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This is the place to search for places to visit and things of interest in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – over 780 entries have been listed as of July 2020. Most entries have links for further information.
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.
Lindisfarne – also known as Holy Island – is a tidal island and village packed with history, as well as being famous for its mead. It is one of the most important centres of early English Christianity. King Oswald invited Celtic monks from Iona to spread Christianity in Northumbria and St Aidan founded a monastery on Lindisfarne in 635 AD. St Cuthbert joined the monastery sometime in the 670s and went on to become Lindisfarne’s greatest monk-bishop and the most venerated saint in northern England in the Middle Ages. The Lindisfarne Gospels were created here in the early 8th century. The monks left following violent Viking attacks and today's visible priory ruins (English Heritage) date from the early 12th century. Next to the old priory is the fascinating parish church of St Mary the Virgin. On the south east corner of the island is Lindisfarne Castle (National Trust), which began life as a defensive fort in the mid-16th century and was bought by Edward Hudson, the owner of Country Life magazine in 1901, who had it completely refurbished by Sir Edwin Lutyens as a holiday home. Beyond the main attractions are views and walks and places to eat – but beware: Holy Island is only accessible at certain times via a causeway across the sea that is covered twice a day and the tides come in very quickly.
The Scilly Isles, or more properly the Isles of Scilly, are an archipelago of 50+ islands and islets about 28 miles off the south-western tip of Cornwall. There are five inhabited islands - St Mary's, Tresco, St Martin's, Bryher and St Agnes. St Agnes is the most southerly point in the United Kingdom, about 4 miles further south than Lizard Point, the most southerly point of the British mainland. The capital of the Isles of Scilly is Hugh Town on St Mary’s, which is the largest and most populated island. The islands are famously warm, snow and ice being extremely rare, though they do suffer from Atlantic storms. They have a rich and varied history from prehistoric times, were known to the Phoenicians and Romans and are associated with many legends. The economy relies heavily on tourism and the Scilly Isles are a unique and lovely holiday destination. Access is by ferry, fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter; the ferry from Penzance takes about 3 hours.
St Michael's Mount is an evocative and picturesque island in Mount's Bay, with a small village, a castle and sub-tropical gardens. Access is by boat (of course) or on foot via a causeway at low tide. It is an ancient site, with plenty of legends and a chequered history. Once, it was the priory of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. Since c1650, it has been the home of the St Aubin family. The village had a population of 200+ in the 19th century - now it is about 30.