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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Journey through the Western Isles

A memorable and relaxing island-hopping adventure.

Ideal for those who want a relaxing tour of these special, truly captivating islands, each with their own character, taking you from Barra in the south through the Uists, to Harris, Lewis and finishing on Skye.

Available as described here travelling by car and ferry throughout, or as fly-drive from Glasgow, with one way car hire on the islands.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Mar - Oct

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Day One – Isle of Barra

Your first Hebridean destination is the Isle of Barra in the south. Your ferry departs from the port of Oban on the west coast. Look out for whales & dolphins as you cross the Sea of the Hebrides. A short drive takes you to your first small hotel.

Your inn on Barra

Originally built as a church and mission house in the mid-nineteenth century, your whitewashed hotel enjoys a fine location overlooking the bay, with easy access to both the ferry port and Barra’s unique beachfront airstrip at Cockle Strand. In its previous incarnation as a guest house, it played host to several cast members of the classic 1948 film Whisky Galore, before upgrading to hotel status in 1974, whereupon Northbay could boast its first licensed premises since the closure of the old inn decades earlier.

The hotel has five comfortable en-suite bedrooms furnished in a contemporary style, some with a DVD player. The cheerful public bar, whose walls are over 3 foot thick, is a pleasant place to sit and observe the fishing activity across the bay at Ardveenish pier, or to while away an evening listening to the friendly locals share their colourful tales of island life. Meals are served in the bar, or you can opt for the quieter dining room, whose menu features tempting island produce, with an emphasis on locally landed fresh fish and shellfish.

What to see and do on Barra

Take a walk along the sparkling white sands of Cockle Strand and spot a plane landing at low tide – an unforgettable sight. Drive or cycle up to Eoligarry and feast your eyes on the springtime profusion of primroses as you gaze across the sound to Fuday, Eriskay and South Uist in the distance. Or head south to Castlebay, the island capital, and visit Kisimul Castle, restored ancestral home of the clan MacNeil. Stop off at the highly informative Heritage Centre, where you can enjoy coffee and refreshments, before perhaps taking a picnic across the causeway to Vatersay, with its glorious twin beaches.

Day Three – North Uist

Leave the little island of Barra via the ferry to Eriskay, you will then travel along the spectacular waterside roads of Uist to find your next destination in the north.

Your Hotel on North Uist

This striking modern hotel with its stylish contemporary interiors offers boutique-style ambience unrivalled anywhere else in the Hebrides.  Seven of its eight designer bedrooms offer wonderful views of Lochmaddy Bay and a soothing environment characterised by warm, earthy hues, subtle lighting effects and quality modern furnishings. The hotel is set amid the hills and machair that surround Lochmaddy and provide inspiration for the restaurant kitchen in the form of heather-fed lamb, deer, game and organic vegetables, whilst the harbour, freshwater lochs and surrounding coastal waters are abundant sources of delicious scallops, mussels, lobsters, crab, salmon and wild brown trout. The main restaurant menu imaginatively reflects these culinary riches, whilst the comfortable lounge bar focuses on more informal, hearty home-cooking.

What to see and do on the Uists

North Uist offers unlimited access to the interconnected isles of Benbecula, Grimsay, South Uist and Eriskay, all of which are ideal for walking, kayaking, cruising and wildlife-watching. Birdwatchers will not want to miss the RSPB Balranald nature reserve on the west coast – home to thousands of coastal waders and divers. Meanwhile, Lochmaddy itself boasts several unusual attractions, including a camera obscura and the impressive Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre and museum.

Day Five – Harris

Today you cross by ferry to Harris, with your next lodging in a peaceful location in the south of the island.

Your guest house on Harris

This modern 4 star guest house exudes a warm, traditional Hebridean  welcome and offers a quiet retreat from which to appreciate the beauty  of the surrounding area. Overlooking a peaceful loch, you’ll feel a  million miles from anywhere, although in reality you are just a few  minutes drive, or a 20 minute walk from Tarbert. The splendid breakfast,  prepared from locally sourced produce, will set you up for the day. All of the comfortable rooms and the residents lounge enjoy impressive  watery views from this aptly named house meaning ‘Music of the Sea’.

What to see and do on Harris

With its magnificent scenery and spectacular beaches, Harris offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife-lovers. Marvel at the sight of golden eagles, cormorants and buzzards swooping down over the uninhabited offshore islands. And don’t miss Rodel’s exquisite 15th century church of St Clement’s, with its wonderful medieval tombs and wood carvings.

Day Seven – Lewis

No ferry today as Lewis is part of the same land mass as Harris, reached by crossing a barren rocky “moonscape”. Time to explore as you travel, with your next base on the edge of Stornoway, the main town of these islands.

Your guest house on Lewis

Your accommodation here is a newly refurbished, family owned housewith just two very comfortable en-suite bedrooms. Your Stornoway born-and-bred host is here to ensure your complete relaxation and satisfaction, serving authentic, locally sourced breakfasts and giving unique local advice on anything you might need to know about the Outer Hebrides.

Breakfast is served in the dedicated, bright and comfortable dining room, featuring large French doors leading out to a guests-only patio and garden.  There are several evening dining choices within easy reach and the town centre is a 30-minute walk away, though there is a 20-minute short-cut through Lews Castle grounds.

What to see and do on Lewis

Lewis is positively bursting with archaeological treasures, notably the eerie Standing Stones of Callanish, the Pictish Carloway Broch and several blackhouse villages. The bustling town of Stornoway boasts a vibrant social scene, where traditional music and crafts thrive in lively pubs, clubs, markets and shops. Combined with its incomparable scenery, the Isle of Lewis offers plenty of activites for those interested in history, wildlife, walking and much more.

Day Nine – Isle of Skye

Your next ferry takes you east across the sea to Skye, with your hotel a welcoming inn just outside the port of Uig, perfectly placed to explore the most dramatic parts of this large island.

Your hotel on Skye

This is a refurbished family-run inn located on the edge of the village Both lively and stylish, the Inn has a restaurant, bar and rooms and has a fantastic view towards the Waternish peninsula.

What to see and do on Skye

This is a perfect, central location for exploring this, the largest Hebridean island, with many contrasts of its own.   In the north of the island, you’ll find historic Dunvegan Castle and the stunning Trotternish peninsula, with the now world famous Fairy Glen and stunning views from the Quiraing. In the south the Sleat peninsula,  known as the Garden of Skye, take time to visit Armadale Castle and Gardens, or walk to the Point of Sleat, and gaze across to the small isles of Rum and Eigg and dream of future visits!  Wherever you are on the island, the Cuillin mountains seem to frame every view and there are a myriad of walking opportunities for all abilities.

Day Eleven – Return Home

To complete your journey you can leave Skye by the bridge or, in more traditional style, by ferry to the mainland at Mallaig.


Map fly-drive-through-western-isles

Island-hop through the contrasting isles of the Outer Hebrides, from Barra, through the Uists to Harris then Lewis, before returning to the mainland through the Isle of Skye.


£1075 per person for departures in March, April & October, £1135 per person for May to September.

All prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room, for ten nights on a bed & breakfast basis, and include ferry crossings for two adults and a car from Oban to Barra, onwards through the Outer Hebrides, from Harris to Skye and back to Mallaig.

This holiday is also available as a fly-drive, from Glasgow with one way car hire included between Barra and Stornoway, with Skye visited between Harris and Lewis.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

Falling in Love with the Isle of Skye

Falling in Love with the Isle of Skye

“Somewhere along the Scottish coast An emerald island lies So I will steer my sailing boat Unto the Isle of Skye” [Andrew Peterson] I take a glanc...


Check availability for Journey through the Western Isles

This holiday can be arranged from late March to early October. The itinerary as described can start any day of the week.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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