Skip to content
Sandwich terns on Inner Farne
Sandwich terns at Inner Farne, Farne Islands | © National Trust / John Walton
North East

Inner Farne wildlife walk

Follow a gentle circular walk on the Farne Islands, 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 seabirds. For a unique wildlife experience, visit between April and July, or explore a more tranquil, historic island after the breeding season finishes.

Breeding Arctic terns

Arctic terns make very protective parents, so beware when their chicks have hatched. If you walk too close, they'll dive-bomb you to keep their little ones safe – remember to bring a hat to protect your head. You can also slowly wave a hand above your head to discourage them.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Island jetty, grid ref: NU218359

Step 1

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. 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.

Step 2

Go left to start your circuit of the island. 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.

Visitors walking in autumn near St Cuthbert's Chapel on Inner Farne, on the Farne Islands, Northumberland
Visitors walking in autumn near St Cuthbert's Chapel on Inner Farne, on the Farne Islands | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Step 3

Follow the boardwalk and to the left you'll see the one spot on Inner Farne where sandwich terns cluster together to breed.

Step 4

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. From here you can see Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance on a clear day. These are the tallest rock faces on the island and the clifftops are home to thousands of breeding guillemots, shag and kittiwake in summer.

Group of grey seals on the Farne Islands, Northumberland
Group of grey seals on the Farne Islands, Northumberland | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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 27 metres (90ft) in the air.

Step 8

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

End point

Information Centre

Trail map

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

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

A view of three lime kilns on a beachfront with Lindisfarne Castle in the background

Lindisfarne Castle walk 

Enjoy a short walk around Lindisfarne Castle, taking in the 19th-century lime kilns, castle headland and the walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Includes options for more accessible routes.

DistanceMiles: 1 (km: 1.6) to miles: 1.5 (km: 2.4)
View of Dunstanburgh Castle from the north west

Dunstanburgh Castle ghost walk 

If you'd like a spooky ghost walk in an isolated setting, look no further than this stretch of Northumberland coastline, dominated by the magnificent ruin of Dunstanburgh Castle.

DistanceMiles: 3 (km: 4.8)

Get in touch

Near Seahouses, Northumberland, For Sat Nav use NE68 7RQ

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

Ranger helping visitors out of a boat on to the Farne Islands, Northumberland

How to visit the Farne Islands responsibly 

We’ve put together some guidelines for you to follow to make sure the wildlife stays safe when you visit, plus tips for taking photos without disturbing the seabirds.

Visitors exploring the orangery ruin

Walking in the North East 

From a trek through the largest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland to a walk in the footsteps of the Romans along Hadrian's Wall, there are some amazing places to walk in the North East.

Paper flower and bunny Easter decorations

Shopping on the Farne Islands 

Stop by the National Trust shop in Seahouses before or after your boat trip to the Farne Islands for puffin souvenirs, postcards, homeware, gardening tools, books and more.

Two visitors bird watching with binoculars at the Farne Islands, Northumberland

Things to see on the Farne Islands 

Find out what you might see when you take a boat trip to the Farne Islands, from wildlife such as puffins and grey seals, to centuries-old buildings including St Cuthbert's Chapel.

A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.