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Exploring the Farne Islands off the North East Coast is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. On a gloriously sunny day whilst we were staying in Northumberland we finally got the chance to go. 

Exploring the Farne Islands

Exploring the Farne Islands – about the Islands.

The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the Northumberland coast. There are 15-20 islands, depending on the tide. The Islands are most famous for their wildlife, puffins, seals and other birds all call the islands their home. Lighthouses and the Victorian heroine Grace Darling are a well known part of the Farne Islands history too.

Exploring the Farne Islands – how to get to them

If you are planning on exploring the Farne Islands you will need a boat. The fishing village of Seahouses is the gateway to seeing the islands.


Exploring the Farne Islands - Seahouses fishing village


From the harbour you can book boat trip tickets. I would do a bit of research before you go and decide what kind of boat trip you want, which might depend on what wildlife is there for the time of year. There are quick sails around the islands, longer tours with a guide who will explain what you are seeing and even tours that dock on certain islands.


Exploring the Farne Islands - Seahouses boat trip


As we were exploring the Farne Islands after visiting Lindisfarne and knowing the puffins had left for the season we settled on a guided tour around the islands. This is about a 1.5 – 2 hour trip and costs £7 per adult and £3.50 per child.

Exploring the Farne Islands – the wildlife

The Farne Islands are a National Trust sight and famous for the wildlife they attract.

Our favourite are the seals. There are thousands of grey seals in the colony on the Farne Islands. On our sunny day you can see them sunbathing at the waters edge.


Exploring the Farne Islands - The seals laying on an island


Although most of the seals are basking in the sunshine a few came over to our boat. Here you can just make out a head bobbing along watching us sail past.

Exploring the Farne Islands - A seal watching our boat


Sadly we missed puffin season at the Islands, April – July is the best time if you want to see the puffins. There are still thousands of other sea birds to see as you sail around the islands. I am not a bird expert so other than the seagulls, I’m not too sure what we saw.


Exploring the Farne Islands - A seagull landing on the water

Exploring the Farne Islands - Birds on the rocks


No matter where on the Islands you look, every inch has birds.


Exploring the Farne Islands - Birds on the rocks

Exploring the Farne Islands - Birds on the rocks

Exploring the Farne Islands – the islands

Although the wildlife is what attracts me to the Farne Islands, the thing I will remember most is the Islands themselves. The rock formations are just stunning.

I think the weather for our visit helps, but you almost can’t believe this is England can you?


Exploring the Farne Islands - The rock formations

Exploring the Farne Islands - The rock formations


The rocks tips, stained white with bird poop, almost adds to their beauty I think.

Exploring the Farne Islands - The rock formationsExploring the Farne Islands - The rock formations

Exploring the Farne Islands – the other sights

As well as the wildlife and rock formations there are a few other sights to see whilst exploring the Farne Islands.

Longstone Lighthouse is probably the most iconic sight from the Farne Islands. It is a 19th century lighthouse that is still active today.


Exploring the Farne Islands - The lighthouse


The Chapel of St Cuthbert, built in the 14th century. It is open to visitors if you do stop off at the Inner Farne Island.


Exploring the Farne Islands - The Chapel of St Cuthbert


And this is Prior Castell’s Tower, which is now home to the National Trust rangers who look after the islands.


Exploring the Farne Islands - Prior Castell's Tower

Exploring the Farne Islands – final thoughts

Both me and Ellie loved our trip sailing around, exploring the Farne Islands. I love seeing all the wildlife in their natural habitat and the Islands themselves are absolutely beautiful. The boat trips are all really good value for money, especially if you have a shorter sail around the island. I would like to go again, earlier in the year to see the puffins nesting and I would quite like to land on the islands themselves next time too.

If you are ever in the Northumberland area it is definitely worth a visit to see them.

Have you ever been to the Farne Islands? If not is exploring the Farne Islands something you would like to do?

Exploring the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK. Sailing. Wildlife.

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10 comments on “Exploring the Farne Islands”

  1. I’ve never visited the Farne Islands but a boat trip sounds fab. It’s a shame that you didn’t get to see the puffins but you saw enough to whet your appetite for a return visit and your post makes it sound very appealing to me too!

  2. Northumberland is such a wonderful part of Britain isn’t it – and somehow not as well known as it should be. I’ve visited Lindisfarne but not the Farne Islands – so it’s a great excuse for me to go back now!

  3. I’ve never heard of the Faroe Islands until this post. For me I would love to go and see the puffins more than the seals but it really looks fun to explore with the sailing trip.

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