How to See Puffins on the Farne Islands

How to See Puffins on the Farne Islands


Posted 2021-06-01 by Alan Garnsworthyfollow
If you want to see puffins in Britain, the Farne Islands must be one of your best choices.

You can see puffins nesting here between April and July, with May and June being the peak season. You don't need to go searching for them, as the islands will be filled with thousands of these cute and colourful seabirds.

A trip to the Farne Islands begins at the little fishing village of Seahouses. We stayed a few miles away in Bamburgh, although you could easily do this as a day trip from Newcastle.

There are several different boat operators offering to take you out to the islands. Your choices include Billy Shiel and Serenity , who both offer a range of different tours. You can choose to visit Inner Farne or Staple Island, or just take a boat trip without landing on either.

Unless you're a National Trust member, you'll also need to buy a landing pass . This can be done when you arrive in Seahouses, but allow some time for queuing. Check the website for the current fees.

So, which island should you visit? Here's more information on each:

Inner Farne

This is the island we visited. It's the largest island and has toilets and a little shop.

When you set foot on Inner Farne, you'll probably be welcomed by arctic terns, which are notorious for dive-bombing tourists. Visitors are advised to wear a hat, as the terns will try to peck the top of your head. Your best bet is just to walk past them as quickly as possible, as they leave you alone once you get beyond their nesting area.

The island is crisscrossed by wooden walkways, taking you right through the puffin colony.

Everywhere you look, there are puffins popping in and out of their underground nests, or coming back from fishing with a beak full of eels.

There's more to the island than just puffins. From the top of the cliffs, you can look down on some of the many other birds that live here.

Staple Island

Unfortunately, we weren't able to visit this one, as the sea was too rough. Apparently it's a rockier island and harder for boats to land on.

Our guide told us that we'd see all the same birds on Inner Farne, so we didn't feel too disappointed.

I did manage to learn a few useful things about Staple Island. It's quieter than Inner Farne, so you'll have a better chance of avoiding crowds. Whilst I didn't feel especially crowded on Inner Farne, there were certainly a lot of other tourists around.

According to the National Trust, on Staple Island you're also much less likely to be attacked by terns, which would be nice.

Be aware, there are no toilets or any other buildings on Staple Island.

72948 - 2023-01-26 02:06:23


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