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A landing you'll never forget on this island of endless beaches.
If just the thought of an airport makes you feel jaded, fly to Barra in the Outer Hebrides where your Twin Otter plane lands on a sparkling sandy beach. Even the terminal building has a seaview and serves homemade scones and fresh coffee to passengers and locals alike. Air travel will never seem the same again. What’s more this small island makes for a perfect escape for a few days with plenty to explore.
Your flight in a Twin Otter plane departs from Glasgow with timings varying with the tides! You will be in the air for around an hour, and on a clear day, the views of the lochs, mountains and meandering coastline are stunning. As you approach Barra, watch for the sandy beaches revealing themselves below, before the once-in-a-lifetime experience of landing on the Cockle Strand.
This is largely a Gaelic-speaking community with the hub being the port of Castlebay site of historic Kisimul Castle. Barra boasts myriad species of wildflowers and some stunning coastal scenery including the twin beaches of neighbouring Vatersay, with spectacular views back to Castlebay. Across the Sound is the Isle of Eriskay – renowned setting of the novel ‘Whisky Galore’. Much of the film of the same name was set on Barra, though – you may recognise the street in Castlebay.
During your stay we will arrange a private day tour of the island with our specially chosen local driver-guide. You’ll experience the eye-popping sight of the flight from Glasgow landing on the beach at Cockle Strand. Savour the views from Eoligarry across the sound to Fuday, Eriskay and South Uist. Gaze back at Barra from the battlements of Kisimul Castle on its own islet in Castlebay. Stretch your legs on Tangasdale, or any one of the island’s fine beaches. Perhaps cross the causeway to Vatersay, whose twin beaches are the perfect spot for a picnic and a romantic stroll. The day is yours and the tour is easily tailor-made to your exact wishes.
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 was extensively renovated recently and now 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 feet 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.
Take off once more from Cockle Strand and return to Glasgow.
The Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.
£575 per person for April & October, £635 per person for May & September, £645 per person June, July & August.
Prices based on two people sharing a double or twin room ensuite, for two nights on a bed & breakfast basis. Price includes return flights from Glasgow to Barra and a day tour with a local guide to help you learn more about this fascinating island. Airport transfers to and from your hotel are also included.
We can also pre-book car hire, from £60 per day. Please ask us for more details.
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.
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This holiday is available from April to October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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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.
This was a really amazing experience. My favorite part was definitely the actual landing on the sandy beach.Jeannine, Virginia, USA
It was just magical from start to finish!Catherine & David, West Yorkshire, England
The picture that remains in our minds is the turquoise water and the white cockle sand.Lynne & Janis , Norfolk, UK