The largest island of the Outer Hebrides, Lewis offers amazing opportunities to explore all the elements of life on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean – with history, heritage, wilderness, wildlife, arts, crafts, crofting culture and even adrenaline-fuelled adventure all here for the taking on your Hebridean holiday.
From the neat Victorian homes lining the streets of Stornoway in the east, to the stretching white sands of Bosta on Great Bernera in the west, where the clear Atlantic waters sound the evocative toll of the Time and Tide Bell as a reminder of the link between us and the elements, Lewis is an island of exciting contrasts and diverse experiences.
Discover the rich history of the proud Lewis people, from the Norse invasions to the strong Gaelic traditions that are still observed today. Head to Ness, a stronghold of the local language, and listen to the sound of Hebridean heritage being carried on the winds which rage around this northern headland making it the windiest spot in the UK.
Explore the sea caves and stacks at Garry Beach just round the headland from Broad Bay to better understand how the relentless seas have shaped this island environment, and the lifestyles of those who live here.
Isle of Harris:
The Outer Hebridean island of Harris is one that has offered inspiration for generations. With its rich traditions, stunning shifting scenery and strong sense of community, Harris offers a unique introduction to island life on the edge.
Travel the Golden Road through Bays for a whistlestop tour of the rich history that has shaped this island’s identity across the centuries with Norse and Gaelic influences evident in the names of the hamlets that punctuate this coastline or explore the popular village of Tarbert where you can visit the Harris Tweed Shop and take home a piece of true Hebridean heritage.
Gaze out across the West Harris sands to the famous uninhabited Castaway island of Taransay and experience a glimpse of the isolation from which the proud self-sufficent communities of the Outer Hebrides were born, or tour the adjoining Isle of Scalpay with its strong seafaring connections to understand more about the symbiosis of islanders and ocean.
Whatever you are looking for, you can find it here on Lewis and Harris, along with a warm Hebridean welcome.
Did you know that Scotland has over 10,000 km of coastline? It’s a real paradise for watersports adventurers. Many activities are available all year round and everyone can find an activity to enjoy. Whether you are surfing Atlantic swells, rafting down a grade 5 river, or sea kayaking around the islands of the west coast, you are in for a thrilling adventure in Scotland.
St Kilda is an isolated cluster of volcanic islands that lie 40 miles to the west of the main island chain.
With the highest sea cliffs in Britain, St Kilda is the most important sea bird breeding station in north west Europe. This dual World Heritage Site has the largest colony of guillemots in the world, the oldest and largest colony of fulmars, the biggest colony of puffins in Britain and over one million birds in total.
St Kilda also has one of the most extensive groups of vernacular building remains in Britain. The layout of a 19th-century village remains to this day, and over 1,400 stone-built cleitean (used for storing food and fuel) are scattered all over the islands, and even on sea stacks.
St Kilda is one of the best places in Britain for diving because of its clear water and its submerged caves, tunnels and arches.
Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, St Kilda was once populated by the unique and hardy Kildians, who, due to poverty and starvation, were forced to leave the islands in the last century. There is an abandoned village on the island you can visit where the houses are still relatively intact and lots of stories and folklore about life on St Kilda has been preserved. St Kilda is also a National Nature reserve due to its importance for seabirds.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in Western Europe. Set in the heart of Scotland’s dynamic capital city it is sure to capture your imagination. The scenery will take your breath away.
Dating back to the 12th century, Edinburgh Castle has dominated the capital city’s skyline for generations. Dramatically perched above the city on Castle Rock, you can wander up to the landmark from the atmospheric, cobbled Royal Mile.
Take an interactive flight over the castle with this 360 video:
Barra is the most southernly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides.
Long famed for its beauty – boasting beaches, hills, machair (grassy plains) and moors all in a small island – Barra is a special place to visit, especially if you arrive by plane.
The airport is one of the most unusual in the world, with flights landing on the beach at Cockle Strand in between tides. At high tide the runway disappears beneath the waves. Barra is also accessible by ferry, which departs from Oban and arrives at the main settlement, Castlebay.
Barra was the stronghold of the Clan MacNeil and last resting place of the author Compton Mackenzie, who wrote Whisky Galore – a romanticised story based on the facts of the 1941 shipwreck of the SS Politician and subsequent salvage of 240,000 bottles of whisky by the islanders of neighbouring Eriskay.
This is a stunning backdrop for some great outdoor discoveries. Take a five minute boat trip from Castlebay to the medieval Kisimul Castle, the ‘Castle in the Sea’, which sits dramatically on a rock islet in the bay. This three storey tower house is the ancient seat of the Clan MacNeil, and gives great views from the battlements. Stroll along beautiful white sandy beaches, such as Tangasdale, or enjoy breathtaking scenery as you cycle or walk around this small, but incredibly beautiful island. For an amazing sea kayaking experience, take to the water on a guided tour withClearwater Paddling from Castlebay and explore a world of beautiful islands and sheltered bays, or play a round or two at Barra Golf Club, the most westerly golf course in the UK.
Learn about the culture, history and language of Barra at the island’s heritage centre, Dualchas, where the two main galleries present a changing programme of local history displays, art exhibitions and cultural events.
Eden Festival is a Truly Energetic, vibrant and independant festival showcasing fresh music and electrifying performances! Set in the stunning Raehills Meadows and hosting 9 different stages including a kids arena, circus tent, drive in cinema, comedy, cabaret and workshops, as well as a feast of performers, artworks, games and much, much more.
Eden Festival 2016 will be held on the 9th – 12th of June, Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland and, like its predecessors, the festival has the following objectives:
• To involve young people and the community
• To support creative artists locally and nationally
• To bring people to Dumfries & Galloway and the surrounding area
• To help protect our environment by promoting a sustainable and environmentally conscious approach