Monday, 1 August 2016

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Northumberland.

My main reason for wanting to visit this magical place was to see first hand the location of Roman Polanski’s 1966 movie Cul-de-Sac. It was originally planned to make the film in Eastern Europe but because of contractual details the location was changed to Northumberland in the North East of England. Lindisfarne Castle was an ideal location for this story with its coastal road that gets flooded twice a day - despite warnings about one vehicle each month is stranded on the causeway and have to be rescued by either lifeboat or helicopter! The script was adjusted to fit the setting and not staged as originally intended in a standard domestic house; furniture used in film was actually part of the Castle and can still be seen in the Castle’s rooms.
The Lower Battery.

The view inland from The Upper Battery.
The Entrance Hall.

The Kitchen.

The Ships Room.

The Main Bedroom.

The Castle was originally an old fort built in 1550 but fell into disrepair until Edward Hudson (the founder of Country Life magazine in 1901) rediscovered the deserted building while on holiday in Northumberland and fell in love with it. Purchasing it from the Crown he hired Edwin Lutyens, a English country house designer best known for adapting traditional architectural styles and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to turn the castle into a private holiday home where Hudson could bring guests for summer breaks and house parties. Lutyens rose to the challenge creating some austere but beautifully designed interiors, linked by corridors, galleries and stairways. You can still see much of the decoration as it was in the early part of the twentieth century including much of contents that were originally the property of Hudson. The building is now part of the National Trust who, as you can witness from some of the rooms, are renovating parts of the building trying improve the buildings fabric and make it weather proof.  Also worth seeing in the grounds of the Castle is the tiny walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll between 1906 and 1912.

Summer Flowers.

Although it’s the Castle that mainly draws the visitors the Islands Christian heritage is also worth a look. This includes the old Priory and The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin that offers not only the community but also visitors and pilgrims three acts of worship each day of the year.  This present building is built over and around an earlier Saxon church that is likely to be the site of the first wooden church built by St. Aidan.
Part of the old Priory. 

St Mary the Virgin.

Inside St Mary's. 
St Aidan of Lindisfarne.

Holy Island is a very popular and busy tourist destination and has a thriving but small population with some great coffee shops and restaurants along side a new looking visitors centre and a Post Office. A special Perrymans bus, Route 477, runs at low tide to take visitors from the surrounding areas onto the Island via the causeway. The bus allows an approximate four-hour visit.  
A busy tourist destination.

A thriving but small village.

Waiting for the return bus.

Views of the causeway as you depart the Island.

The bus back. 

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