The Pilgrim’s Path to Holy Island

The main thing about visiting the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, situated just off the North East England coast, is timing.

The tidal island is linked to the mainland by a causeway and this is cut off twice daily, so you do need to check the tide timetables very carefully.

Here is the link to the Lindisfarne tide forecast

There are refuge boxes for those walkers who end up stranded or cars that get flooded as the tide comes in rather quickly. People who need to be rescued. This is particularly relevant if you don’t do your research on the tidal times.

Locals call these the idiot boxes. (They get straight to the point in Northumberland).

An idiot box with the Pilgrim’s Path series of poles in the distance

In our case, we decided to walk across the causeway (a distance of about 3.5 miles) and we needed to get the timing absolutely perfect. We decided to consult a few locals ahead of time so we didn’t do anything stupid and end up in an idiot box.

Luckily the tide was going out around 10:00 and coming back in at about 17:00 on the day we visited. So, we removed shoes and socks, rolled up the trouser legs (it was a bit too cold for shorts in October!) and followed the Pilgrim’s Path series of poles through the puddles and mud towards the island.


At points we were ankle deep in water and mud and somewhere in the middle we hid knee deep dark mud – so be prepared to get dirty!

Foot therapy

It is also very slippery in places so be aware. It is a very slow, careful walk and we completed it in just under 3 hours.

Remember to take wet wipes for cleaning of the feet at the end!

A special note: don’t bother with sandals. Someone that we walked with lost their sandals in the middle stretch of mud. We had no sympathy has he had been very smug about wearing the sandals to start with 😊

Knowing a few locals was useful as we had someone to pick you up on the island, otherwise you virtually have no time to visit anything and have to walk back before the tide comes back in.

Following the main road into town

The other option is to find accommodation on the island and stay overnight.

Lindisfarne was considered an important holy site from which Christianity spread in England from the 6th century beginning with St Aidan. The patron saint of Northumberland, St Cuthbert, is also buried here, pilgrims have followed the path across the causeway for many centuries.

St Aidan statue at the Lindisfarne Priory

And so did we.

It was different but well worth it!

More about what we visited on Lindisfarne in the next blog.

Links included are for information only and aren’t affiliate links. Opinions expressed are our own based on personal experience.

All images used are personal photographs taken during a visit to Northumberland in October 2021.

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