The Open Gate

The Community's Main House

The Open Gate, owned and run by the Community of Aidan and Hilda, serves as a retreat centre and guest house. Being a listed building and the oldest inhabited house on the island it is full of character and guests often comment on its pervading atmosphere of peace and warmth. The house itself has six guest rooms and is available for individuals and groups who come for retreat, spiritual guidance or study. It lies in a prominent position at the western corner of the junction of Mary Gate and Crossgate Lane, at the centre of the village.


The Open Gate offers:

  • Six guest rooms including one double en-suite bedroom and two en-suite twin bedrooms on the first floor, and on the second floor two single rooms with a shared bathroom and an en-suite bed-sit with a double bed and kitchenette.
  • Additional en-suite bedrooms at a more modern property just a couple of minutes’ walk away.  The ground floor single and first floor twin and double are all en-suite.
  • A well-stocked Resource Centre in the Reception area which includes many of the books written by Ray Simpson, the Founding Guardian of the Community, plus a range of pamphlets and guides.
  • A reception area providing seating and drinks facilities for visitors and guests.
  • A comfortable combined lounge and dining room, with a large inglenook fireplace, and various books, CDs games, jigsaws and some art materials.
  • A prayer room, currently at the Lindisfarne Retreat next to the Gospel Garden which is used for prayer sessions at midday and 9 pm.
  • An attractive courtyard with tables and chairs, where guests can sit for a chat and refreshments when the weather is good. Being sheltered from the wind it is also a good place for art and craft work.


Retreats organised by the Community of Aidan and Hilda have all meals provided.  Guests who are not participating in a formal retreat are provided with a buffet style continental breakfast with various cereals, breads, croissants, fruit juice, yogurts, fresh fruit, tea and coffee.  For other meals we encourage the use of the shops, cafes, pubs and hotels in the village, as we are very much part of the island community.  Individual arrangements may be negotiated for groups.

Where possible, e.g. gluten free and vegetarian diets, we make every effort to cater for special dietary needs.

Spiritual Guidance

During retreats, in particular, there are usually two or three people available who are trained in spiritual direction, who you may approach.

For all, there is a rhythm of prayer both in the house and through the different island churches that people can link into as they wish.


To book, please telephone 01289 389222. If we can fit you in we will. If not, we may try to place you in other properties owned by the Community or its members on the island.

If these are full, then we may recommend alternative accommodation on the island, otherwise try looking at the website, which includes accommodation on the island and also nearby parts of the mainland.


  • Twin or double room with en-suite £95 (single occupancy £60)
  • Large top-floor bed-sit £105 (single occupancy £75)
  • Small single rooms on top floor £50 (shared bathroom)
  • Ground floor single room with en-suite £50
  • Discounts of 20% on the above prices are available for Voyagers within the Community.

More about the Open Gate

You can download full details of the Open Gate, including its history here and you can find out more about the whole spiritual notion of open gates here.

Volunteering at the Open Gate

The Open Gate has benefitted from the time and talents of volunteers over the years.  We would seek to continue to do so and are currently reviewing how this might best work both for the Open Gate and volunteers.

The Open Gate

Views of the Open Gate