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Farne Islands, Inner Farne wildlife walk


The Farne Islands are one of the natural highlights of the Northumbrian coast. Famed for providing sanctuary to St Cuthbert in the 7th century, Inner Farne is now renowned as a summer haven for nesting sea birds.

Plenty to discover whatever the season

For a unique wildlife experience, visit between April and July, or explore a more tranquil, historic island after the breeding season finishes.

Sandwich terns on Inner Farne
Sandwich terns at Inner Farne, Farne Islands John Walton


Map route for Farne Islands Inner Farne wildlife walk
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Island jetty, grid ref: NU218359


Take care stepping off the boat onto the jetties and climb up the boardwalk. The small stone building on your left is the fishe house. It stands on the site of the medieval guest house where visiting monks would stay. From April to July this is the first place you meet breeding Arctic terns. They nest near the path and can be very defensive of their eggs or chicks. Expect to be dive-bombed, but don't panic; just slowly wave a hand above your head to discourage them.

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Terns flying above rangers on the Farne Islands
The islands are inundated with wildlife National Trust / John Walton


Visit St Cuthberts Chapel, see the Pele Tower and check out the Info Centre, or go left and start your circuit of the island. Again this is all Arctic tern nesting zone in early summer chicks could be dotted around the cobbles so watch where you step and never run.

The stained glass window in St Cuthbert's Chapel on the Farne Islands
From saints to shipwrecks, the Farnes have a long and diverse history National Trust / Nick Lewis


Look left this is the one spot on Inner Farne where sandwich terns cluster together to breed.


Walk up the island to the lighthouse. Before it was built in 1825 a beacon used to get lit on top of the Pele Tower to warn off ships. Turn left to Lighthouse Cliff viewpoint; you can see Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance on a clear day. These are the tallest rock faces on the island and the cliff tops are home to thousands of breeding guillemots, shag and kittiwake in summer.

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A young female grey seal on the beach
Seals are inquisitive and will come close if you remain still National Trust Images / Joe Cornish


Return to the lighthouse and turn left past the picnic area. There used to be two more cottages here where the lighthouse keepers and their families lived.


Follow the boardwalk through an area filled with puffin burrows and take a quick detour left to the Quarry viewpoint. Bamburgh Castle is straight ahead of you on the mainland.

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On your left is a large expanse of rocky foreshore. If there's a large sea swell, you might see the Churn blowhole spout out water up to 90ft (27m) in the air.


Return to the information centre, passing the monks' old vegetable garden on your left.


Information Centre

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Farne Islands, Inner Farne wildlife walk


A circular route, boardwalk slightly uneven and slippery when wet but suitable for most pushchairs. Take care on cobbles and near cliff top viewpoints.

Farne Islands, Inner Farne wildlife walk

Contact us

Farne Islands, Inner Farne wildlife walk

How to get here

North Sea, off Northumberland Coast between Bamburgh and Seahouses, NE68 7SR
By road

Car park (non-National Trust) in Seahouses, close to harbour.

By ferry

Seahouses harbour to Inner Farne, boat trips daily, April to September, weather permitting.

By bus

Arriva 501, Newcastle station to Alnwick station to Berwick, alight Seahouses, 1.5 miles (2.4km).

By bicycle

Seahouses is just off National Cycle Network Route 1 (scenic Coast & Castles route).

Farne Islands, Inner Farne wildlife walk

Facilities and access

  • Parking in Seahouses opposite harbour (pay and display; not National Trust)