water can reach the top step!
Other than the speed at which other road traffic can appear, their remains barely a couple of miles of roadway ahead before you reach the village. The approach is via a blind zigzag bend. Unaware of the dangers they may be causing to other road users, some tourists may be parked or even manoeuvring in this area of confluence.
PILGRIMS CROSSING: A clearly marked route links the mainland to the island across the sands and mud. Newcomers are cautioned against using this route unless accompanied by a person with local knowledge. Never attempt this route at dusk or on a rising tide! Open times are NOT published ANYWHERE for the Pilgrims' Way.
TIDAL WARNING: Tide times are subject to vast variations throughout each month and in particular during strong winds. Tide tables can only be advisory. Ensure that you observe the warning signs particularly along the road side. The tidal currents can be very strong. Should you become stranded use the refuge boxes provided.
FOR THE CAUTIOUS: A visit to the Island is always an adventure. Over 650,000 people visit the island without any problems.