Arts and culture in the Outer Hebrides

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The Hebridean landscape is a never-ending source of inspiration for locally-based artists whose work can be viewed in town shops, galleries and studios through these islands.

Visit one of the Harris Tweed mills on Lewis to learn about the making of the world-renowned luxury textile. Protected by an act of parliament, the cloth can only be called Harris Tweed if it's handwoven and spun in the Outer Hebrides by the islanders using local wool. 

When shopping for Harris Tweed products look out for the stamped Orb Mark pressed onto every length of cloth - a guarantee of authentic Harris Tweed and a firm reassurance of its quality and craftsmanship.

If you're looking for inspiration, head to the many great arts venues across the Outer Hebrides, including Stornoway’s award-winning An Lanntair. Known also as ‘the Lantern’, the venue offers a busy events programme bringing the best in arts, music, cinema and entertainment.

To learn about the intriguing islands' life visit Taigh Chearsabhagh on North Uist. This excellent community museum and arts centre displays a variety of fascinating artefacts and lets you uncover the area's arts, culture and heritage.

Being the heartland of the Gaels and the Gaelic culture, many islanders speak Gaelic and the towns, villages and local landmarks retain their Gaelic names. For a chance to hear Gaelic singing as well as foot-stomping traditional music during your trip to the Outer Hebrides, check out the various arts and Gaelic music festivals and events.

Why not join in with the locals to celebrate their roots? Hebrideans are proud of their Gaelic culture and you're guaranteed to come across some celebrations somewhere across the islands, especially during the summer months.

Soak up the heritage at the Harris Arts Festival, listen to the long-held tradition of accordion and bagpipe playing at the Barra Live, or explore the annual calendar of Fèisean - local Gaelic festivals.

Embrace the culture of the Outer Hebrides and wonder at the local artistry.

  • The Vatersay Boys, a ceilidh band, performing on the Isle of Berneray
    The Vatersay Boys performing on the Isle of Berneray
  • The annual open art show at the An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
    An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • The Golden Road at Geocrab, Harris
    The Golden Road at Geocrab, Harris
Harris Tweed and Knitwear Shop, Tarbert

Textiles

Every day in the Outer Hebrides, local craftspeople are creating new bespoke pieces of work including Harris Tweed.

Dream State Circus at the Hebridean Celtic Festival

Arts and culture events

Take a look through an exciting range of arts and culture events in the Outer Hebrides and plan a day out with music and dance.

Skoon Art Cafe, Geocrab, Harris

Arts and culture attractions

Explore the creative side of the islands at arts and culture attractions in the Outer Hebrides.

A detail of a Gaelic/English stone sign welcoming visitors to Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

Gaelic

The Outer Hebrides is the heartland of Gaelic culture and the language is still spoken by many islanders today. You can take part in many events which feature the language and music.

Uno sguardo sul traghetto CalMac presso il molo Tarbert, South Harris

Literature

Several poets and writers have literary connections to the Outer Hebrides. Visit the towns and islands where these writers used to live and see the scenery that inspired them.