Holy Island, also known as Lindisfarne, is on the northeast coast of England, about 12 miles south of the border with Scotland, and 10 miles south of Berwick-upon-Tweed, the nearest town. The island can be reached from the tiny village of Beal which is on the A1. If you take the road east from here you will come to the tidal causeway which provides access to the island from three hours after high tide to two hours before high tide.
You should always check the tide times carefully before visiting the island. If you miss the tide you could be stuck on the island for 5 hours. You can find the safe crossing times here and there is also an information board on the landward side of the causeway displaying these.
Never attempt to use the causeway if the tides is coming in and has already begun to cross the road. The tide comes in very rapidly and your car will be overwhelmed in minutes if the water causes your engine to stall!
Use the Google map below to explore the island.
You can take a virtual tour of the island here
The nearest airports are at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh, both about 60 miles away. You can take the bus or the train from Newcastle or Edinburgh to Berwick. On some days, there is a bus from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Holy Island itself, but there is always a bus from Berwick or Newcastle to Beal the nearest village on the mainland, but this will leave you with a 5 mile walk to the island. Otherwise, you may need to get a taxi.
A few energetic pilgrims reach the island by walking the Saint Cuthbert's Way long distance footpath from Melrose. The route passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. You can find out more about Saint Cuthbert's Way here.
If you choose this option, be sure to stop at the Pilgrims Coffee Stop in Morebattle, which is being developed in a disused church. The plan is to develop the church into a pilgrimage resource, but further funds are needed to make this happen. You can download or view the story of the Coffee Stop here.
While we own the Open Gate retreat house and a number of members live on the island, we do not seek to expand on the island itself, which like many communities is populated by people from a variety of faiths or none. The island makes its living mostly by tourism, pilgrimage, fishing and farming and we are committed to existing as an integral part of the island community, not dominating it in any way!
If you want a guided retreat on Holy Island, please check our retreat programme. If you want a personal retreat with or without spiritual direction, check out our retreat guide 'Give yourself a Retreat on Holy Island' which can be found under the Retreat Materials link on the Resources Page. You might want to consider the best time of year for your visit. If you want a very silent retreat, it may be better to visit between late October and early April, when there are fewer visitors on the island, although it is quiet throughout the year when the tide is in.
There are three churches on Holy Island: Saint Aidan's (Roman Catholic), Saint Cuthbert's Centre (United Reformed) and Saint Mary's (Anglican). In addition, there are communal prayers in the Community of Aidanand Hilda's Lindisfarne Retreat, which is only 100 metres from The Open Gate, our retreat house.
The church, which is on Green Lane, roughly opposite the Post Office, has been beautifully refurbished in recent few years and is always open during the day, as a place of quiet prayer and stillness.
The centre is on the corner of Prior Lane and Fiddler's Green, and is open during daylight hours and offers a quiet place for visitors. Its main features include:
You can also visit the center's own website for further information.
This is the oldest and largest church on the island and lies at the end of Crossgate Lane.
You can visit their website here.
For further information visit the Open Gate page