Welcome to the Outer Hebrides! Plan and book your perfect holiday with local tips, places to stay, things to do, holiday inspiration & destination info.
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The Outer Hebrides are a group of incredibly beauitiful islands off the west coast of Scotland. Also known as the Western Isles or Na h-Eileanan an Iar in Gaelic, this chain of inter-connected islands lies off the north-west coast of Scotland. On these unique islands, Gaelic is still spoken by the majority of the population and crofting is a big part of Hebridean life.
The Outer Hebrides islands are on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and are a 130-mile-long string of 119 islands off the north-west coast of Scotland. The islands lie to the west of the area of sea called the Minch which separates them from the Isle of Skye. They are the very edge of the British Isles.
Only 14 islands are inhabited and the five main inhabited islands are:
If you fancy a spot of island-hopping, you can drive over causeways from all the way from Eriskay to Berneray passing through South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist. To discover the other islands will involve a short ferry crossing.
From the northernmost headlands of the Isle of Lewis to the southern tip of Vatersay, these islands on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean offer you a holiday which you will never forget.
There can be a tendency for people to drive from Barra to the Butt of Lewis in several days, but these islands deserve much more of your time. Take it slow and explore these Hebridean islands properly.
I suggest maybe picking one or two islands and spending at least a week exploring them and the neighbouring ones. The Western Isles were made for slow travel.
Also available from Wordery for £11.81
The main crossings are run by Calmac (Caledonian MacBrayne) and are:
There are also the following ferry services:
Find out more on the Calmac website.
Yes, it can be a bit choppy and every year some ferry crossings are cancelled due to the bad weather. But I’ve also been across on wonderfully flat calm sailings so it’s a little bit of pot luck when booking your trip in advance. You’ll probably find your crossing is somewhere in the middle. If seasickness is an issue for you, I sympathise. You might prefer to take the ferry from Skye or Ullapool which are considerably shorter journeys across The Minch. I always pack seasickness tablets just in case. We find Kwells work well for us and my parents swear by Stugeron tablets and brandy. Not at the same time though! Well, at least I don’t think so.
There are three airports on the Outer Hebrides:
Barra airport is the most famous and most spectacular as it’s where planes land and take off on the beautiful beach which is also mentioned in our best beaches in Scotland: Highlands and Islands. To land on the sand at Barra airport is one of the most popular things to do on the Outer Hebrides.
You can book flights or find out more information on the Flybe website.
The best tips on what to do and see and where to go from the people who know these islands best.
Sarah MacLean lives on Barra island in the Outer Hebrides where she manages the…