Little gate leading to a Vatersay beach - it keeps the cattle out!
Kisimul Castle on Barra, the restored ancestral home of the Clan MacNeil
The Outer Hebrides have a rich and varied wildlife
Short Eared Owls are very common on North Uist
There are unusual traffic hazards on the Outer Hebrides
The pristine white sands at Luskentyre, Harris
Rodel's exquisite 15th century church of St Clement's with its wonderful medieval tombs and carvings
White-tailed eagles can be found on the Uists
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 landscapes and unique sights - everything from unforgettable sunsets to mysterious stone circles.
What's more, Lewis and Harris have recently been named as 2014's best islands in Europe by TripAdvisor. Read the full article on STV news.
Day One - To the 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 Hotel 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 - To North Uist
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 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 - To Harris
Your last destination on the Outer Hebrides is found near the main island village of Tarbert on Harris.
Your Hotel 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. The prehistoric sites of Lewis, including Callanish standing stones, are perfectly feasible for a day trip.
Day Seven - Return Home
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.
The holiday includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist - Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris - Skye)
This holiday can also be done in reverse.
£595 per person for April & October and £660 per person for May to September.
Prices are based on 2 people sharing a room for 6 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.
All our touring 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.
From early April to the middle of October.
The holiday, as set out in our description, works best starting from Oban on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
It is not possible to start this holiday on a Tuesday or Thursday.
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.
Please note all form fields are required unless otherwise stated optional.
This was an excellent trip, which exceeded our expectations. We really enjoyed every place we visited, loved the ferry crossings, very much appreciated the specificity of the organization. This was an exceptional experience. We have never booked this kind of holiday before, but we would not hesitate to book a similar trip with McKinlay Kidd again. Our agent Anna did a spectacular job of assisting us, answering all our questions, and helping us to make decisions about where to go, etc. The package was terrific. Maps very helpful. Ferry timetables, etc. very clear about check in times, etc. We loved every minute of this trip. It was well planned, well organized, accommodation very well selected. Robert's suggestions very helpful.
From beginning to end, our holiday was very well organised and of high quality. Everything went like clockwork and every place Robert recommended was well worth seeing. We have been raving about our holiday, during and after, to our family and friends. We only wish McKinlay Kidd would organise all of our holidays from now on (at home and abroad).
This was a holiday we had looked forward to and it was every bit as good as we expected. Everything went as planned and the comprehensive itinerary was extremely helpful.
We had a wonderful time. Everything went plan. The hotels were excellent with their staff very helpful and kind. To crown it all off, the the weather was excellent.
All the ferry crossings and accommodation worked really well, and it was great not to have to think about tickets etc. It was a great introduction to the Outer Hebrides and we had a wonderful time.
Everything was extremely well organized and we have no complaints. All the hotels were great.
We had a lovely holiday. Each Island we visited had breathtaking scenery. We appreciated the suggestions in the pack for outings and took advantage of these.
Your choice of accommodation, ferry schedules, and general driving times suited us very well.
Loved the personalised itinerary and additional information provided - used it every day.
Stunning scenery and smooth travel arrangements. It lived up to our expectations. Your recommended visits were well worth seeing.
Your recommendations were very helpful. I found details of my Great Great Granny from North Uist at the visitor centre on Harris.