For your ultimate escape look no further than the Outer Hebrides. Boasting an archipelago consisting of 200 islands and 2,500km of dazzling coastline, it really is the perfect place to get away from it all and relax.
For a truly unique insight into life in this idyllic wilderness why not try island hopping? Each island has its own distinct character, shaped by the people and the nature found there. For wildlife enthusiasts, the contrasting terrain of low lying Lewis and mountainous Harris offer one of the greatest bird watching sites in Britain. Experience a trip around the Uists, Eriskay and Barra, where basking sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and those ever-playful otters are regularly sighted.
Barra is the most southerly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides. Long famed for its beauty – boasting beaches, hills, machair and moor 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 arrives at the main settlement, Castlebay.
The Outer Hebrides is a haven for the arts packed with shops, galleries and studios where you can view local artists’ work. Stornoway’s award-winning An Lanntair, known also as ‘the Lantern’, offers a busy events programme bringing the best in arts, music, cinema and entertainment. Also worth a visit, Taigh Chearsabhagh community museum and arts centre on North Uist offers an excellent display of fascinating artifacts and lets you uncover the area's arts, culture and heritage.
No trip to these friendly isles is complete without sampling some of the local delicacies from hand-dived scallops at The Anchorage Restaurant on Harris or freshly smoked kippers served on menus in Stornoway. Be sure to sample some craft beer from the Hebridean Brewery in Stornoway, or a dram of single malt whisky from the Abhain Dearg Distillery.
The Outer Hebrides is brimming with ancient archeological treasures, with more being discovered all the time. The Calanais Standing Stones on Lewis are a definite highlight and subject of much intrigue and speculation. If you’re on Bernera then the Bosta Iron Age House is well worth a visit. This painstaking reconstruction of an Iron Age village was uncovered by chance following a storm in the 1990s.