Seahouses and Sea birds – Farne Islands, Northumberland UK

If you hadn’t noticed by now, I am easily seduced by the scent of the sea. I truly adore a bitty seaside village that sits beside the shore. Salt air. Sand. Waves lapping. Salves for my soul. Come with me to Seahouses. This is different from a sommerhus, this is the quirky little town called Seahouses on the Northumberland Coast in Great Britain. Specifically northeastern England. It’s late spring, early summer. We recently visited at beginning of May. And with us were seabirds and seals and other sea creatures.

Seahouses serves as the launch port for several operations offering day cruises to the Farne Islands – a nearby cluster of 15-20 little plops of land depending on where the tide stands. Mostly uninhabited by humans, the Farne Islands play host to seabirds who mate and court and nest here every year in the protected sites upon their shores. Hundreds of thousands of birds. The skies full of them. Guillemots and Terns. Kittiwakes and Puffins. Eider Ducks and Shags. Cormorants and Razor Bill. The cacophony. The display. The poop. Wear a hat. It is absolutely worth a visit. Amazing to see.

We chose a 2.5 hour round trip from Seahouses aboard the Serenity 2. From port, on their stable catamaran, we cruised around the islands to end at Inner Farne, where we had an hour to explore and witness the nesting sites up close. There is a ranger station and visitor center where you can watch the puffin den cameras. You can see bird skulls and feel feathers and artifacts up close. Start here before setting out on the boardwalk to the cliffs.

If you are not a member of the U.K. National Trust – you will need to purchase a day pass to land at Inner Farne or Staple Island. This can be done easily at port from the National Trust information booth. Keep your receipt as you will be required to show a ranger upon landing.

Day price during peak months of May, June & July – Adult: £7.40, Child £3.80, Family: £19.00

Boat tour prices vary between companies and offerings.

In early May, the Guillemots (pronounced “Gilly-mot” in these parts) are nesting along the rocks. And while they might not be the most spectacularly feathered species among the birds common here, they are graphic in their black and white and lay the most beautiful speckled blue greenish eggs right on the rock face. We spotted a few admidst the chaos and were assured not to worry, that they won’t roll off their precarious perch due to a special shape. They wobble like a Weeble and don’t fall down.*

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Guillemots and Kittiwakes nesting in the Farne Islands, Northumberland UK

Overhead, terns were swooping and screeching and not quite yet nesting, beautiful and balletic. Our captain explained, in the thickest of accents, that the puffins were just starting to settle down in their burrows, having muscled out a resident rabbit who might have shared their den. On Inner Farne, around the boardwalk along the cliffs, rangers help identify birds and spot the first chicks of the season. The littlest Shags, only two days old, dared to peek from underneath mama’s warm belly. She, black and fancy, is easy to spot with her tufted feather pompidour, clinging to the cliffs, quite close the walk.

Eider duck mothers, the fastest of their kind, now calm and stoic rest upon flat nests on the ground. Puffins so busy – in and out, in and out of the sea or a new burrow. Not as many now as there will be, as it’s early in their season at the beginning of May. But by peak, nearly 90,000 available puffin burrows will fill around the islands. Their clowny yellow beaks and ungraceful flight make them a fowl favorite for sure.

Nearly 6,000 seals also make their homes on these rocks and they were plentiful playing in the shores of the outer islands. Porpoises are often seen following the boats, but did not join us on our visit.

Back on shore, don’t miss the Royal National Lifeboat station nearby. The RNLI is a volunteer run rescue operation with outposts around the UK. Here in Seahouses (and in Whitby), visitors get a chance to see the boat up close and learn of its history all for free. Need to get your land legs back? Head down the way to Bamburgh Castle. We missed the well preserved museum, but enjoyed the view from the adjacent dunes and the huge swath of beach out front. Perfect for jumping and ball playing and digging.

Want to stay in Seahouses ? We can recommend the Bamburgh Castle Inn and Pub right on the harbor. Walk-in space for our family of five all together in a wonderful room with a seaview. Full English breakfast included. For refreshments, try the kitschy but fun Olde Ship Inn across the street for a pint. The people here are friendly and welcoming and accommodating.

Where are you reading from? Please say hej or ciao or hello or however you do wherever you are in the comments below – I would love to know! Cheers from Copenhagen! – Erin

*If you know what a Weeble is – raise your hand!

Travel Monkey

Linking up this Monday from Copenhagen with Ting at My Travel Monkey and Allane at Packing my Suitcase for #MondayEscapes – always fabulous travel inspiration and imagery from every corner of the globe. Check them out with link above or on Pinterest as well. I’m pinning here.

When it is wednesday – and you still wish to wander – join Lauren of Lauren on Location, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This, Marcella of What a Wonderful World and Van of Snow in Tromso, who was so nice to feature my Danish Sommerhus Hygge post this week for the #WanderfulWednesday blog link up.




22 thoughts on “Seahouses and Sea birds – Farne Islands, Northumberland UK

  1. I loved the photo of the nesting guillemots and kittiwakes (this is the first time I have heard both names). Enjoyed reading your post about the different sea birds around Farne islands.

  2. Martha

    You know I love all the seabirds too. This reminds me of our side trip in Scotland to a bird island near Edinburgh.

  3. Hand raised for Weeble familiarity! Liked the birds, too, especially the leaper. Reminded me of teenage swan dives at the local pool (in the days of Weebles).

  4. Živjo from Slovenia, Hola from Mexico!! Thanks for showing us another unique experience this week. I truly felt like I was transported there 🙂 #wanderfulwednesday

  5. Hola from Chile!! Your pictures seriously leave me speechless! Yet another drool worthy destination! It looks so calm, relaxing and peaceful! I don’t even mind having to wear a hat if I could get that close to so many awesome birds! Thanks for linking up for #WanderfulWednesday today! 😀

  6. That really looks fabulous – and somewhere I’d love to visit. There’s something very special about the coast, even more so when it’s as well populated with wildlife as it is here. #WanderfulWednesday

  7. What a stunning island, and I never heard of it before, thank you for that!
    Amazing pictures as always 🙂
    Funny that you mention about wearing a heat because of the birds, in Greece pigeons pooped on my husband twice, one day after the other. I really had to laugh at him when the second time happened… :’D

    Happy to have you on #MondayEscapes once again.

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