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The perfect introduction to these magical islands, exploring from Barra to the Uists, then Lewis & Harris.
Scattered in a 130-mile arc off the north-west coast of Scotland, the Outer Hebrides invariably seduce newcomers with their intoxicating blend of wild natural beauty, abundant wildlife, sparkling sandy beaches and stunning rocky landscapes. You’ll be entranced by dramatically different sights on this island-hopping adventure – everything from unforgettable sunsets to mysterious stone circles, perhaps even an otter scampering across the road.
This holiday is described as self-drive with your own car. Alternatively, we can arrange a fly-drive Outer Hebrides holiday for you or why not choose to explore car-free?
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 and dolphins as you cross the Sea of the Hebrides.
Your Accommodation on Barra
A short drive from the arrival port in Castlebay brings you to your first accommodation, where a traditional island welcome awaits. Here you’ll begin to discover the stories of Barra, including the part the island played in the classic 1948 film Whisky Galore. Your comfortable home-from-home is a great spot to begin your Hebridean odyssey.
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.
Leaving the little island of Barra via the ferry to Eriskay, you will then travel along the spectacular waterside roads of Uist to your next destination in the north.
Your Accommodation on North Uist
In an ideal position near the southern tip of North Uist, a few short steps from the unspoilt machair and sandy beach of Carinish, your family run hotel here is a pretty little island haven.
Recently refurbished throughout, splashes of bold colour sitting comfortably alongside the sturdy original masonry in the sun lounge and bar. From the kitchen to the dining room table, a menu of the very best local produce, including shellfish from the Minch is served in homemade style. En-suite rooms feature views of the ruined 13th century temple to the west or the moorland and distant hills to the east.
The islands of Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay, North Uist and Berneray are all inter-connected by causeways, making it easy to explore them all. Do take heed of the signs and watch out for otters crossing!
There are abundant local walks whether on wide-open empty beaches, along the machair or in the heather-clad hills. Just take a range of clothing and a few supplies, as facilities can be few and far between in this remote corner of Scotland, and the weather changes rapidly. Woodland is sparse here. In fact there are very few trees at all. Look out instead for the furrows and little heaps of peat, still cut by hand for winter warmth.
You’ll see ruined and restored cottages and blackhouses across the islands; evidence of a larger population before the Highland Clearances and emigration in the nineteenth century. Take a drive around the northern loop on North Uist, and you will come across the Georgian folly of Scolpaig Tower, plus one of the smartest and most photogenic of blackhouses, huddling under its thatched roof, against a backdrop of shimmering sand.
Birdwatchers will not want to miss the RSPB Balranald Nature Reserve on the West coast of North Uist. It is home to thousands of coastal waders and divers, an ideal place to hear the distinctive call of the elusive corncrake as well as being lovely place for a stroll.
Your last destination on the Outer Hebrides is found near the main island village of Tarbert on Harris.
Your Accommodation on Harris
This modern four star guest house exudes a warm, traditional Hebridean welcome and offers a quiet retreat from which to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding area where reed-edged lochans and undulating hills drift into the distance. Yet it’s just a few minutes’ drive or a 20 minute walk into the main settlement of Tarbert.
With its magnificent scenery and spectacular beaches, Harris offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife lovers. And don’t miss Rodel’s exquisite 15th century church of St Clement’s, with its wonderful medieval tombs and wood carvings. The prehistoric sites of Lewis, including Callanish standing stones, are perfectly feasible for a day trip.
Today you will leave the Outer Hebrides by way of the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. Or, if you prefer, you can return home via Skye. In either case we can arrange for a stop-off for you.
The Outer Hebrides, including Barra, North Uist and Harris, from where you can explore Lewis. The holiday includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist – Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris – Skye). This holiday can also be arranged in reverse.
£725 per person in April & October and £795 per person for May to September.
Prices are based on two people sharing a room for six nights on a bed & breakfast basis. This includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist – Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris – Skye) for a car and two adult passengers.
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.
You are requesting availability for
This holiday can be arranged from early April to the middle of 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.
Every place Robert recommended was well worth seeing. We have been raving about our holiday, before and after.Karen & Duncan, Argyll, Scotland
Magnificent scenery, splendid beaches, the friendliness of the people…you have the perfect formula.Gerald, Ayr, UK
Each of the islands offered something special and we enjoyed the different geography, scenery and culture of each.Joyce & Peter, Nottingham, UK
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