Lindisfarne Castle was built around 1570 on the site of an old Tudor fort. The location of the Castle is quite dramatic, perched high on top of an outcrop of rock known as Beblowe Crag which juts out into the North Sea. The Tudor fort was needed to offer protection to the harbour where English ships sheltered during the many conflicts with Scotland. When James VI of Scotland acceded to the English throne in 1603 the need for this military presence at Lindisfarne diminished and the castle lost its importance as a border fort. There was still a military garrison at the castle, however, until the late 19th century.
In 1901, Edward Hudson, the founder of Country Life magazine, commissioned the architect, Edward Lutyens, to convert the fort into a private dwelling. Lindisfarne Castle is now owned by the National Trust, and its furnished interiors are maintained as they were when the castle was occupied by Edward Hudson.
The small rooms bear little resemblance to those of a working castle; they are much more intimate and contain many personal items left over from the days when it was privately owned. The windows look down upon a walled garden planned by Gertrude Jekyll and also offer views out over the North Sea. From the battlements it is possible to see Bamburgh Castle, Dunstanburgh Castle and the Farne Islands. In the grounds there are also several extremely well-preserved 19th-century lime kilns.
The entrance to the castle is reached via a 500 yard steep cobbled path. The ground floor has steps, uneven floors, low doorways, and limited turning space. There are also many stairs with handrails which give access to the other floors. Throughout the building the passageways and staircases are narrow and can be congested when there are lots of visitors.
The castle is situated on Holy Island, also known as Lindisfarne. The island is reached by a three mile long causeway. Twice each day the tide sweeps in from the North Sea and covers the causeway so that visits have to be timed to coincide with the safe crossing times. Information regarding crossing times is available from the castle.
The village on the island has a post office, pubs and cafes, and car parking. It is famed for its association with St Aidan and St Cuthbert. The latter rebuilt the Priory, the remains of which can still be visited.