Scottish Island Hopping
There's a deliciously old-fashioned thrill to touring the Scottish islands - discovering the varying character and charm of each.
Scottish island hopping brings a sense of growing excitement as you lean over the stern, watching one isle shrink from view in your ferry’s wake, and wondering what undiscovered pleasures the next will hold as it gradually looms into shape on the horizon. It is little wonder that Visit Scotland are celebrating the ‘Year of Coast and Waters’ in 2020, where celebrations will no doubt put the country’s coastline and islands at centre stage.
Grappling with route planning and ferry timetables, however, is not for the fainthearted. That’s where McKinlay Kidd comes in. We not only know the Scottish islands inside out, but also the ferry and flight timetables, so we can work out the best combinations and timings to ensure you get the most out of your Scottish island adventure. We also hand-pick the accommodation, concentrating on smaller, usually family-run places, where you will really get an authentic flavour of local island life. Book your holiday with us and we’ll share a detailed set of recommendations of our favourite things to see and do throughout the Scottish islands – many of them well off-the-beaten track.
The Scottish Islands
Just let us know what you are seeking on your island adventure and we’ll point you in the right direction – browse through the many suggested Scottish itineraries on this website or ask us to prepare a tailor-made proposal for you.
- Discover the empty wide sandy beaches and wild landscapes of the Outer Hebrides, taste much sought-after Harris gin or experience the unique thrill of your small plane splashing down on the runway of cockle strand on Barra.
- Marvel at the soaring mountains and sense of history on the Isle of Skye or hop over to neighbouring Raasay with its fantastic new distillery.
- Seek out wonderful wildlife habitats, both on-shore and off-shore, of the Isle of Mull. Yes, you really can go whale-watching off Scotland’s West Coast!
- Find out why Arran is dubbed Scotland in miniature, boasting ancient history, dramatic mountains, plus whisky, beer and crafts.
- Slow down and enjoy the gentler, remote peace of our wee islands, such as the Atlantic Twins of Coll & Tiree. Or delight in the Southern Hebridean island atmosphere, complete with palm trees, delightful gardens and stunning beaches on Gigha and Colonsay
- Enjoy a dram or several on Islay, with its nine distilleries (though we keep losing count) and whisky galore.
- Venture north to the very different Scottish islands of Orkney and Shetland, with their history and culture very much Norse in origin. You’ll find some of the oldest signs of civilisation in Europe on Orkney at Knap of Howar and Skara Brae, while on Shetland the briny sea air is a constant reminder that you are never far from the ocean in this fascinating outpost. While often bracketed together, they are quite distinct island groups, well-worth exploring in detail. They also combine well in an island-hopping touring holiday, whether by ferry or by flight.
Browse the website for ideas of holidays featuring the many and varied Scottish islands then let us know which appeal most to your sense of adventure. We’ll then put together a proposal based on your specific requirements. Bear in mind that many of the islands are quite remote and undeveloped – there is not abundant accommodation at every turn. Early planning and booking is therefore strongly advised, especially if you are looking to travel in the peak season from May to September.
We look forward to helping design your tailor-made Scottish island hopping trip.
Seeing the contrasts between the islands. How unspoilt it was and the tranquility was a trip highlight. Lynda & Michael - Chippenham
A very good introduction to the Outer Hebrides. Enjoyed following parts of the Peter May trail having read the books! Eileen & Wilfred - Newcastle
Shetland is intriguing, stunning, and engaging in equal measures. The openness of the scenery matches that of the people. Kenneth & Elizabeth - Devon