Are you looking for new or exciting things to fill up your weekends? The Outer Hebrides is packed with stunning scenery, unique wildlife, ancient stone circle mysteries, golden beaches and family adventures.
These suggestions are not just for visitors - if you're lucky enough to call this region home, then these ideas are for you too!
Uist golden sands
Explore immense sparkling white beaches surrounded by clear turquoise waters that look as spectacular as in the Caribbean on the isles of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. Stretch your legs on Garrynamonie Beach on South Uist with miles of empty golden sands, or take an evening stroll at Clachan Sands on North Uist to witness spectacular Hebridean sunsets. With 2,500 km of Hebridean coastline, there are many more white sandy beaches to explore on the islands!
Where will you go?
- Explore the hidden gems of Vatersay. There are many secret sandy coves and beaches to explore around the coast to Eilean Caragraich and Uineasan.
- Find the space to reflect on the peaceful Northton beaches on South Harris and explore the ruins of a beautiful medieval chapel by the shore.
- Coilleag a'Phrionnsa on Eriskay is where Bonnie Prince Charlie first set foot on Scottish soil and never disappoints!
- Listen to the corncrakes on the dunes by the machair on the Isle of Barra.
Take a walk along the coast of this beautiful island connected to Lewis by a bridge. Enjoy strolling along the sparkling white shell sands of Bosta Beach, which has links with the Iron Age, the Vikings and the Highland Clearances. Don't miss the fascinating Bosta Iron Age House which is located on the dunes of Bosta Beach.
Where will you explore?
- Take time to explore the rest of the island along the beautiful Great Bernera Trail.
- Watch out for many hidden gems, including the Bernera Riot Cairn, the Norse Mill at Breaclete and a unique tide bell that turns the ever-changing tide into music.
- Nearby on West Lewis, you can also explore the Iron Age Dun Carloway Broch.
Find out more about Great Bernera.
You'll find plenty of unspoiled, quiet spots amongst the hills of the Hebrides. On North Harris, tackle the heights of the highest and most famous peak, Clisham, or hike the nearby hill of Uisgnaval Mòr. For an easier walk, you can explore the remote coast and dramatic cliffs from Huisinish reaching a peaceful sandy beach at Crabhadail. Or take a walk from St Clement's Church to Renish Point on South Harris,. It's a great place to spot marine mammals, otters and seabirds.
Where will you walk?
- Overlooking Luskentyre sands, the small hill of Beinn Losgaintir offers superb views all the way to St Kilda
- Bag Heaval on Barra for tremendous views all the way down to Mingulay and beyond.
- The highest point on Benbecula, Rueval, provides a 360 degree view of the Hebrides.
- Climb the Uig hills of Mealisval or Griomabhal on West Lewis for a sunset to die for.
Explore the Hebridean Hills.
RSPB Balranald, North Uist
It's a wildlife-rich grassland haven. Enough said right? RSPB Balranald is the perfect place to appreciate nature, contemplate quiet thoughts and watch for fascinating wildlife. This RSPB reserve sits on North Uist and has sweeping sandy beaches, a rocky foreshore, wild marshes and sculpted sand dunes.
Did you know?
- You can learn about traditional crofting agriculture here on this Hebridean reserve.
- The 5-star bird species to spot here are the barnacle goose, corn bunting, corncrake, lapwing and turnstone.
- In spring, listen out for the corn bunting's song, which sounds like jangling keys!
*Please note some of the reserve facilities are still closed, but you can explore the reserve in line with Covid-19 guidelines.
Plan a day out at RSPB Balranald.
The Hebridean Way
The Hebridean Way is the ride of a lifetime, and now is the perfect time to tackle it! Get your fitness back on this 185-mile ride which offers you the chance to pedal over your home islands in spectacular scenery. Travel south to north and you should have the wind at your back, starting your adventure at Vatersay and finishing at the Butt of Lewis.
Where will you cycle?
- The Hebridean Way passes through some of the most spectacular landscape in the UK
- You can also walk the Hebridean Way and experience shell beaches, rugged hills and wild moor.
- The route was launched in 2016 by the cyclist Mark Beaumont, who completed it in just 24 hours! Watch the video to see his incredible feat.
- Hebridean Way Pit Stops will help you rest, refuel, restock and repair along the way.
Explore The Hebridean Way.
The crystal-clear Atlantic waters of the Outer Hebrides offer endless sea adventures to connect to nature. Rejuvenate your mind and body with a wild open-water swim off the sandy beaches of Hushinish. Chase the waves surfing on Cliff Beach on Lewis, or try sea kayaking on the turquoise waters around medieval Kisimul Castle on Barra. You can also experience the wonders beneath the waves along the North Harris Snorkel Trail.
Where will you explore?
- With some fantastic northern swells, the Outer Hebrides offers some of the best surfing conditions in Europe.
- The Hebridean Whale Trail offers great chances to spot seals, otters, whales, dolphins, basking sharks and other wondrous creatures.
- You can marvel at spectacular reefs and pinnacles as you dive off the Butt of Lewis
Have a sea adventure.
Golf doesn't get more scenic and affordable than in the Outer Hebrides. A round of golf here can easily rival teeing off anywhere else in the world. There are five golf courses on the islands, each with its own distinctive charm. The most famous is the18-hole Old Tom Morris golf course at Askernish which stretches out over the machair of South Uist.
Where will you golf?
- Try the beautiful small greens of Benbecula Golf Course or the Harris Course with its spectacular views.
- On Barra Golf Course, players must be prepared to share the fairways with the local sheep and cattle.
- Enjoy the rolling hills and lush green fairways of Stornoway.
Birds of Prey Trail
This trail runs 150 miles from the island of Barra in the south to the northern tip of Lewis. You can choose to travel by car, bike or a mixture of public transport and on foot. On your travels, you'll be looking for some of Scotland's most iconic predators in vast but beautiful open spaces.
Did you know?
- The Outer Hebrides supports the highest density of golden eagles in Europe.
- There are interpretation boards located at the 13 locations and a handy map to plan your journey in advance.
- The best places to spot them include spectacular glacial glens in the remote North Harris hills, rugged coastlines, freshwater lochs and croft land.
Follow the Birds of Prey Trail.
With so many places to visit across Scotland, will you head to one of your favourites or try somewhere new? Share your ideas and fascinating facts on the Outer Hebrides in our iKnow Community or on social media.
Plan your trip to the Outer Hebrides now.