10 epic experiences in the Outer Hebrides
Date published: 11 June 2019
Whether you’re watching the sunset dip and dance over ancient standing stones; sinking your toes into some of the world’s best beaches; or marvelling at majestic wildlife, there’s no shortage of epic experiences to be had in the Outer Hebrides.
A group of islands off the west coast of Scotland, it’s a land of myths and majesty where magic can be found all around you. It’s in the stones of its soaring sea cliffs; within the deep, dark waters of its anchorages; and in the stories and sounds of its rich Gaelic culture.
We’ve picked out just 10 of the many epic experiences that await you on the water, shores, and coasts of the unforgettable Outer Hebrides. Take a look below and you’ll realise why you simply #MustSeaScotland!
Spend a magical night in Wizard Pool
Loch Skiport, South Uist
There are few anchorages in Scotland that stir the soul in the same way as the secluded, magical – and aptly-named – Wizard Pool in Loch Skiport. It’s the perfect base to explore South Uist’s many beautiful bays, lochans, and unspoiled white sand beaches. But, even if all you do is berth up and relax, you’ll never forget a night spent beneath the stars with the mighty mountain Hecla’s serrated peaks silhouetted against the bright sky.
© Eda Fransen Sailing
Spread your wings at North Harris Eagle Observatory
Located in the heart of a Golden Eagle territory within the spectacular Harris hills, the North Harris Eagle Observatory provides one of the best opportunities in Scotland for viewing this iconic species. One of the UK’s largest bird of prey, these giants of the sky have a wingspan of more than two metres! Watching them soar above the cloud-kissed hills of Harris is an unforgettable experience.
Dance the day away at the Hebridean Celtic Festival
Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Set in the stunning grounds of Lews Castle, HebCelt might just be the most atmospheric music festival on the planet. Hear music celebrating Celtic cultures, tinged with contemporary, rock and indie-folk influences and explore the many wonders of the Hebrides.
© Colin Cameron
Shine a light on Eilean Glas Lighthouse
One of the oldest lighthouses in Scotland, the Robert Stevenson-designed Eilean Glas has been guiding mariners safely through Scottish waters since 1789 – and its iconic red and white striped façade has entranced tourists and photographers alike for almost as long. Shine a light on this beautiful example of Scottish engineering on your next #LegendarySailing adventure.
Sink your toes into Scotland’s answer to the Seychelles
The first time you catch a glimpse of the Isle of Vatersay’s East Beach you might think you’ve strayed far, far off course and ended up in the Seychelles. Sweeping white sands, sparkling aquamarine waters and rolling hills in the distance – the bay is one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches and well worth the trip to the southernmost tip of the Outer Hebrides.
Looking to explore more of Scotland's spectacular beaches? Check out our guide to our stunning sands here!
Explore the secrets of St Kilda
Getting to St Kilda isn’t easy – but it’s more than worth it. This isolated archipelago is home to soaring sea cliffs, abandoned villages, unforgettable landscapes – and the largest colony of puffins in Europe. Set sail to what feels like the edge of the world and explore its secrets.
© John Sproat
Discover the magic of the Calanais Standing Stones
Isle of Lewis
5,000-years-old and more than a little magical, the Calanais Standing Stones predate Stonehenge and have entranced visitors and baffled archaeologists for centuries. One thing’s for sure – you’ll never forget seeing the stones silhouetted against a burning Scottish sunset.
Drain a dram at Harris Distillery
Among the rich heritage of Harris, the new Isle of Harris Distillery is laying down deep roots. It might not be producing whisky just yet, but its five local distillers are already creating gin that captures the elemental nature of the island and the seas which surround it. Pop along for a wee dram and see how one of Scotland's most iconic islands can be poured into a glass.
© Charmian Entwistle
Take off for Traigh Mhor beach
Only in Scotland can a trip to the beach mean sharing the sands with aircraft! On Barra’s Traigh Mhor (“Big Beach”), propeller planes swoop right onto the sands. It’s the only scheduled flight in the world that lands on a runway that's washed by tides twice a day! When it’s not serving as the planet’s most spectacular landing strip, its wide arc of gleaming white sand makes it one of Scotland's most beautiful beaches.
Sample the many delights of Stornoway
The largest town in the Outer Hebrides – beautiful, incomparable Stornoway - is rightly famous for its delicious black pudding, but there’s much more to this Hebridean hub than you might expect. From the all-embracing arts and cultural centre of An Lanntair to an array of excellent eateries – including what might be the most remote Thai restaurant in the west – and atmospheric pubs, it’s the perfect place to relax and sample some Hebridean hospitality. Sláinte!
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