Farne Islands

Northumberland Coast

During breeding season (roughly May to July), you can see feeding chicks of 20 seabird species (including puffin, kittiwake, Arctic tern, eider duck, cormorant and gull), and some 6000 grey seals, on this rocky archipelago 3 miles offshore from the fishing village of Seahouses. Boat operators, contactable through Seahouses' tourist office, depart from Seahouses' dock, including Billy Shiel.

Crossings can be rough (impossible in bad weather); wear warm, waterproof clothing and an old hat to guard against the birds!

Inner Farne is the more interesting of the two main islands accessible to the public (along with Staple Island); its tiny chapel (1370; restored 1848) commemorates St Cuthbert, who lived here for a spell and died here in 687.

Bus X18 links Seahouses with Berwick-upon-Tweed (£5.80, one hour, every two hours) and Newcastle (£7.40, three hours, every two hours). Bus 418 runs to Alnwick (£6.50, one hour, every two hours).

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