Holy Island Accommodation Survey (March 2024)

Holy Island Accommodation Survey, 2024 (title over Lindisfaren map)

High-level summary of findings

  • Year on year changes:
    • Three holiday homes closed down in 2023 and one new property opened (net change -2).
    • One short-stay property closed down (net change: -1). One room was added to a short-stay property.
    • Following the sale of the Lindisfarne Hotel in March 2024, three of the island’s short-stay properties are now owned by Hotels International (Manor House, Ship Inn, Lindisfarne Hotel). These add up to a total 61% of short stay capacity on the island.
  • During high season, when all accommodation providers are open, Holy Island has a capacity to host 273 visitors a night in guest accommodation (or 299 if the capacity for retreats is included). Note that capacity does not mean occupancy, as some bookings will have fewer guests staying than the property/room actually caters for.
  • There are eight short-stay providers (36 rooms, 78 guest capacity), 39 holiday lets (195 guest capacity) and four retreat properties (26 guest capacity).
  • There are seven dog-friendly short-stay rooms (no change) and 22 dog-friendly holiday lets (one fewer than last year).
  • There is only one short-stay wheelchair-friendly room and five wheelchair-friendly holiday lets (no change).
  • 62% of short-stay rooms can be booked instantly online (up from 53%), while the figure for holiday lets is 64% (up from 63%).
  • Permanent residents and holiday/second home occupancy
    Based on the 2021 census vs this year’s figures, 48% of dwellings on the island are lived in by residents. Holiday lets make up 23% of dwellings and a further 29% are second homes or other homes not lived in permanently. These are minor changes year-on-year.

The survey in detail

Total overnight guest capacity for the entire island (all accommodation types)

When all accommodation on the island is open, our total guest capacity is:

Rooms/bedrooms: 130 (-4 change) (141 with retreats)

Overnight guest capacity: 273* (-5 change) (299 with retreats)

* Note that the number of actual guest will be lower, as some short stay rooms will be taken for lower occupancy (e.g. single occupancy in double room), and holiday lets will have fewer guests staying than their maximum capacity (e.g. three people staying in a holiday let that has a capacity of six). At a rough estimate, this would be 85% occupancy, which would make it 232 visitors (excluding retreats and SVP).

Serviced accommodation / Shorter stays (Hotels/B&Bs/Guesthouses/Other)

Number of properties: 8 (-1 change)

Number of rooms: 36 (no change, one room added to existing property)

Guest capacity: 78 (bedrooms vary: 1-4 guest capacity)

Wheelchair accessible rooms: 1

Dog friendly rooms: ~7

Properties with instant online booking: 5

Number of rooms available for instant online bookings: 23 (64%)

Holiday lets / Longer stays

Number of properties: 39 (+1 new, -3 closed)

Number of bedrooms: 94 (-4 net)

Total guest capacity: 195 (-7 net. Bedrooms vary, 1-4 guest capacity. Some holiday lets have extra sofa beds)

Dog friendly properties: 22 (-1 net. 56%)

Wheelchair accessible properties: 5 (no change. 14%)

Properties with instant online booking: 25 (64%)

Share of overall housing: permanent homes, holiday let, second homes, other*

Overall dwellings on the island: 168

Overall dwellings used as homes: 81 (48% | +1 dwelling net)

Holiday lets: 39 (23% | -2 dwellings net)

Second homes and other: 48 (29% | +1 dwellings net)**

* As we get further away in time from the census, the figures for homes/second homes will gradually become less accurate as people sell properties (though this is a slow process). However, the proportion of holiday lets will remain accurate, as we have a continuing full count of those.

** “Other” includes retreat houses that count as dwellings (1-2%), staff accommodation and any other unaccounted for elsewhere.

Retreat Houses

In March 2024, there is one retreat house for groups, two for individuals or small groups and one flat for an individual. There is no net change in retreat guest capacity.

Number of properties: 4

Number of rooms/bedrooms: 11

Total guest capacity: 26

Other accommodation

The SVP Ozanam Camp house (Lindisfarne House), which has previously taken bookings mostly by regulars and through word of mouth, has moved to online bookings for groups when the camp is not in session. This accounts for five bedrooms in the main house (15 beds) and two additional beds in the small flat (can be booked separately). It will also sometimes take school groups in the camp dorms during term times (8 dormitories, each with 8 beds with a total occupancy of 64). 

The figures for Lindisfarne House and the camp are not tallied in the overall totals above because these properties are used by the camp for a good part of the season. When they host children, they do not have the same impact on local services (pubs/cafes/shops/parking) as adults do. They are noted here for completeness.

2021 Census data (repeat from last year’s report)

Below are some highlights from the data collected in the 2021 census for Holy Island. This refers to tenure of households that were present on Census Day (21 March 2021), during lockdown, and therefore applies, with some minor exceptions, only to people living on the island, not to holiday lets and second home owners.

Holy Island Population

Population: 150
Households: 80

Household size

1 person in household 40.3%
2 people in household 37.7%
3 people in household 14.3%
4 or more people in household 7.7%

Population age breakdown

0-19: 9.6%
20-44: 24.3%
45-64: 28.2%
Over 65: 37.9%


No religion 27.8%
Christian 62.9%
Buddhist 0.7%
Not answered 8.6%

Tenure of household*

Owns outright 51.3%
Owns with a mortgage or loan or shared ownership 17.1%
Social rented 10.5%
Private rented or lives rent free 21.1%

* a reminder that this applies to residents only – who were here during Census Day, not to holiday homes and second homes.

Note from the ONS: The data in this profile are aggregated from small areas on a best-fit basis, and therefore may differ slightly from other sources.


– Accommodation percentages are rounded to the nearest decimal point.

– Some properties can be categorised as either holiday lets or short stays. They are assigned to one of the two categories only (the one closest to their purpose) to avoid double-counting.


– Guest accommodation numbers are sourced from the accommodation pages of Visit Lindisfarne.

– Number of dwellings on the island sourced from Street Check.

– 2021 Census data is sourced from the government’s census data.

Image source: Bing

Citation (permalink): https://holy-island.uk/holy-island-accommodation-survey-and-march-2024/

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