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Photo of Farne Islands in Northumberland Coast (Northumberland region)
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Visit Farne Islands

The Farne Islands is a group of islands 3-8 kilometres off the Northumberland Coast in north-east England, within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and between Seahouses and Bamburgh. There are two separate groups of islands, known as the Inner Group and the Outer Group.

None of the islands are inhabited, although National Trust wardens sometimes stay on the islands.

Farne Islands Inner Group: Inner Farne (the largest of the islands), Knoxes Reef, East Wideopen, West Wideopen, Megstone

Farne Islands Outer Group: Staple Island, Brownsman, North Wamses, South Wamses, Big Harcar, Longstone

The islands are best known as being a haven for numerous species of sea birds, including many thousands of puffins, terns and guillemots, and it is this chance to see a wide variety of birds, along with the unique natural landscape, that attracts most visitors. There is also a substantial population of Grey Seals on the Farne Islands.

Visitors are also attracted to the Farne Islands because of the scuba diving opportunities - there are numerous options for divers of various abilities, and the chance to see seals and shipwrecks (because of the nature of the islands, some disappearing under water at high tide and other rocks just below the surface there are a great deal of wrecked ships in the waters around the islands).

Several important historical monuments are also situated on the Farne Islands, such as Saint Cuthbert's chapel, a medieval 'pele tower', and a Victorian lighthouse on Longstone Rock. The Longstone Rock lighthouse is best known for the bravery of Grace Darling, daughter of the lighthouse keeper who saved many people from drowning after a shipwreck on the 7th of September 1838 (see also the Grace Darling Museum at Bamburgh).

Boat trips around the coast of the islands depart from Seahouses, and some offer a chance to spend some time on Inner Farne itself (additional charge for non National Trust members), and sometimes on Staple Island or Longstone Island. You will also enjoy seeing such natural spectacles as the Pinnacles, rocky outposts off Staple Point island. May, June and July are the best months for birdwatchers to visit, while in late summer the birds breeding grounds give way to the seals and their pups as the big attraction. See Farne Islands Boat Trips for details.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Northumberland Coast guide and the Northumberland guide.

See also: 

Map of Farne Islands and places to visit


Farne Islands places to visit



Seahouses guide


Bamburgh guide


Beadnell guide


Lindisfarne guide


Embleton guide


Craster guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Northumberland

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