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Things to do in Lindisfarne Castle

Outside Lindisfarne Castle in autumn, Northumberland
Outside Lindisfarne Castle in autumn | © National Trust Images/Suzanne Ingham

Standing on a crag 100 feet above the sea, Lindisfarne Castle has always been the biggest draw to this corner of Holy Island. Explore the castle’s rooms, from the cosy Dining Room and functional Kitchen to the ornate but practical wind indicator and imagine how its residents would have lived. Experience artist Liz Gre's light, sound and sculptural art installation 'Embodied Cacophonies' in the Upper Gallery.

Explore the castle’s rooms

Wander inside Lindisfarne Castle to get a feel for what it might have been like for residents and guests in centuries past.

Entrance Hall

Step inside the castle via the Entrance Hall, renovated in 1912 by Edwin Lutyens with columns to imitate the nave of Durham Cathedral. See how the columns ‘grow’ out of the floor, part of Lutyens’ theme of the castle being part of the crag.

Look out for the symmetry of the room (Lutyens extended the hall into part of the old kitchen to achieve this) and don’t miss then-owner Edward Hudson’s initials, which he had embossed on the fireplace when the work was completed in 1912.

The Kitchen

Though there has been a kitchen in this space since at least 1742, the one you’ll see today dates from about 1912 and would later become the domain of housekeepers Jack and Hannah Lilburn.

You can also see the Scullery, a simple, functional room full of original features. Note the wall paintings above the Scullery door, which were discovered in 2017 and date to the late 1600s.

The Dining Room

Step into the Dining Room to imagine Hudson entertaining his guests with champagne, lobsters and one of his long, signature speeches.

This was originally the castle’s kitchen, and the Tudor fireplace survives from this period, including a bread oven and salt hole. Note the window too, which was replaced during a 2017 project, based on Lutyens’ original drawing.

The Ship Room

The Ship Room used to be three separate spaces, including one of the castle’s two gunpowder magazines. By the 1850s it had been opened out.

Today, you’ll see Lutyens’ conversion, which he began in 1904. He reimagined it to become the castle’s Drawing Room, with a restored fireplace, comfortable furnishings and, of course, the model ship hanging from the ceiling.

View of the Ship Room with a curved roof, large fireplace and red carpet at Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland
The Ship Room at Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Long Gallery

Walk along the Long Gallery, which was built in 1904 to join the two buildings of the old fort together. Prior to that, this space was open to the elements. Look out for the doorway to the two bedrooms, which was added in 1912.

The North Bedrooms

See the three North Bedrooms, which were added in the summer of 1912. They occupy the former Queen’s Battery, which was intended to mount guns facing north, but probably never did.

The Upper Gallery

Explore the Upper Gallery, which was used for centuries as a storeroom, but which has also been a servants’ dormitory and a second drawing room. Perhaps you’d like to picture it during the time it served as a performance space for cellist Madame Suggia to perform concerts on the small stage.

The Upper Battery

Take in the panoramic views of the sea and the Northumberland coast from the Upper Battery. At one point it mounted 11 cannons. On a clear day you can see the Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle, the Cheviot Hills, Berwick upon Tweed and the two navigation beacons opposite the castle.

More to see inside the castle

Elsewhere in the castle, keep an eye out for the original staircase leading to the Upper Battery and the low ceilings in the western end of the building. And don’t miss the surviving Victorian doors leading to the former gunpowder magazine, which is now Lutyens' West Bedroom.

The wind indicator

This decorative but practical gadget moves in real time to let you know which way the wind is blowing. Commissioned over a century ago, the wind indicator was installed in 1913 and, apart from some conservation work in 2006, has been turning all that time.

Believe it or not, it isn’t always windy on Holy Island so, depending on when you visit, you might not see the wind indicator moving.

The wind indicator at Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland, showing a flat circular area similar to a clock face with possible directions painted on, against a blue background.
The ornate wind indicator at Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland. | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Experience Liz Gre's " Embodied Cacophonies'

Experience Lindisfarne Castle in a completely different way to anything you may have seen (or heard) before.

We're exhibiting Liz Gres immersive light and sound piece 'Embodied Cacophonies' in the castle's Upper Gallery for 2024/25.

Some furnishings from the castle's collection have been brought back to weave a story between the installation and the castle's past inhabitants. For 2024 / 25 the experience shines a light on Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Hudson and his guests were drawn here as a place of escape, seeking sanctuary and an opportunity to reconnect with nature. The experience in the castle recreates that feeling, with beautiful insights into "Ned" Lutyens work during his time at the castle.

Normal admission charges apply. Last entry is 45 minutes before castle closing time.

Collections online

Continue your exploration of Lindisfarne Castle online at the Collections website, which we update regularly with new objects.

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