After spending a couple of days exploring the bright lights of Newcastle, we drove onto somewhere completely different – the Holy Island, Lindisfarne.
I’d wanted to visit to see the historic sites so beer wasn’t my highest priority on this leg of our trip, but Lindisfarne does have a couple of pubs – and even a brewery! Here’s a little guide.
St Aidan’s Winery (home of Lindisfarne Mead)
One thing Lindisfarne is known for is its mead, which is made at St Aidan’s Winery on the island. Although it was historically made by the monks who lived on the island, the current meadery/winery dates back to the 1960s.
There’s nowhere to actually drink on site, but there is a large shop which has free samples so you can try all of the flavours of mead on offer.
A few bottles of beer are also available for sale but the Lindisfarne branded ones are actually brewed over on the mainland so we didn’t buy any. Quite a touristy spot but I’m pretty sure it’s the only place on the island you can actually drink the mead, so worth popping in for a free sample (even if it’s not the best mead I’ve ever tasted).
Prior Lane – lindisfarne-mead.co.uk
Crown and Anchor Inn
Lindisfarne has two pubs and both of them offer accommodation, but it was the view that led me to choosing the Crown and Anchor for our night’s stay – it backs right onto the remains of Lindisfarne Priory.
The pub isn’t huge – there’s one room with the main bar and second slightly larger one which is used as a dining room as well as a small beer garden – and it feels very cosy and comfortable.
Two cask ales are available and they’re generally from Hadrian’s Border Brewery. During our visit, it was Secret Kingdom, a 4.3% mild, and Tyneside Blonde a 3.9% golden ale. The beer was kept well – and even though I’m generally not a cask fan, I enjoyed the Tyneside Blonde although the Secret Kingdom wasn’t really my thing.
It was a Sunday evening and fairly quiet so we got chatting to the barman, a chap named named Marcus, and we found it that he also owned his own microbrewery making beer on the island – Beacon Brauhaus (Marcus is originally from Germany).
The accommodation was also very comfortable – we had a great view of the Priory from our window – and the food was hearty, and the staff friendly: exactly what you want from a rural pub.
The Market Place – holyislandcrown.co.uk
The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn is Lindisfarne’s other pub and it’s located on one of the island’s main roads (if such a small place can have a main road). It’s got a traditional inn look complete with exposed beams and a cosy open fire and a separate dining room (I think there’s also a beer garden out the back).
We visited mid-afternoon so it was fairly quiet but there were a couple of other punters in there and a couple of staff working. They had two cask ales on by Hadrian Border Brewery – The American , a 4.2% pale ale, and Holy Island Blessed Bitter, a 4% bitter. Nice enough little place for a drink, I can imagine it gets fairly busy of an evening.
Marygate – theshipinn-holyisland.co.uk
Manor House Hotel
Located next to the Crown and Anchor Inn, the Manor House Hotel is set within a building that was the former summer home of a 19th century bigwig. Hotel rooms, a restaurant/bar area and a beer garden make up the venue – and it’s definitely the beer garden that’s its real USP.
The beer isn’t great – the only had Doom Bar and John Smith’s on draught – but the beer garden was lovely and worth making time to visit for the views of the ruins of the Priory and beyond. It was probably the busiest place we visited that evening, but it was also the largest. They also had the Lindisfarne version of Bailey’s available (didn’t spot the mead), if you want to try a local tipple.
Church Lane – manorhouseholyisland.com
Pilgrims Coffee House and Roastery
Pilgrims is a great little cafe on the island serving excellent coffee and a range of cakes (including a vegan option). However, our main reason for visiting was to pick up some beer from Lindisfarne’s only (as far as I’m aware!) brewery Beacon Brauhaus which are available to drink in or take away.
The cafe is very cosy with comfortable couches and extra seating upstairs, and also has a nice little outdoor space if you’ve got some decent weather.
Marygate – pilgrimscoffee.com
Lindisfarne might not be the most obvious location for a beer-filled break in the UK, but the island is truly beautiful and if you are planning a trip, there are at least a few places for a decent pint.