Magical, mystical, enchanting… just a few words that are often used to describe the Outer Hebrides, the string of islands 40 miles into the Atlantic from the west coast of mainland Scotland. The Outer Hebrides is made up of 13 main islands, the largest and most northerly being the Isle of Lewis.
On Lewis, Stornoway is the main town of the Outer Hebrides. This busy harbour town, with a full range of hotels, shops and facilities, sits on the northernmost island of the Outer Hebrides and provides access to two communities - The lochs of Lewis in the north and the more rugged and mountainous scenery of Harris in the south. Both Lewis and Harris provide an outdoor playground and are an ideal place to relax and recharge your batteries. Stroll along a chain of incredible white-sand beaches, where you can see whales, dolphins, eagles and much more. Or meander along the harbour to observe the fisherman as they fish for the catch of the day, which will later be dished up in the island's restaurants.
Stornoway is also a gateway to regions further south. Don’t miss the stunning islands of North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra, which are easily accessible by ferries. Many locations in the area could be mistaken for being tropical, Mediterranean getaways, such the golden Berneray Sands Beach, or the crystal-clear waters of Traigh Hornais.
Currency: GBP - £
Journey Time: 2hr 15m
Time Difference: UTC (EET)
Summer (DST): UTC+1 (EEST)
Whilst you are in Stornoway, make the most of your stay and check out our top things to do and see!
Stretch your legs in the scenic grounds of Lews Castle. A great example of Victorian style ornamental landscaping, they cover 270 hectares and were designed – along with the Victorian castle - as a country retreat for the co-founder of Hong Kong-based trading conglomerate Jardine Matheson & Co., Sir James Matheson, who once owned the entire island. The castle enjoys superb views over the harbour and it’s even possible to spot seals sunbathing in the distance. Head to the on-site cafe for a hearty, traditional Scottish breakfast.
West Coastal Walk
If you want a good view of the bay – you know, for Instagram – walk along the Lewis West Side coastal path, which follows the coastline between the villages of Gearrannan and Bragar. With waymarkers along the route, if you’re somewhat lacking a sense of direction you should be able to make your way along the trail even where the path isn’t so obvious.
Callanish Standing Stones
Over 5,000 years old the world-famous Callanish Standing Stones is the most impressive stone circle in the whole of Scotland. Erected during the late Neolithic period and used as a focus for ritual, the main site encompasses about 50 stones in a cross-shaped circle, while the inner circle is made up of 13 stones that are up to 4 metres tall.
This beautiful sheltered, shell sand beach is on the neighbouring island of Great Bernera. Connected to Lewis by a bridge, it takes under an hour to drive there from Stornoway with the last 9 miles along single-track roads. But that slightly tricky drive will be well rewarded, as behind the shimmering beach, there is an excavated Iron Age village and a replica of an Iron Age house, built by the local historical society.
Many of the main streets in Stornoway were named after well-known people from Outer Hebridean history.
There are over 4000 freshwater lochs in the isles of Harris and Lewis.
The Outer Hebrides are a stronghold of the Gaelic language, which is still widely spoken today.
Why not give Stornoway a try and book now with Loganair.
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