Originally known as Lindesfarne and often described as "The Jewel of the Northumberland Coast", Holy Island is only accessible across a causeway at low tide.
In the 7th century it was one of the great seats of Christian learning in Western Europe and was where the beautiful Lindisfarne Gospels were written. Adjacent to the ruins of the Benedictine Priory, destroyed by Henry VIII, is a Visitor Centre commemorating the life of the monks. The stones from the Priory were used to build the unforgettable Lindisfarne Castle.
The Lindisfarne Gospels were written in the late 7th century to celebrate the life of St Cuthbert. Housed in the British Library, they are quite simply the greatest European artwork from that time. A facsimile version is on display in the Lindisfarne Heritage Centre on the island. There is an active campaign for the permanent return of the Gospels to the North East
As well as its many historic attractions, Holy Island is situated at the heart of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. Extensive dunelands, intertidal sand and mud flats, saltmarsh and ancient raised beaches support a wide variety of plant life and attract vast numbers of birds. Like Norham and Bedlington, Holy Island (Islandshire) was part of the Palatinate of County Durham and controlled by the Bishop of Durham from medieval times. The final transfer back to the County of Northumberland was not completed until 1844.
An extensive local Web site "The Holy Island of Lindisfarne" is maintained by the villagers themselves and is essential reading for all with an interest in the island.
Holy Island is the end point of the popular St Cuthbert's Way long distance footpath which begins in Melrose in the Scottish borders.
Lindisfarne gained international fame in the 1970's when it was taken as the name of a Tyneside pop band. Their major hits included "Lady Eleanor" and "Fog on the Tyne". The group still plays today and they have their own Lindisfarne Website.
A bus service connects Holy Island and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.