Billy Shiel's Boat Trips
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
About
Seahouses, Northumberland, England
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Awards
Travelers' Choice
2022

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Billy Shiel's Boat Trips
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Travelers talk about
(154 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,488 reviews
Excellent
1,181
Very good
207
Average
57
Poor
16
Terrible
27

MJK
Coventry1,151 contributions
Jul 2022
We decided to book a sunset trip to the Farne Islands and there was a choice between Serenity or Billy Shiel's boat trip (both fully comparable for price and duration). Finally, we booked our trip with the latter one and we were not disappointed.

Billy Shiel's boat is smaller, and the sides of its ship are lower, so larger waves will probably splash water on you, however it makes the whole experience only more genuine and exciting.

During the trip, you will go around several islands, you will see all the richness of the local fauna (mainly birds: cormorants, puffins, guillemots and many others, but also seals), and everything is enriched by the skipper's interesting commentary on the history of the islands and the people who lived there.

I highly recommend sunset trip, especially after the sunny day, however you should remember that you will be in the open boat and on the open sea, so the evenings are rather cold, even if you were basking in the 30-degree heat on the beach a few hours earlier.
Written September 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Luke P
46 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
We used Billy Shiel's boat tours for a trip to the Farne Islands, the tour lasted around 3 hours they are very professional staff and crew and made us feel very safe aboard their vessel. The price of the trip didn't include the landing fee to inner Farne island, you can pay that at the booking office for the National trust located next to Billy Shiel's booking office on the harbour.

Along our trip they gave a very informative talk about the islands history and about the birds and other wildlife located on the island.

We will definitely be using Billy Shiel's boat tours again in the future.
Written July 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ann H
York, UK2,148 contributions
Apr 2021
Our first overnight break for a while and we thought we would treat ourselves to a trip to the Farne islands to see the puffins and seals amongst other birds. This boat company were amazing with lots of Covid protocols being adhered to Masks on board and not too many people. We had a lovely trip and saw so many puffins. seals etc etc with the running commentary from the captain being very informative. The story about Grace Darling was particularly interesting. The only downside was that we had gone on the first day for a few weeks that it decided to rain for quite a while whilst we were on board. Such a shame but we still really enjoyed the whole experience and would recommend this company.
Written April 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

FearfulFlyer2
Bristol, UK461 contributions
Sep 2021
I took a boat trip to Lindisfarne with this company based in Seahouses. The tour involved a crossing of about 50 minutes to the peninsula, at a time when the causeway connecting it to the land is flooded, so the semi-island is quieter. Then on the way back we had a short tour of the Farne islands including the grey seal colony (and had it been the right time of year, we could have seen the nesting seabirds also).

Booking online was easy and efficient, and the boat was well maintained. The crew were pleasant, helpful and appeared competent, and we left on time.

I wouldn't say these are good boats for sightseeing/wildlife watching however. Seats are around the edge of the boat, facing inwards, or perching on top of the life jacket containers in the middle once the edge is taken up. There was no attempt by the crew to set any rules, so as soon as anything was seen on one side of the boat, everyone on that side stood up, blocking the view of everyone else. Of course, with the inward facing seats, if they did remain seated they would have needed to twist uncomfortably or kneel. As a short person who got stuck in the middle, I saw little but people's backs. It would be really disappointing for a small child.

The boat was also completely open with no shelter from wind, rain or sun. Be sure to take something warm as even on a very hot day the wind generated when the boat moves is very cold. I would definitely not recommend the trip if any rain is forecast unless you don't mind being wet through. Also on a sunny day you need to ensure sunscreen is on, and I'm not sure it would be really suitable for small children/babies. It's not a comfortable boat in any way - the seats are hard cold metal - so if that is an issue for you, take a cushion or blanket to sit on. There are also a couple of steep steps required to get in and out of the boat, so it isn't not a good choice for people with mobility problems.

The advertising all emphasises the 'commentary throughout'. There was some commentary, although not a lot, which couldn't be heard at the back or the very front, which made it of dubious value. I didn't care as wasn't interested in the commentary, but presumably some visitors might consider it important. Also if you do the trip to Lindisfarne, bear in mind that with the causeway closed, many of the shops and restaurants are shut too.

If the company could change the configuration of their boats, or at least enforce some rules for passengers on good 'etiquette' on board, they would be onto a real winner with these trips.
Written September 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stowetraveller
Felixstowe, UK72 contributions
Jun 2022
We left the harbour on the first boat of the day and had flat calm conditions and blue skies which was fab. We also saw plenty of puffins which was the only purpose of our visit. The crew were friendly and took good care of their passengers but the skipper had a port hand bias which meant that anyone on the starboard side of the boat struggled to get good views of the puffins. One crew member kept saying the skipper would spin around for those of us on the starboard side but it rarely happened and definitely for much shorter periods of time reducing our ability to get good photos. I understand tides and seamanship but if there is really is a challenge giving an equal experience, take less people on the boat and rotate people between sides rather than making one group feel like second class citizens - we all paid the same price.
Written August 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Trevor B
3 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
This was an excellent Sunset Cruise around the Farne Islands taking in all sorts of sea bird life and some seals as well. The Captain managed to get us up so close to the rocks on which the birds were perched it was amazing, and the commentary he provided was both interesting and informative. The highlight was a very close view of a coliny of puffins (who does not love a puffin?) but we saw so much more and some seals as well. It helped that the weather was perfect, which was a relief as earlier in the day it was awfll. We even over-ran by half an hour giving us more time to see the Northumbrian coast, with the sillouette of Bamburgh Castle in the near disance.
Written July 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Moxy1980
Northumberland, UK40 contributions
Aug 2021
The boat was a good size and the captain was very knowledge about the local area and the wildlife. The crew were friendly and courteous. The length of the trip (90 mins) was perfect and the route was interesting, with a good view of the birds, seals and building of the island.

The ticket booth let this trip down. The staff lacked basic customer service skills and despite us booking onto a boat shown as available and us arriving on time, it felt like it was our problem that they hadn't sold enough tickets for it and that we would have to change timings.

It was presented to us that it was a better boat and therefore, within their view, that seemed to negate the need for them to apologise for us having to hang around for a further 45 mins. If they had just said "We're not hit the ticket numbers, would you mind going at a later time", with apologies, then it would have been fine. However, it was presented as "There's a better boat later". When we didn't mind going on time on a less better boat that was obviously a problem for them.

We're not tourists. We're local and went on the trip so that we can confidently recommend things to do in Northumberland for visiting friends, family and colleagues. As such won't be recommending this boat tour company.
Written August 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mareofessex
Nttingham285 contributions
Aug 2020
We had booked a trip for the Saturday of a week's stay in Northumberland. However, a couple of days before, we received an e-mail to say that due to high winds the boats would not be sailing on the day we booked, but that we could re-book. We were able to do this with ease via e-mail, and the trip took place on the rescheduled date. We arrived at Seahouses and parked down by the harbour with ease. We collected our booked tickets at the ticket office, and the girls were even kind enough to give me change of a Five pound note so we could pay for parking in the parking machine. When the boat was ready we were all told where to go, and were greeted by the skipper. The boat trip took about an hour and half in total, where we were taken around each of the Farne Islands and various birds and wildlife were pointed out. Unfortunately we were too late in the season to see the puffins, but we did see an abundance of seals, some on rocks and some swimming in the sea which was amazing. On our way back, we were literally ten minutes from docking at the harbour, when the skipper suddenly turned the boat around...low and behold we were faced with a pod of dolphins! This was the last day of our week in Northumberland, and what a high to finish on. A boat trip I would def recommend, we really enjoyed it.
Written September 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris Q
Wallsend, UK29 contributions
Oct 2020 • Couples
Booked trips online priced at £15pp, From have a pervious trip with Billy Shiels I knew I was value for money! Friendly service and advised time to meet and escorted to the boat! Helpful boarding and masks advised to be worn, comfortable amount of passengers and able to social distance and felt safe.

Set off and unbelievably saw dolphins which followed the boat for around 20minutes, Toured all the islands and learnt Grace Darlings history of the heroic rescue! 90-100minute trip showing Northumberland at its finest..

Worth every penny
Written October 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Miss H
Stone, UK15 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
Boat trip out was okay. Saw seals in the water and various birds- shags, guillemots, waders, turns. Guide gave good useful information.

On Holy island needed to book in advance for museum - no spaces until a week later so a bit disappointed. Castle was closed due to Covid. The rain and no coats didn’t help much... the arts center was closed as only open in line with tides and open times that day did not coincide with booked trip. Not much on the Island when the museum is booked up, the arts and mead centres closed... this left shops - many closed as this is a tidal village so workers only in with the tides. Pubs and cafes open left feeling quite disappointed and when booking all of this information should, I think be provided to make the most of the trip. For a family of 4, £120 is not good value in my opinion.... may have been if given more information about the Island and getting the most of the trip at the point of booking.
Written August 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello Rachel, I'm so sorry for your disappointment. Unfortunately we have no control over the opening hours of other businesses but information about Covid closures including the castle etc are on our information page and our confirmation emails. We do notify business's that we are bringing visitors but unfortunately we are not in control of any business closures or any covid restrictions on these businesses. The benefit of visiting the island by boat is to see the island at its most tranquil when the causeway is closed and there are fewer visitors but this does mean that occasionally businesses close earlier. As the Island has tidal access it doesn't always follow regular opening times.
Written August 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Billy Shiel's Boat Trips (Seahouses) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go