The location of Lindisfarne, on the border of Scotland and England, on the North Sea coast, means that it has had a very volatile history. As well as being embroiled in fights between the Scots and English, it has frequently been attacked by Vikings.
Lindisfarne Priory pre-dates the castle and some of the stones from the priory were used to build the castle. The castle, which is small and could actually be classed as a fort, sits on the highest point of the island, a whinstone hill called Beblowe.
Work on the castle was begun by Henry VIII in 1542 and Elizabeth I went on to strengthen the fort, adding gun platforms. When James I came to power, he combined the English and Scottish thrones so the military requirement for the castle declined.
In the 18th century the castle was taken briefly by Jacobite rebels, but it was quickly recaptured by soldiers from Berwick who imprisoned the rebels. They dug a tunnel and hid for nine days close to nearby Bamburgh Castle before making good their escape.
In later years the castle was used as a base for the coastguard and started to become a tourist attraction. Charles Rennie Mackintosh drew the old fort in 1901.
The castle, garden and nearby lime kilns have been in the care of the National Trust since 1944 and are open to visitors.
Lindisfarne Castle on Film
Lindisfarne Castle has been used as a shooting location for a number of films. Roman Polanski's 1966 classic Cul-de-sac, a psychological comedy-drama starring Donald Pleasence, Lionel Stander and Françoise Dorléac, was shot in and around the castle.
Polanski later returned to the castle to shoot a few scenes for The Tragedy of Macbeth (1971), in which it is used to stand in for Glamis Castle. The castle's use in Macbeth inspired the producers of the TV series Cold Feet (1998–2003) to use it as an exterior filming location in one episode, though interior scenes were shot elsewhere.
Getting Married at Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle is licensed to hold weddings, and every year dozens of couples take their vows one of its intimate, romantic rooms over looking Holy Island and the Northumberland Coast.
The castle is very small, so can only accommodate up to 30 guests. There is no accommodation or reception facilities, so you would need to find these things elsewhere on the island, or be willing to travel back to the mainland (tides permitting of course!).
The castle can therefore only be used for your wedding ceremony and your wedding photographs. You have private use of the castle for two hours and with the ceremony usually lasting around 30 minutes, that leaves you with up to 90 minutes for photographs.
Holy Island, and more specifically Lindisfarne Castle, are a photographer's dream venue. The castle in on the highest part of the island and would not look out of place in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. The Northumberland North Sea coastline is stunning as well so you can come down to the beach to have further photographs taken amongst the fishing boats and lobster pots. I would love to photograph this venue one day and it is on my 'portfolio' discount list, meaning that I will heavily discount the price of my wedding photography for the first couple who book a wedding here with me.
- Romantic, historic and unique wedding venue
- Stunning backdrop for photographs
- No accommodation or reception facilities at the castle
- Limited availability because of the tides and because it is a tourist attraction
Availability of weddings at Lindisfarne Castle is limited due to public opening for tourists and the tides, so if you are thinking about this as a wedding venue I recommend you start your planning early.
Telephone: 01289 389902