St. Cuthbert's House

northumbrian bed and breakfast

Visit Holy Island

Stepping into a 'thin' place...

The places we mention here are also marked on the Google Map which we've made available here. And you can quickly jump further down this page for our ideas of what to do on Holy Island.

We're sure you'll want to venture across the causeway to Lindisfarne. But please, heed the safe crossing times. It might seem unbelievable that people would choose to drive their cars into the North Sea and need to be rescued by the lifeboat, but it happens regularly, as some of the the pictures in the Gallery down below and on our 'Weather & Tides' page illustrate. Make sure it doesn't happen to you, by adhering to the safe crossing times.

Lindisfarne has become known as 'Holy Island' because of the important part it played in the story of bringing the Christian gospel to England. Here's a thirty-second catchup: in order to protect him from harm, a young Prince - Oswald - was sent to to the monastery on Iona in the Hebrides. His father was Ethelfrith, King of Northumbria, who was defeated in battle and whose kingdom was eventually ruled over by Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of Wales. Oswald's brother Eanfrith was killed by Cadwallon as he attempted to negotiate peace with the invaders.

Oswald was converted to Chritianity amongst the monks in the monastery on Iona. Eventually he returned to defeat Cadwallon at the Battle of Heavenfield, near Hexham, in 633 or 634, and he set out to bring the Christian message to his subjects. He asked for a missionary team to come from Iona, but the first team returned home dejected. Colman, the leader of that mission, gave a report back at the monastery, describing the Northumbrians they'd encountered as 'a wicked and barbarous people, unworthy of the gospel of Christ' - which seems a little on the harsh side to me, we're not that bad.

Holy Island Hearing this report as it was given to the gathering, a young monk called Aidan responded, saying that perhaps Colman could have been more gentle with the natives - and the rest is history, so to speak. Oswald granted Lindisfarne to Aidan so that he could establish a monastery modelled on their home on Iona. The essential spiritual disciplines of retreat and engagement were naturally enforced by the turning of each tide, which isolated Lindisfarne twice every day, then as now. Aidan was eventually succeeded by an even more famous and perhaps the 'greatest' of all the Northumbrian saints, Cuthbert.

There remains something special about the island for visitors and pilgrims today - although the crowds which flock around the island's village-centre on the busiest summer days might make it a little difficult to experience any form of spiritual awakening! But take a short stroll away from the village, and there is plenty of peace and quiet, and space to ponder.

Just as you arrive on the island after crossing the causeway, you'll find the main (Pay & Display) car park. You can buy a ticket for 3-hours, or all-day. You should park here, as there is almost no parking elsewhere on the island. A hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus links the car park, the village and the castle if you don't want to walk, but it's really not far.

Whilst you're on the island, you should visit the Lindisfarne Heritage Centre (01289 389004). Be sure to check the safe crossing times before you go (or try to come back) They're also on the wall in our Cuthbert Room. Please do heed them.

Our frinds Mark & Mary Fleeson run The Lindisfarne Scriptorium on Holy Island, and we can thoroughly recommend a visit to see and buy Mary's artwork. There are also a few other interesting shops, one or two pubs and a few cafes including Cafe Beangoose.

St Mary's Church is a peaceful and quiet haven, and has a very beautiful wooden sculpture which depicts the monks of Lindisfarne carrying the body of St Cuthbert around Northumbria for over a hundred years - until Durham Cathedral was built, specifically to house his coffin. No really, it's true.

Lindisfarne Castle is National Trust, and worth exploring, as is Lindisfarne Priory, cared for by English Heritage.

The island can often be busy, but if you want solitude it can always be found - even on the busiest bank holiday weekend - by walking out beyond the castle, past the lime kilns, and turning left. You'll have the place almost to yourself.

The last building you pass as you leave the mainland on your way to Lindisfarne (or the first one on your way back) is The Barn at Beal and we always try to make it a tea-break stop. It's a lovely place, with a great panoramic view across the enormous vista.

In researching your trip , you might want to listen to a BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour feature - which is now very old but is still pertinent - about the Lindisfarne Gospels, which were created and illuminated in the island's monastery. The Gospels is something you should definitely explore, because it's an absolutely amazing and astoundingly beautiful document. The Heritage Centre has an interesting computer-based display about them. Here's a snapshot to whet your appetite, and here's the British Library's site about the Gospels. (The originals are displayed there, and it makes a great 10-minute stop-off when arriving into Kings Cross by train! The Gospels 'came home' to the north-east during the summer of 2013 for an extended stay in Durham.  There's a strong feeling locally that they belong up here really.

You may also be interested to know that Lindisfarne has its own species of orchid, which is genetically distinct from any other. So that's exciting, especially if - like one of our recent guests - your mission is to visit and photograph every single species of orchid native to the UK.  He was on a very long and interesting journey! Ours is called Lindisfarne helloborine. There's a picture of it in the gallery below. Information about the flora and fauna of Lindisfarne can be found here.

If you have any questions about a visit to Holy Island, then just ask!  Did I say that you need to heed the safe crossing times?

  • Thursday April 13 (Maundy Thursday, Easter Weekend) Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

    Thursday April 13 (Maundy Thursday, Easter Weekend) Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

    BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo – 2016 & 2013

    Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have established themselves, over a long period, as one of the UK folk scene’s most rewardingly enduring partnerships.

    Twice recent winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo – 2016 & 2013 – the couple’s intimacy and strength of passion on stage have won them many fans and an enviable reputation as ‘Songwriters par excellence’.

    We’re thrilled to be hosting them over the Easter weekend here at SCH, following on from their gig here in 2015 and two highly praised albums - ‘Hidden People’ & ‘Tomorrow Will Follow Today’. These two are fantastic musicians and wonderful live performers. This is going to be another special show. Get your name on the list quickly!  Tickets for this show are £12.50

    Here's their live performance at a packed Royal Albert Hall on the night of the 2016 'Best Duo' presentation:

  • Clare votes us her No 1!

    Clare votes us her No 1!

    We've been enjoying reading Clare Balding's new book recently. She stayed with us here at St Cuthbert's House a while ago, but we were really taken aback when folks began to call to tell us that she mentions her stay at St Cuthbert's House in the book! Here's what she says, on page 201:
    'St Cuthbert's House went instantly to the top of my 'best ever B&Bs' list. I would describe it as a luxury small hotel with a family feel, but that might not fit on the signs.' Aw, thanks Clare!

  • Want to see what's so special about Northumberland?

    Want to see what's so special about Northumberland?

    Some time ago, we began work with our local Tourism Association to produce a video showing some of the things which make this area so very special.  Now the video is complete, and we are deeply grateful to the remarkable young film-maker Cain Scrimgeour for working patiently with us across the seasons, to create something very, very beautiful. This is 7 minutes long, and we urge you to settle back and watch...

  • Visit England Awards 2016 - Guest Accommodation AND Sustainable Tourism!

    Visit England Awards 2016 - Guest Accommodation AND Sustainable Tourism!

    Visit England Awards 2016 - Guest Accommodation AND Sustainable Tourism!

    At the 2016 Visit England Awards - the 'Tourism Oscars' - we were honoured to be amongst the medals in TWO categories - both Guest Accommodation of the Year and also Sustainable Tourism Business of the Year.

    We want you to have a wonderful experience of this amazing area, but we also passionately believe that your visit should make our rural community a better place to live and work for local people, too.  We’re delighted that our determination to provide an unforgettable guest experience which also builds our local economy, has brought us these national Awards in two categories, and to be considered amongst the best in the whole country!

    Here's Jeff & Jill, together with daughters Hannah & Abi, pictured receiving their Awards at the glittering ceremony at the Winter gardens in Blackpool in March 2016.

  • Quite a haul in 2015!

    Quite a haul in 2015!

    2015 has been a very special year for us here at St Cuthbert's House. 

    We won a Silver Award at the National VisitEngland Awards ceremony, and TWO Gold Awards at the North-East Tourism Awards! 

    We were also honoured with a special 'RoSE' Award from VisitEngland in 'Recognition of Service Excellence', and the 'Editor's Choice' Award from the Good Hotel Guide.  Quite a haul!

    The main reason we put SCH forward for these VisitEngland Awards in particular, is to assure you that we are serious about striving for the very highest standards, to ensure you enoy your stay. 

  • Peter & Kathy recommend St Cuthbert's House

    Peter & Kathy recommend St Cuthbert's House

    Peter & Kathy told us that they'd really enjoyed their first stay at SCH, and so we asked them to tell you why...

    Reassure yourself - watch their one-minute video..

  • Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews

    Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews

    Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews, to find out what other guests have said about their stay.  But please - always book direct via our Book Online page to avoid fees.

    We're pleased to be included as founder members of the Tripadvisor 'Hall of Fame' - where entry is only available to businesses which have won Tripadvisor's coveted 'Certificate of Excellence' for five consecutive years.

  • Our Price Guarantee

    Our Price Guarantee

    You will ALWAYS receive the best possible price by booking direct with us - either by calling us on 01665 720456 or by following the Book Now menu item!  Beware that some large agencies charge you more - and they also take a large slice of commission from small independents like us.  Show your support for small businesses by booking DIRECT!

Sleep well...

Your BedWe think you won't ever have slept in a bigger or more comfortable bed, than the one that's waiting for you at St Cuthbert's House. See why here.

Watch & Listen

Watch & ListenWe have some interesting bits of video and audio to enjoy. Pull in your chair to Watch & Listen.


We can never guarantee the weather, but here's what is supposed to be happening.

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If you have any questions, please call us on 01665 720456 or send us an email or a booking enquiry.

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And if you'd like to keep in touch about upcoming house-concerts and be the first to know who's coming, then please tick that box too! We send a house-concerts newsletter most months to keep you up to date on the musical front.

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St Cuthbert's House, 192 Main St, Seahouses, Northumberland NE68 7UB (00 44) (0)1665 720456