Billy Shiels Farne Island Boat Trips

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Seahouses, England
Billy Shiels Farne Island Boat Trips - Ticket offices by the harbour, Seahouses
Billy Shiels Farne Island Boat Trips - Boats in Seahouses Harbour
Billy Shiels Farne Island Boat Trips - Our boat moored off Inner Farne
Billy Shiels Farne Island Boat Trips - Approaching Inner Farne

Billy Shiels Farne Island Boat Trips Seahouses Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
393 reviews
By boat to the Farnes Aug 12, 2016
The Farne Islands lie several miles off the Northumberland coast and are therefore accessible only by boat. Three companies (as of 2016) run a variety of trips, all from Seahouses and differing only a little in terms of what is on offer and price: Billy Shiel’s, Serenity and Golden Gate. Of these, the first is by far the best known, having been in operation since 1918 and featured on several UK TV programmes. It is a family business currently run by the third generation Billy Shiel, and famously once carried the Queen on a Farne Island trip.

Whichever company you choose (and we went with Billy Shiel’s), you will then also need to decide on the particular trip you want to take. One factor in your choice will be the time of year – for instance, landing on Staple Island is possible only in the breeding season (May 1st through to July 31st), presumably because there is nothing to see on these rocky crags the rest of the year. On the other hand, it is possible to land on Inner Farne throughout the season, April to October, but on afternoons only during the breeding season. If you aren’t especially interested in landing, or want a shorter tour, you could opt for the 90 minute Grey Seal cruise which sails round the islands to view these fascinating animals. Or between April and July keen bird-watchers can do a full day (6 hour) trip which includes landings of two hours on Staple Island in the morning and two hours on Inner Farne in the afternoon.

Prices obviously depend on the tour you choose – for example, the Inner Farne landing trip costs £15.00 (adult fare, August 2016 price). But note that if you’re not a member of the National Trust you will also have to pay a landing fee of £8.00 for adults in breeding season and £6.50 at other times. Non-landing trips work out cheaper because there’s no National Trust fee to pay.

The boat tours are suitable for anyone but note that the walking route round Inner Farne is a little bumpy and hilly in places – I watched one family really struggle to wheel their child’s buggy around and give up! Also note that the tours don’t go out if the weather is bad or the seas too rough. We went on quite a windy day and some locals were unsure whether we would have been able to go, although apart from some slightly choppy waters and a lot of spray, it was not a problem.
Approaching Inner Farne
Our boat moored off Inner Farne
Boats in Seahouses Harbour
Ticket offices by the harbour, Sea…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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german_eagle says:
Sounds like a *must*, would enjoy this very much, I think.
Posted on: Feb 11, 2017
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photo by: Toonsarah