Boat trips to the Farne Islands
The Farne Islands are a group of 28 rocky islands off the coast of Northumberland. It’s no wonder Sir David Attenborough says they’re his favourite place to spot nature in the UK. As a national nature reserve, they’re home to some of our most important colonies of seals and seabirds, including puffins.
A boat trip unlocks the islands in all their glory. As it’s only a short drive to Seahouses Harbour from our Berwick and Haggerston Castle holiday parks (around 25 and 35 minutes along the A1) they're well worth a visit on a boat trip from here.
How to get to the Farne Islands
The local town of Seahouses on the mainland offers Farne Islands boat trips. Before you head down to the harbour, there are a couple of tips to mention first.
Before you visit Farne Islands
As the islands are owned by the National Trust, you’ll need an admission ticket if you want to set foot on the islands themselves. If you’re already a member, you can grab a free ticket! If you're not a member, you can gain entry by buying admission.
If you’re driving down from one of our parks, there’s a pay-and-display car park not too far from Seahouses Harbour, so it’s just a short walk to catch a boat ride.
If you’re ready for a day of wildlife spotting, you can purchase a guide from the National Trust Farne Islands shop in Seahouses to use on your journey.
Now you’re ready to set sail! Here are some great options that'll get you to the Farne Islands.
Golden Gate Farne Island Boat Trips
Boat trips run between April and October, weather permitting. If you want to land on an island or sail around them and enjoy the salty sea air, there are boat trips available daily, when in season. Just head to the kiosk on the harbour around 15 minutes before your boat is due to embark.
Longstone Island boat trip
Golden Gate is the only company with permission to land on Longstone Island and have access to the Longstone Lighthouse (with a small fee payable to the lighthouse owners if you want to go inside).
If you’re worried that your four-legged friend isn't allowed to come too, then fear not! Golden Gate allows well-behaved dogs on leads to come aboard the boat and venture onto Longstone Island (although they’re not allowed in the lighthouse or the other islands). The trip takes around two hours.
Inner Farne boat trip
Inner Farne island is the largest of the Farne Islands and features the tiny medieval chapel of St Cuthbert. For this trip, you’ll disembark on the island with a visit to the chapel and look for the grey seal colonies and nesting seabirds. The trip takes around three hours.
Sail-around boat trip
If you fancy a pleasant sail around the islands, you can choose a Farne Islands boat trip that takes you on a tour around Staple Island, Inner Farne and Longstone Island. This is the shortest trip at around 1.5 hours.
What wildlife will you spot?
The Farne Island seals are one of the largest colonies in the UK! You might spot a harbour seal too, but these are a rare sight here. Sailing past the islands is a wonderful way to spot seals relaxing on the beach in the summer as well as seal pups during the winter.
These comical little birds are plentiful on the Farne Islands with up to 30,000 pairs in the warmer months! Known for their bright beaks and funny walk, you’ll easily spot them nesting on the islands. Their nests look like little burrows in the earth. If you visit in the winter, they might look slightly different – their beaks are greyer in the cold months and vibrant again once it warms up.
These birds can be quite feisty at times! They’re known to fly close to visitors to protect their young. Make sure you wear a hat when visiting. They often use the same nests year after year, though they’re been known more recently to move between islands.
As the sea and island area here is such an important part of marine life, it’s home to dozens of species of birds including:
If you are a passionate birdwatcher, make sure you take plenty of photos. What better way to spot wildlife than from a boat? Recently there have been more sightings of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, and even minke whales. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them cresting the waves as you sail past the islands.
What to bring on your Farne Islands boat trip
To stay comfy and safe during your trips, make sure you bring:
Comfy shoes for walking about and for staying steady on the boat
Hat to protect against the sun (and arctic terns!)
Warm clothing and waterproof as it can get very wet, even on a dry day
Binoculars to spot wildlife out at sea
A camera to capture memories that last a lifetime!