Farne Islands set to reopen to limited numbers of visitors for first time since 2019

The Farne Islands are set to reopen to visitors for the first time in 18 months.

By Ian Smith
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:03 pm

Boat trips from Seahouses harbour to Inner Farne to see thousands of seabirds, including the iconic puffin, will resume on Monday, June 21.

The Farne Islands, which are managed by The National Trust, closed at the end of the 2019 visitor season and due to the pandemic, no visits were possible throughout 2020.

Visitor numbers will be limited initially to ensure safe social distancing and monitor the impact on wildlife.

A puffin on the Farne Islands with its beak full of sand eels. Picture by Jane Coltman

Simon Lee, general manager for the National Trust on the Northumberland Coast said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming people back to the Farne Islands this year and have been working hard to find a way of reopening whilst keeping everyone safe which is our top priority.

"Opportunities to land on the Islands will be limited in the first instance to allow the wildlife on the Farnes time to adjust to having visitors again. However, there are many great ways to see the Islands including sail around and sunset tours offered by the boat companies we work with.”

Four of the boats that offer tours from Seahouses harbour will land on Inner Farne each afternoon and are bookable direct with the boat companies.

National Trust rangers will give an insight into the wildlife that lives there including grey seals and endangered seabirds.

Trips to Inner Farne are resuming.

Simon continued: “It’s easy to see why a trip to the Farne Islands is so popular for tourists in Northumberland. And we know the role attractions like this play in contributing to the tourist economy. We’re pleased to be playing our part in the sector’s recovery, working with our partners to re-open this popular destination.”

Gwen Potter, countryside manager for the Farne Islands said: “Until August our top priority in the mornings will be to count nests and observe the wildlife. We’re looking to see how many birds have returned to breed and the results of that breeding.

"We already know there’s been a displacement of Arctic Terns from Inner Farne and are keen to fully monitor nesting sites at other locations. We have already seen a far greater number of tern nests on Staple Island than in previous years and more nesting at the Long Nanny site near Beadnell.”

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A grey seal pup on the Farne Islands in Northumberland.

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