Exploring Lindisfarne Castle


Dear Cath,

Are you ready? This is gonna be a long ‘ne — lots of piccies. Get your scrolly finger limber and settle in with a cuppa. Oh wait, you probably don’t want hot steamy tea in Atlanta at this point, do you? Iced soy latte then?

We are house museum people through and through, aren’t we? Remember one of our very first AsianCajun posts? House museums make me giddy. I think it’s all the historical voyeurism. What did they eat, draw, listen to, see? Lindisfarne Castle, run by the National Trust, totally scratched all the nosy itches. You would love it! But since you weren’t there, I’ll take you! Step-by-step through this post:


Firstly, it’s located on Lindisfarne (aka Holy Island) just off the north eastern coast of England — spitting distance to Scotland. It’s a lovely walk from the village of Lindisfarne to the castle rock (see below). It sits in the midst of a green, sheep-dotted field on the shore:


The castle was originally built by Henry VIII to keep out invading Scots (maybe to be used again come September?) but was never used for more than housing bored military men.


Skip ahead a few centuries and Edward Hudson, editor of Country Life magazine, decides he wants to make the castle his summer home. Who doesn’t love a bit of cold stone and rain for a summer holiday? Regardless of his questionable climatic tastes, he was by all accounts a lovely, shy man who would entertain the likes of J.M. Barrie, Lytton Strachey, Anna Markova and cellist Madame Suggia here.


To make his castle more hospitable, Hudson hired famed English architect Edwin Lutyens (pronounced “loo-chins”): an arts and crafts man through and through. So this castle is arts and crafts coziness meets Elizabethan stone. A good combo if you’re into dark rooms, roaring fires and comfy sofas.

Lutyens’ signature is his herringbone brick, which you see a lot about the castle passageways:


Want to see the kitchen? Here’s Matt inspecting some veg:



I love when house museums are set up to look like their owners just left. In this case, they made a mad dash for the sun as they were having their tea and reading the newspaper:


And someone was just about to give the dishes a good scrub-a-dub:


They were expecting guests for dinner too:


I love this Yves Klein blue in the dining room:


Someone spent their morning sketching:


Writing letters:


Powdering their collars (?):


This is known as the ship room because of the wooden ship suspended from the ceiling. A good place to kick your feet up and read Country Life magazine:


Another good reading spot: the windowseats looking out toward the ocean (don’t they look like the Mary’s windows at Applecross in Persuasion?):


You could also go upstairs to the music room and listen to Madame Suggia play her cello or at least have nose around her sheet music:


Or maybe a room tidy? Seems you’ve left your Edwardian chemises hanging all over your Renaissance canopy, tsk, tsk:


A few things didn’t exist when Mr. Hudson was around, like this anthropomorphized tapestry chair:


Another delight? Famed gardener Gertrude Jekyll planted a small garden where the garrison used to keep their veg patch:



She also landscaped the harder-to-reach bits around the castle mound by shooting pellets of seeds into the cliff-side: gives Garden and Gun magazine a whole new point of inspiration. Nicely done, Gertie:


Here’s one last look of the castle (and the sheepies!) from Gertrude’s garden:


And one last view to the sea from the castle:


How’d you like the tour? Could you smell the salty air and the rain moving in across the grass?

I hope you are having a wonderful time in Detroit, Cath! I know that you are probably not going to house museums (Detroit must have some beautiful, crumbly old places) while you’re conferencing, but I do hope you are having some fun.

Love you like Lutyens loved brick!



11 thoughts on “Exploring Lindisfarne Castle”

  1. What a lovely, wonderful tour! I feel like I was right by you exploring it all. Also, your photos are magnificent! I feel like the Brits really know how to do house museums. I love how the castle was styled. I still can’t imagine someone wanting to live in a cold castle – because it was definitely cold no matter how many fires, cuppas, rugs are around – but I find that Brits don’t seem to mind the cold.

    I definitely haven’t been to any house museusm in Detroit, but I did tour an old movie theater and inner city housing that was designed by Mies van der Rohe. I can’t wait to share my photos with you – although they’re not as beautiful as yours!

    The wifi isn’t great at the hotel i’m staying in so let’s skype when I get home on Wednesday. I miss you!!!

    1. Hi Kitcath!

      Good ole Mies! I didn’t know he did inner city housing! Can’t wait to see pics of that and the Fox! Both sound amazing.

      And you speak like someone who has lived in a manorhouse at least temporarily ;D — yes, that castle would be coooold even in the summer. They did have a boiler but apparently rarely used it. The day we went was warm outside and sitting in the castle you would need a couple of layers blankets and constant scalding cups of tea to stay cozy. Even after 2.5 years I haven’t earned my upper lip — it’s always deceptive, chattering away.

      I can’t wait to catch up Wednesday!!!!

      LOVE YOU!

  2. I thought a lot about the best way to phrase this, because I wanted to make sure I captured the exact sentiment I felt while reading this and taking in the exquisite photography, while remaining non-offensive and appropriate for all people of the intarwebz. That being said, “HOLY F***! What an amazing post!” is my official comment.

    1. Thanks so very much, BFOC! I so appreciate it coming from a talented photog like yourself! So glad you enjoyed the post. Wish you and Cath could have been there with us!

  3. So stunningly beautiful!!!! Gorgeous pics of a gorgeous place 🙂 I’m going to the GA Renaissance Fair this weekend, and I expect it will generate exactly the same feelings as this. 😉

  4. ZOMG– are we talking Lindisfarne as in the Vikings went a raiding Lindisfarne? I am jelly to my socks, Lar! Thanks for taking us along so we can ogle at the beautiful decor (swooning over the herringbone bricks!) and absolutely breathtaking view!

    1. Laura, you are a smarty pants! Yes, that is where the Vikings first (ish) invaded the UK! I need to brush up on my viking history — it’s woeful especially considering so much of it happened right here. So glad you enjoyed the post!

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