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Hiking trail

Circular walk on Holy Island

Hiking trail
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  • Northumberland beaches on Lindisfarne
    / Northumberland beaches on Lindisfarne
    Photo: Heleen Bosch, Macs Adventure Ltd
m 10 5 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 km
A circular walk on Holy Island of Lindisfarne showcasing its typical Northumberland beaches, windswept dunes, its famous attractions such as Lindisfarne Castle and a breath of fresh air!
Distance 8 km
2:00 h
14 m
14 m

Set off on a quiet route along the dunes and shores of the northern side of the island, away from the crowds. Visit North Shore, Coves Haven and Sandham Bay that are typical Northumberland beaches. Pass Castle Point and Lindisfarne Castle on the way and stop in one of the cosy cafés for a traditional cream tea. Watch the variety of birds on the coast, breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy the coastal scenery.

In the afternoon you are free to explore the many attractions Holy Island has to offer, including the Gertrude Jekyll Garden which is located to the north of the castle or St Aidan's Winery, where you can sample Lindisfarne Mead, a locally produced alcoholic beverage. 

Author’s recommendation

If you are looking to visit  Lindisfarne Castle this needs to be booked in advance, which can be done here: 


Profile picture of Heleen Bosch
Heleen Bosch
Update: May 12, 2021
Highest point
14 m
Lowest point
2 m

Safety information


If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the St Cuthbert's Way map published by Harvey Map. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app.



If you wish to bring a guidebook, we would recommend St Cuthbert's Way Rucksack Reader.


Macs Adventure Blogs

Using our decades of experience we have written several blogs containing helpful tips, daily wildlife information, lunch stops, where to eat, FAQ and more. Please follow the link below to read our St Cuthbert's Way insights:   

Tips and hints

Points of Interest

The Links

The dune system (known as The Links) and three beaches on the northern side of Holy Island

Lindisfarne Castle

A 16th-century castle located on Holy Island, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, much altered by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901. Please note if you are looking to visit the castle this needs to be booked in advance

Coves Haven

This is a remote and little known sandy beach is located on the far (northern) side of Holy Island. Backed by high sand dunes there are steep cliffs at the eastern end, both of which provide shelter from the wind.

Castle Head Rocks

A headland of flat volcanic rock that can be walked on and – if it is high tide – is a great place to enjoy dramatic waves crashing below

Emmanuel Point

A white pyramid that guides ships, it is surrounded by benches and a perfect spot for a break. 


Chare Ends Visitors car park, Holy Island (8 m)
OS Grid
NU 12571 42425
55.675165, -1.801675
55°40'30.6"N 1°48'06.0"W
30U 575360 6170578


Chare Ends Visitors car park, Holy Island

Turn-by-turn directions

START from the main visitor car park on Chare Ends. Exit the car park and carefully CROSS over on to the path on the other side of the road, TURN RIGHT as if you are walking away from the village. You will come across a warning sign with a tide timetable on your left.

Opposite the warning sign and timetable, you should see a gate with an information board on the other side of the road. CROSS over here carefully as this is the main road in and out of the village on Holy Island.

Go THROUGH the gate and follow the path as it hugs the fence line to the right. After 5 minutes or so, the path should enter an open area before the first set of dunes. You may be able to see the foundations of a building built into the dunes ahead and to your left.  CONTINUE STRAIGHT  on across this open area towards the first set of dunes.

Once you are in the dunes, BEAR LEFT at the fork and follow the path up and over the dune and into the next open area.

CONTINUE STRAIGHT on across this open area between the dunes, passing the ruined building on your right and CONTINUE STRAIGHT on through the small gap in the wire fence ahead of you.

CONTINUE along this path, over the next two sets of dunes. After this, the path will end on a wide beach. This is the north shore and is a typical Northumbrian beach, wide and flat.

TURN RIGHT on the beach and walk towards the end of the beach, where it starts to get rocky. In the distance, you may see numerous birds on the shoreline.

At the end of a beach is another wire fence, go over or around the fence and head uphill into the dunes that are ahead of you and are adjacent to the beach, keeping the seashore to your left.

Once in the dunes again, CONTINUE along the path that follows the crest of the dune, which will undulate and provide beautiful views out to sea. Keep walking past the rocky shore on your left for about 10 -15 minutes, sticking to the path which will head slightly inland and eventually reach an access point to the next beach, Coves Haven, which will be straight ahead of you. The access point can be steep and there is another at the western end of the beach, which is slightly less steep.

Walk down to the beach and then along the beach. Coves Haven is a great place to get out of the wind, as it is protected by the dunes from prevailing westerlies. The beach has a set of cliffs and caves at its eastern end, where gulls and other birds nest.

Just before the beach ends, look out for a path going back uphill into the dunes, please note this is quite a steep and sandy path, so you will need to persevere to get to back up on to the dune.

 Once back on the dune, TURN LEFT and follow the crest of the dune again until you reach the top of the cliffs you saw from Coves Haven beach. You will get amazing views out to the sea from up here. Be careful of the cliff edge. From here you will see a white pyramid, which is a daymark on Emmanuel Point to stop ships from being wrecked on the rocky shore there. CONTINUE along the path, and after 5 minutes you may see an old lime quarry to your right-hand side, as well as Castle Head Rocks to your left. You can scramble around the headland to access Sandham’s bay beach, otherwise, retrace your steps back to the path and turn left.

Follow the path as it cuts across the headland and as it BEARS RIGHT. You should be able to see Sandham's beach ahead of you, on your left.

After a couple of minutes, there should be an access point to the beach on your left. Take this access point and be aware this is quite steep and will bring you out on to the rocks. Beyond the rocks is the sandy part of the beach. Sandham Bay beach is another sheltered beach, that is a great place to get out of the wind and enjoy the lovely views out to sea.

Walk along the beach, heading towards the white pyramid that you can see in the distance. At the end of the beach, you should see a path heading up on to the dune on your right. Scramble across the rocks and up the path.

Follow this path for a few minutes and you will reach the white pyramid on Emmanuel Point.  The pyramid has benches on all sides, so feel free to stop for a rest and enjoy the view out to sea.

Follow either of the paths on the other side of the pyramid from which you arrived. Both converge in a few minutes at a junction of paths next to a stone wall.

CONTINUE STRAIGHT on and go through the gap in the fence next to the cliff danger signs.

Keep following this path for approximately 20 minutes, heading towards the castle. The path will eventually BEAR RIGHT and head inland on an embankment when the castle is to your right. Before the embankment, TURN LEFT off the path to Castle Point, where you will be on a pebble beach. Immediately in front of you, there should be lots of stone cairns.

Follow the pebble beach as it curves around Castle Point for 10 minutes, enjoying the views out to sea and towards the mainland, including Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands, in the distance.

When you can see the Castle kilns to your right, leave the beach and walk towards the kilns, which are definitely worth exploring. This is where the lime from the quarry on the north of the island was brought for processing.

Go around the kilns, keeping them to your left, and climb the steps to the top of the kilns. The castle should be straight ahead of you. Just ahead to the right is Little Beblowe Crag, another hill/vantage point to enjoy views out to sea. This is best accessed from the other side of the hill.

Passing Little Beblowe Crag on your right, head uphill towards Lindisfarne Castle. If you want to visit the castle, the ticket office is in front of the castle.

Follow the path and BEAR LEFT and this will take you past the castle, which will be on your right-hand side. The path will go past the castle and then head downhill. You should be able to see the village ahead, in the distance.

After a few minutes, you will come to a set of two kissing gates, both allowing access to the road from the castle to the village, go through either of these.

Follow the road for 10-15 minutes, enjoying the views towards the village and in the harbour to your left, until you reach the first turning, TURN RIGHT, which will be in the village.

TURN RIGHT and follow this road (Sandham Lane) and take the first left onto Green Lane, passing the car park on your right. There are café options here if you need a beverage or a bite to eat.

Following the pavement on the right-hand side, turn right at the end onto Chare Ends and follow this road for 5 minutes, back to the visitor’s car park where your walk is FINSIHED


all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
NU 12571 42425
55.675165, -1.801675
55°40'30.6"N 1°48'06.0"W
30U 575360 6170578
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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8 km
2:00 h
14 m
14 m


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