Head to Leverburgh on Harris, an hour and a half south of Stornoway, where a 2-hour ferry crossing will take you to the southern islands of the Outer Hebrides. Before you board, stop off at Seallam! Visitor Centre in the nearby village of Northton – the interesting exhibits explore the natural and social history of the Hebrides, and the coffee room is an ideal spot for a mid-morning snack.
The ferry from Leverburgh leads to Berneray, a small, peaceful island that boasts some of the area’s most incredible landscapes. Head to one of its idyllic beaches to play on the white sands, spot otters and other wildlife, take a paddle or even a swim if you’re feeling brave enough! If you want to make the most of the stunning scenery with a picnic, you can pick up supplies at Ardmaree Stores, just 700 m from the ferry terminal.
North Uist is just a few minutes’ drive from Berneray and is connected to the island by a causeway. Head to the island’s north western coast and discover the Barpa Langass, a chambered cairn dating back to 3000 BC. Just a short walk away is the Pobull Fhinn Stone Circle, composed of 48 stones and thought to have been constructed around 2000 BC.
The Outer Hebrides are home to a rich variety of birds and animals, many of which can be seen at the Balranald RSPB Nature Reserve. A 3-mile nature trail leads through machair rich with wildflowers, and the visitor centre (open from April to August) offers assistance in identifying different species – look out for barnacle geese in spring, corncrakes in summer, lapwings in autumn and rare white-tailed eagles in winter.
North Uist’s main settlement is Lochmaddy, a small village overlooking the strait of the Little Minch. Try scuba diving, sea kayaking or rock climbing at the Uist Outdoor Centre, or catch a film screening or a Saturday art workshop for families at the award-winning Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre. A small selection of guest houses and hotels are available for dining and accommodation, such as Lochmaddy Hotel, which serves burgers, pies and local seafood in its Anglers Dining Room and Lounge Bar.
This is just a small selection of things to see and do in the Outer Hebrides – you’ll find many more attractions and places of historical interest on Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay and each of the islands mentioned here. Find information on events and festivals, accommodation, travel and more in our Outer Hebrides guide and make sure you and your family see the best of this fascinating region.