Luxury camping in Farne Islands National Nature Reserve

Seals and seabirds are the sole residents on these islands—part of the Northumberland Coast AONB.

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Luxury camping in Farne Islands National Nature Reserve guide

Overview

A cluster of rocky isles marooned off the coast of Northumberland; the Farne Islands National Nature Reserve is one of the UK’s most important seabird sanctuaries. Cruise out to the islands, head ashore to admire the views around Staple Island, or visit the medieval chapel and Victorian lighthouse on Inner Farne Island. Wildlife-watching opportunities are spectacular on the islands—there are more than 100,000 seabirds, including puffins, arctic terns, guillemots, and razorbills, as well as grey seals and Eider ducks. Campers will have to stay on the mainland, but there’s plenty of choice in the coastal AONB.

When to go

Boat tours run year-round, but it is only possible to land on the islands from March to September, May through July is the breeding season and the best time for bird-watching—ticket prices are higher during this period. By autumn, many of the birds have started their winter migration, but this is seal pupping season, with hundreds of pups born across the islands.

Know before you go

  • Boat tours sail to the Farne Islands from Seahouses along the Northumberland coast. There is parking in Seahouses, or else buses run from nearby Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnwick.
  • There is an admission charge to land on the islands, as well as a fee for boat tours. Tickets can be bought at Seahouses Harbour, and advance booking is recommended in peak season (May through August). Boat tours are occasionally cancelled if the weather is too rough.
  • The island’s Arctic Terns are notoriously defensive of their nests and have been known to dive-bomb the heads of passing walkers. Wear a hat if visiting during the breeding season!
  • There are restrooms and a gift shop on Inner Farne, but there are no other facilities on the islands, so bring everything you need with you. 
  • There is a boardwalk around Inner Farne Island that is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

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