Holy Island (Lindisfarne): What’s open and what’s closed?

Holy Island is open

We’re getting lots of queries about what is and isn’t open on the island, so I thought I’d update everyone.

Last updated: 13 October 2020.

Overall

Holy Island is open for visitors. Like elsewhere in the country, some are understandably nervous about visitors, so please respect them by practising social distancing. The advantage of Holy Island is that when the tide is in, locals have it to themselves, and so the flow of visitors is not constant like it is in other places. Please do visit the shops (masks required) and food places that are open, and stay in local accommodation. The island’s economy relies on it, and we obviously want our local service providers to survive. We need our pubs and cafes, and our shops. Just be safe and considerate about it, as you would elsewhere.

Do local restrictions affect Holy Island visitors?

Holy Island remains open (Updated, 13 October 2020). Northumberland has been defined as subject to Tier 2 restrictions (essentially the same as before), and therefore pubs, cafes, shops and accommodation providers are still open and welcoming guests.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Cllr Glen Sanderson has clarified that local restrictions do not stop visitors from coming to Holy Island:

“People from outside of the North East are still able to visit Northumberland and our tourism businesses have taken every step to ensure they are Covid-secure. Northumberland is very much open for business, but we need to protect our visitors and our residents and anyone visiting the region on holiday must comply with the local restrictions in place.”

The regulations impose the the following legal restrictions:

  • You must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • Certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

Please check before you travel, in case regulations have changed.

Car parks and toilets

The car parks on the island are open, as are public conveniences. The main car park has one contactless ticket machine (at the centre of the car park), and both car parks now enable payment using your phone.

Cafes and pubs

Cafes are now open as are pubs, with takeaway options and socially-distanced dining, where possible. If you are planning an evening meal, you should book in advance (at least a few days or even more – especially for weekends, when tables quickly sell out).

Is accommodation available again on Holy Island?

About 80% of accommodation providers on the island have reopened for bookings, including us. Guests staying overnight are only a small proportion of visitors, because there is a limited number of beds on Holy Island, so you should not hesitate to book. From personal experience, it’s been a difficult period and your hosts will be grateful. It’s also worth noting that not everyone has reopened, so the number of available rooms will be smaller this year. See our own Covid-19 page, for details on how we have taken steps to keep you safe.

The trend we are seeing post-lockdown is that people tend to book near-term (next 4-6 weeks), so booking last minute is not recommended, as places sell out.

Shops

Most shops have reopened. Others are considering the best way to return to business. Masks required.

Lindisfarne Castle, Priory, Nature Reserve

Lindisfarne Castle remains closed until further notice. Lindisfarne Priory has re-opened for visitors, but you must reserve a ticket, even if you are an English Heritage member (tickets are still free for members, but you have to reserve them). The stunning beaches are plenty, open and mostly deserted, as are the dunes. For many, the island has always been about stillness, beauty and nature, and there is still plenty of those.

Public Transport

The 477 bus has resumed services. See our public transport page for details. Taxis operate as normal from/to Berwick station.