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The Farne Islands are located a few miles off the Northumbrian coast and are known for their wildlife and association with St Cuthbert. In summer, the islands are home to some 150,000 breeding pairs of seabirds – most famously, puffins; but razorbills, guillemots and eider ducks are also among the around 23 different varieties of birds that can be seen there. The islands are also home to the largest breeding colony of grey, or Atlantic, seals in England; about 1,000 pups are born there every autumn. There are 28 islands but only 3 can be visited – Inner Farne, Staple Island and Longstone Island. Inner Farne and Staple are owned by the National Trust. St Cuthbert, who is pretty much patron saint of the North of England, lived on Inner Farne as a hermit in the 7th century; his chapel on the island dates from the 14th century. Young Victorian heroine Grace Darling lived with her family on Longstone Rock, where her father was lighthouse keeper. It was from there that she and her father set out in their small open boat to rescue survivors from the stricken SS Forfarshire which had struck Big Harcar rock in 1838.

To visit the Farne Islands, you need to take a boat from the village of Seahouses. There are several private boat operators, each one offering slightly different options, but as of June 2020 only one is able to land visitors on Longstone. You must wear warm clothing, sensible footwear and a hat to protect your head from diving birds.

Location/Address: North Sunderland Harbour
County: Northumberland
Post Code: NE68 7RN
Main Historic Period: N/A
Useful Website Address: Visit Northumberland website
Tip/Nearby: Bamburgh is just up the coast
Primary Management: National Trust
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