Holy Island and Berwick upon Tweed

After a couple of months home (back living in a house!) and a busy run-up to Christmas, we’re now approaching the end of 2017 and I’m thinking back to our last few weeks on the road.  Which means it’s time to tell you all about it!

Also the blog is just 112 views away from 10,000 views!  I can’t believe it – thank you so much to everyone who’s ever read any of my ramblings 🙂

So back to the next part of our trip.

Our next stop was still in Northumberland (it’s a huge county), and we had found a small site just a short hop from the causeway that takes you over to Holy Island.  There was a site slightly closer, but it was also a lot more expensive!

One of the 1st things we did after arriving was to go down in the car to take a look.  There’s a small (very small) parking area just before the causeway so we stopped in here and walked to the edge of the water.  The tide was completely in at this point, but you could clearly see where the road went; there was an information board (with sound – you had to wind it up) telling us about the wildlife in the area.  There is another board with very clear information on the tide times and when it is safe to cross.

We could also see that there was a walk that would bring us out to this point from the campsite, so decided there and then to use our bikes when we visited the island itself.

We were just a few miles from Berwick upon Tweed, the last town in England, so this was our next stop for the afternoon.  The parking was free and we parked in the long stay area in the shadow of the town walls (you needed a disc for the short stay area, but it didn’t cost anything, it was just a way of ensuring the short stay car park didn’t get clogged up)

We were rather taken with Berwick, which was a bit of a surprise (we didn’t know what to expect), but we discovered it’s history of being a true border town and changing hands between Scotland and England 13 times over the course of a few hundred years.

We first headed down through the park to the banks of the River Tweed, where we walked up towards the castle walls (what’s left of them) and then back up through the park into town.  We were impressed by the bridges, the remains of the castle walls snaking steeply up the hill and a boat built of wood on the edge of the river bank (where we were joined by a rather boisterous dog 🙂 )


On the banks of the Tweed in Berwick in a boat made of twigs

We then took an alley near the car park and found ourselves at the old barracks now run by English Heritage.  We had a nice chat with the guy in the ticket office who gave us a little background on the history of the town and then we had a wander around the barracks.  Unfortunately this wasn’t one of the better attractions that we visited during the year, but there were a couple of interesting parts.  For us there was far too much to read (and that’s coming from me – I love to read!!)


From here we walked along the top of the town walls and when we came down from them we found this delightful little building.


The 1st ladies convenience opened in Berwick on Tweed – now a little sandwich bar 🙂

I was delighted to discovered that it was one of the 1st ladies public loos to be opened.  It would appear that it was far easier to build gents conveniences than ladies, so this was quite an event!  I seem to remember reading that it’s now a little sandwich bar 🙂


It made my day finding it anyway.

We had pretty much run out of day by this point but, as ever, resolved to return and see the rest of the town – we didn’t of course, just the Asda on the each of town…

The following day was when we were to visit Holy Island (Lindisfarne).  We took the cycle path which alternates between on and off road until you get to the parking area, at which point you are on the road ready to cross the causeway.  As you get to the centre you have to be careful to stay on the road as you’ll be in the water otherwise!  It’s also very windy out in the middle – it was surprisingly hard going, even on our electric bikes!

From the site to the village was about 4 miles.  Once we had locked the bikes up our first visit was to the priory and the church. (English Heritage).  There was very little left of the priory and my abiding memory was of the beautiful pinkish colour of the stone.  From here we wandered down to the shore where we found 1 of the 4 lifeboat houses that have served the island over the years.


1 of the Lifeboat stations on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)


Lindisfarne Priory with the church in the background



We could also hear a sort of barking sound which we couldn’t quite place.  It turned out to be a number of seals basking on the other side of a small sandbank a little way offshore.

Scrambling up a rocky hillside (there is a path but it’s a longer walk!) we were able to overlook the priory ruins and also climb a tower that has been repurposed to give information about the island, and provide amazing views.  Following the path we found ourselves in the natural harbour from where we could see the remains of an old fort.  We also noted the upturned boats along the shore that provided shelter and storage.  They even had doors built into the end!

A new use for an old boat on Lindisfarne

We collected our bikes to cycle down to the castle, which was unfortunately not open as it is undergoing extensive repairs this year.  We’ll have to return to see this National Trust property.  By now it had started to rain and we were rewarded with a rainbow 🙂  We could see the limekilns across the other side of the peninsula and there was a garden there that you could visit (but that’s not really for us).

On the way back we visited 1 of the 3 pubs in the village, which was part coffee shop and part bar.  We picked up some bread in the village shop and then it was back to the van.  It was actually very windy by now and so it was head down and go for it… We found it interesting to see groups of people walking across the sands – there seemed to be a waymarked path that they were following.  I’m not sure that I’d have been too happy having a go at that on our own though.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day out on the island and, once again, resolved to return to walk amongst the dunes and see the wildlife.  Of course, we never quite made it.  There was too much else to do!

Of which I will tell you more in my next post.  This will include visiting several of the beaches close by (including Bambrugh), a trip inland to Ford and Etal and a short trip into Scotland with a visit to Eyemouth.

Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)

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