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Focus: Top 10 English holiday hotspots

9 - Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northumberland: the cradle of Christianity

Top 10 English holiday hotspots © Copyright

Lindisfarne is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England also known as Holy Island, the name of the civil parish. According to one place-name authority, the name originates in Old English, and means "island [of the] travellers from Lindsey", indicating that the island was settled from Lindsey, or possibly that its inhabitants travelled there. In 2001 the island had a population of 162. Popular with pilgrims due to the island's significance in Christianity, the island is also popular with nature enthusiasts due to its tranquility, spiritual and scenic beauty.

Holy Island has a national reputation as a wildlife haven and is home to a national nature reserve. As well as numerous rare birds, you may even spot the grey seal that are resident on the nearby Farne Islands all year round. Standing on a rocky outcrop overlooking the island is Lindisfarne Castle - a small fortress first built in 1550 and today looked after by the National Trust. Holy Island is small, but its close-knit community has adapted well to the thousands of visitors that descend on the island every year. Find a sunny bench outside a local pub and sample a fresh crab sandwich - a Northumberland specialty. There really is nothing like it. The sites include Lindisfarne Castle, the Priory and St Haidan's Church, St Cuthbert's Centre.

Now for a little bit of trivia, Holy Island, Lindisfarne Castle in particular, was used as the setting for Roman Polanski's film, Cul-de-Sac in the 60s, and the final episode of the TV series, Cold Feet was filmed in the castle.

In terms of scenery, visitors can expect to see a craggy coastline with several sandy creeks as well as large green pastures. There is an eerie atmosphere about the place due to its ancient past and monuments, but it is perfect if you need to get away and have some time to unwind. In terms of accommodation there is a handful of options including inns, cottages, and small hotels.

Getting there: the island is linked to the mainland via Lindisfarne Causeway which can be reached via bus, car, cycle or simply on foot. You can check the crossing times by clicking here.

By Rooksana Hossenally

Somerset: where history meets nature Frinton-on-sea: to suit even the smallest of budgets