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.
The Tunnock’s Teacake consists of a small round shortbread biscuit covered with a dome of Italian meringue and a whipped egg white concoction similar to marshmallow.This is then encased in a thin layer of milk or dark chocolate and wrapped in a red and silver foil paper for the more popular milk chocolate variety, or with blue, black, and gold wrapping for the dark. This wee sweet food is very popular in the UK and is often served with a cup of tea or coffee.
The Scottish version of the chocolate-coated marshmallow was created by the Tunnock’s, a family baker based in Uddingston, near Glasgow. The company was formed by Thomas Tunnock in 1890, when he purchased a baker’s shop in Lorne Place, Uddingston. The company expanded in the 1950s, and it was at this time that the core products were introduced to the lines, when sugar and fat rationing meant that products with longer shelf-lives than cakes had to be produced.
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.
Be transfixed with awe and wonder by a mesmerising digital animation and the deep, emotional impact of music by Mogwai.
The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time on Sunday 7 August 2016 will transport you through 350 million years of Edinburgh’s history. And it’ll show you Edinburgh’s iconic Castle as you’ve never seen it before.
This epic, outdoor, public artwork event forms the dazzling opening to 2016’s festival season, created by Tony award-winning 59 Productions, creators of the acclaimed The Harmonium Project that launched the International Festival 2015.
Blending trailblazing technology, narrative drama and emotional storytelling, Standard Life Opening Event:Deep Time celebrates the wonders and beauties of the natural, the geological and the man-made, exploring the very foundations of Edinburgh itself.
Sunday 7 August, 10.30pm
Castle Terrace Arena
When can I get my tickets?
Monday 11 July from 10 am online Main ticket release
Monday 1 August from 10 am online Second ticket release
Saturday 6 August from 10 am in person
Final ticket release
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (also known simply as “the Fringe”) is a major event which takes place every year. For 25 days in August, Edinburgh is completely transformed with thousands of performers flocking to the capital for a chance to showcase their work in one of hundreds of venues around the city centre.
The Fringe started in 1947 when a handful of theatre companies turned up uninvited to the official Edinburgh International Festival to perform for the large theatre crowds that had already gathered in the city. From these humble beginnings, the festival has now grown into the largest arts festival in the world and, in 2014, the Fringe featured a record number of 3,193 shows.
Even today, any act in the world can sign up to perform at the Fringe so you will always find an extremely varied mix of shows, from established celebrities and musicians to student theatre companies and aspiring artists. Popular acts featured in the festival include cabaret, comedy, dance, live music, theatre and circus.
This year the festival will take place from 5th – 29th August and you can see the full schedule here. Don’t forget you can also explore the best the festival has to offer with our English Plus Festivals course! We’ll also have the chance to visit the Fringe on our social programme throughout August.
Look out for these other festivals happening in August too!
There is more that meets the eye! The open courtyard between General House and New Register House has been transformed into a unique garden planted with 57 plant species – all connected in some way to Scotland’s collective memory.
Designed by Gross Max using the plant palette drawn up by the Royal Botanic Garden, the Archivist’s Garden is open during office hours 9am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
2. Museum of Edinburgh
Huntly House, 142 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8DD
Hidden in plain sight on the Canongate in the Royal Mile, this museum lifts the lid on the fascinating history of the city – from its very beginnings right up to the present day.
Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm
3. Dovecot Studios
10 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LT
This 100 years old tapestry studio is now homed in a beautifully renovated Victorian swimming pool in the heart of Edinburgh. Nowadays, visitors to this stunning building can see the fascinating workshop spaces where the in-house weavers create their stunning tapestries. There’s also a great gallery space which exhibits work by artist from all over the globe and an in house café which is a perfect spot to relax and admire the venue.
Monday to Saturday 10.30am – 5.30pm
4. Dunbar’s Close Garden
Canongate, High Street EH8 8BW
This hidden retreat is located just beside The Canongate Kirk. Wander down Dunbar’s Close to reveal a garden laid out in the character of the 17th century, donated to the City of Edinburgh by the Mushroom Trust in 1978 and named after Edinburgh writer David Dunbar owner tenement on either side of this close in 1773.
5. Museum of Childhood
42 High St, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1TG
It is never too late to have some fun.
Spend a few hours (in the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood) exploring the 21 rooms and over 2000 item, toys and games from across the generation, from the early Steiff Bears to Barbie’s – we can pretty much guarantee it’s won’t be long before you say; ‘I had one of those’ The Museum of Childhood is set in two buildings straddling South Gray’s Close on the Royal Mile. Both buildings were constructed in the 18th century. Even if you don’t think you fancy a wander down toy memory lane, pop in ans visit ‘the nosiest museum in the world’ and just try to avoid getting caught up in the magical nostalgia.