Kisimul Castle on Barra, restored ancestral home of the clan MacNeil
The pristine white sands at Luskentyre, Harris
Visit Rodel's exquisite 15th century church of St Clement's, with its wonderful medieval tombs and carvings
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Lewis
The eerie standing stones at Callanish, Lewis
Skye's magnificent Cuillin Mountains
Return from Skye the traditional way - by ferry
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 ferry throughout, or as fly-drive from Glasgow, with one way car hire on the islands.
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 contemporary style, some with DVD. 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, which has proved a highly popular choice for our clients since it opened in 2006, offers stylish contemporary interiors and boutique-style ambience, unrivalled anywhere else in the Hebrides. Each of its eight designer bedrooms offers wonderful views of Lochmaddy Bay and offers a soothing environment characterised by warm, earthy hues, subtle lighting effects and quality modern furnishings. The hotel is set in attractive landscaped gardens and boasts a decked outdoor eating area and a fully-equipped Leisure Club complete with sauna, steam room and gym. The hills and machair lands around Lochmaddy 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 an abundant source 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 hotel in a peaceful location in the south of the island.
Your guesthouse 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, South Harris offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife-lovers. Take a sunset cruise in the Sound of Harris to spot seals, dolphins and basking sharks, and 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 hotel on the edge of Stornoway, the main town of these islands.
Your guesthouse on Lewis
Proudly displaying its 5 star rating this modern and friendly accommodation certainly deserves its new status. Guest comfort is paramount and attention to detail is evident from the fluffy towels to the power shower, and the comfortable beds to the restful décor which will have you feeling relaxed in no time. It is situated on the edge of Stornoway with magnificent views over the sea, toward the Scottish mainland, the Isle of Skye and the Shiant Islands. Breakfast here is a real treat, with all the produce locally sourced. Highlights include Hebridean smoked fish and the renowned Stornoway black pudding. The hotel does not serve evening meals, but there is wide choice of options in nearby Stornoway.
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. With its magnificent scenery, the Isle of Lewis also offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife-lovers.
Day Nine - Isle of Skye
Your next ferry takes you east across the sea to Skye, with your hotel a welcoming small hotel on the edge of Portree, the island capital.
Your hotel on Skye
Built over 200 years ago, and still in the hands of the same family, this hotel is peacefully set in its own wooded grounds, yet within a very short distance of the centre of Portree. It feels like a country house or shooting lodge yet has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The public rooms have family pictures, Persian rugs, log fires, stags' antlers and relics of the family's colonial service. There is a TV lounge, but no TVs in the bedrooms.
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. 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! 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
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.
£1015 per person for departures in March, April & October, £1100 for May to September.
All prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room, for 10 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.
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. Add £415 per person for this option, travelling south from Lewis to Barra, or £465 per person, travelling north from Barra to Lewis.
All our holidays include a map of Scotland with recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to see and visit depending on your personal interests and our expertise 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 £8 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.
Check availability for: Journey through the Western Isles
From late March to early October. The itinerary as described can start any day except Tuesdays or Thursdays
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us on 0844 873 6110 from the UK, or toll-free from USA & Canada 1 866 922 8538 and +44 844 873 6110 for all other countries.
We will respond to you within one working day. Please not that we do not offer online availability because all our holidays are planned and booked individually.
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So well planned. The whole holiday went like clockwork. We have always wanted to go out to some of the Scottish islands and this did not disappoint. Thank you McKinlay Kidd for arranging such a wonderful adventure.
The advice we were given in setting up the trip was very good and timings worked well. Ferry timings were appropriate.
Everything very well organised, as it was last time, and as we were therefore expecting. Maps were very helpful and unexpected.
Robert's comments were very helpful and we felt that the organisational arrangements were excellent and getting from place to place and catching ferries was effortless because of the information you provided. Exceeded our expectations.
We have just returned to Australia after visiting family and completing one of your marvelous tours. Everything was wonderful - food, accommodation, people etc. and lucky for us the weather. Thank you to everyone involved in our trip, we will certainly be recommending you.
Thank you for a fantastic holiday. We absolutely loved the Western Isles. they were so beautiful, quiet and relaxing. The hotels and guest houses were excellent. Your service was fantastic and made the holiday stress free!
Enjoyed all aspects of holiday. All hotels and guest house were excellent. Very good service and organisation. Would recommend it to anyone.
Extremely well organised. Accommodation excellent as usual. The hotels and B&B's you selected were quite special and very helpful.
Overall we really feel that McKinlay Kidd did a marvellous job. It was lovely to know that the ferries and hotels and restaurants had all come recommended and been booked in advance. You have enabled us to enjoy a truly memorable holiday to celebrate two special celebrations. The holiday was everything we would have wished for.
All of our holiday was great, as we expected with McKinlay Kidd on this, our third holiday with you.
We had a wonderful holiday which was largely due to your excellent organisation and some wonderful weather. Carol was extremely helpful. I am Scottish, living in England so some of the tour was a walk down memory lane for me.
I knew there would be a consistent standard of accommodation throughout because of your quality assurance. Our holiday pack was a very professional presentation and contained helpful information.