A – Z of Locations: L is for Lindisfarne

During this year I shall be posting photographs from places around the UK, many of which have not been published before. Where I have previously blogged about a location I will provide a link to the post, though you won’t be able to comment on it as I restrict comments to six months.

L is for Lindisfarne

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is situated off the coast of Northumberland. The island is cut off from the mainland by the tide twice a day. Possibly the holiest site of Anglo-Saxon England, in 685 Lindisfarne was founded by St. Aidan, an Irish monk, who came from Iona, the centre of Christianity in Scotland.

Disused Priory and the fascinating boatsheds in the harbour.

The island is a thriving community, with a busy harbour, shops, hotels and inns and still a place of pilgrimage for many although the priory is now in ruins

Ruins of the Priory and the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin

Lindisfarne is also famous for its castle (that’s not a castle) on an island (that’s not an island).

From the 1550s up until 1893 the castle was garrisoned by the government, at one point mounting 21 cannons.

The castle was strategically vital during the Scottish Wars of the mid-1500s and later saw action in the Civil Wars and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715.

In the first decades of the 20th century, famed architect Sir Edwin Lutyens renovated the castle into a private holiday home for Edward Hudson, founder of Country Life magazine, while Jekyll made a planting plan for the garden and the castle surrounds.

Jekyll’s first plan was for a vegetable garden but it was her second plan – a summer flower garden – that was planted in 1911.

This tranquil garden was created by Gertrude Jekyll on the site of a vegetable patch that once provided the castle’s soldiers with food. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) is well known in the gardening world. A talented painter, photographer, designer and craftswoman; she was much influenced by Arts & Crafts principles and often worked in collaboration with the English architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Jekyll designed the garden to have a wealth of colour during the summer months and to be especially prolific in August. Flowers include eight varieties of sweet peas, two of which are the delicate ‘Miss Wilmott’ and the deep crimson ‘Queen Alexander’.
Jekyll’s original planting scheme was restored by the Trust in 2003. With its geometric layout of paths and beds, the garden is always interesting to look round.

Outside of the castle, there is a lot to explore. There are walks through the grass fields to the sand dunes where you can fly kites (it is an exposed place) visit the industrial Lime Kilns, look for seals and birdlife and enjoy the quiet beaches on the north side. Most visitors visit the castle and the priory and photograph the unique fisherman’s sheds made from old upturned fishing boats, one of the symbols of Holy Island.

Castle views and Lime Kilns
Lindisfarne Castle

It’s essential to check the tide times as the island is accessed via a long causeway which is impassable once the tide comes in. Though there is accommodation available on the island if you want to stay a little longer.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

35 thoughts on “A – Z of Locations: L is for Lindisfarne”

  1. Jude, what an interesting place to visit, especially Gertrude Jekyll’s garden. Northumberland is one area we didn’t explore in-depth; too busy travelling from North Yorkshire to Scotland for our next housesit. I’m enjoying your A-Z locations.

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