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Lindisfarne Castle

Pgds 20080618 165609 Lindisfarne Castle Ntpl 12156


Lindisfarne Castle is perched on a rocky island crag which is accessible only by causeway. It has an associated walled garden by Edwin Lutyens. Gertrude Jekyll carried out the planting plan which has been restored by the National Trust.


Lindisfarne Castle sits on a rocky crag, on the easternmost tip of the flat tidal island.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Walled garden designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, in partnership with the plantswoman, garden designer, and artist Gertrude Jekyll.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Holy Island, 9.6km east of the A1 and 30 km due east of Coldstream, is a flat tidal island. It is linked to the mainland by a causeway, passable only at low tide. Lindisfarne Castle sits on a rocky crag, on the island's easternmost tip. It is visible from the opposite Northumberland shore.

Entrances and Approaches

Lindisfarne Castle is approached from the west, the road leading eastwards from Holy Island around The Ouse. The walled garden lies across lawns, further east from the Castle.

Principal Building

The C16 castle ruin (listed grade I) was converted and restored by Lutyens to form a 'vision of passages hewn into the rock, of large vaulted chambers' and of beamed ceilings - nothing vast like Castledrogo in Devon, but something equally romantic' (Pevsner and Richmond 1957). The Castle is now (2000) in the care of the National Trust.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The 0.5 ha walled garden (listed grade II), roughly quadrilateral in plan, lies 450 m east of the Castle. Its curved, random rubble wall rises 3.6 m high on three sides, the fourth is ramped down to the south to meet a lower wall 1.5 m high. A central entrance of this south wall leads through a wooden gate set over decorative cobblestone paving.

The garden has a geometric layout, which Lutyens laid out using false perspective, so as to give it a larger size in appearance when viewed from the Castle ramparts above. Jekyll's planting design aimed to reinforce this perspective illusion. The National Trust reinstated the scheme in the 1970s.

The garden is laid out with random flagstone paving and formal beds. The central bed is surrounded by rectangular and L-shaped beds, the latter edged with stachys along the major north/south axis. Clumps of Clematis flammula are combined with groups of delphiniums, planned so as to allow for successive colour schemes. Some plants from the original planting scheme had survived, notably rose 'Zepherine Drouhin', Shasta daisies, Fuschia magellanica, and kniphofias.


  • OS 6" to 1 mile:
  • 1st edition surveyed c 1860, published 1865
  • 3rd edition surveyed 1922, published 1926

Archival items

  • Copies of the Jekyll planting plans are held on microfilm (folder 91) at the NMR, Swindon.

Description written: April 2002

Register Inspector: KC

Edited: July 2003

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


01289 389244

Access contact details



The National Trust

Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2NA

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


In 1902, Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life, bought the 16th-century ruined castle on Holy Island and commissioned the young Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) to convert it into a residence. Involved at Lindisfarne until 1912, Lutyens evolved and executed a garden design in partnership with Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). Initially, Hudson's vision included a water garden, tennis court, and croquet lawn but the increasing cost of Lutyens' architectural scheme resulted in the existing walled garden being the focus of gardening activity.

Following research and archaeological excavation led by Michael Tooley in the 1970s, the garden layout, including paths, has been restored. The planting scheme has been reinstated according to Jekyll's plans, as far as practicable allowing for some plant varieties being no longer in cultivation. Jekyll's scheme is a microcosm of the typical techniques that she developed elsewhere for larger, grander gardens, using large drifts of plants set in irregular swathes and emphasising colour harmony.


Early 20th Century (1901-1932)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD2052
  • Grade: II


  • Castle (featured building)
  • Description: The castle was originally created during the Tudor period. Edwin Lutyens converted it into an Edwardian home in 1903.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Garden Wall
  • Description: Walled garden.
  • Island
  • Description: Holy Island is a flat tidal island linked to the mainland by a causeway, passable only at low tide.
  • Gardens
  • Description: Garden is laid out with random flagstone paving and formal beds.
Key Information


Walled Garden


Ornamental Garden

Principal Building



Early 20th Century (1901-1932)


Part: standing remains



Open to the public


Civil Parish

Holy Island



  • White, S., {Gardens of Northumberland and the Borders} (Cramlington: Sanderson Books Limited, 2006), pp. 110-5
  • {English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest}, (Swindon: English Heritage, 2008) [on CD-ROM]
  • Pevsner, N., J. Grundy and I. Richmond, {The Buildings of England: Northumberland} (London: Penguin, 1992)
  • M and R Tooley 1982