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Hebrides IslandsFast Facts
- Location: Off the west coast of Scotland
- Attraction type: Scottish Islands
- Significance: Nature, Fishing, Wildlife, Heritage and History
- Best Time to visit: Can be visited throughout the year. However, May through September is probably the best.
- How to Reach: You can take flights to Stornoway from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. There are daily flights from Glasgow to the isles of Barr and Benbecula as well. If you prefer to travel by sea, look for ferries that run between Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis, Tarbert in Harris Island, Uig in the Isle of Skye and Lochmaddy in the North Uist Island. There are bus services between most prominent Scottish towns that correspond with the ferry timings. You can travel by cars as well. If you want a taste of the great Highland scenery, take a train to Inverness, Mallaig or Kyle and then take a ferry to reach the Outer Islands.
- Nearest International Airport: Stornoway Airport. It is well connected to the international airport at Glasgow.
It is one place where you will find yourself face to face with nature in all its pristine purity. Not a soul to disturb your peace, with only ancient enigmatic Neolithic construction looming against the horizon. Although far flung from the Scottish shoreline, the Hebrides Islands have been continuously occupied since the Mesolithic period. This accounts for the eclectic culture of the land that is an amalgamation of Celtic, English and Norse culture.
The picturesque Hebrides Islands are great places to enjoy a quiet holiday in the lap of unspoiled nature. You can also engage in a number of activities like fishing, hiking and visiting the beautiful historical sites. The Hebrides have been known for its rich artistic heritage, including music and handicrafts. Do not forget to experience some of the authentic Gaelic music in one of the events that are perpetually held in the islands.
Outer Hebrides Attractions
Geographically, the Hebrides Islands are divided into the Inner and the Outer Hebrides. The most popular islands of the Outer Hebrides include Lewis, Harris, Benbecula, South Uist and Berra. The Outer Islands are known for its excellent wildlife. It is a protected habitat and is a great place to watch some of the most fascinating species of the deep, including basking sharks, whales, otters and dolphins. Some of the terrestrial avian species include golden eagle and corn crake. St. Kilda, in the Outer Hebrides, is in particular a very popular tourist destination. The tranquil Barra Islands is also one of the most popular destinations in the Outer Hebrides.
If the Outer Hebrides is rich in wildlife and natural beauty, the Inner Hebrides is known for its great historical heritage. Some of the islands forming the Inner Hebrides include Jura, Mull, Skye, Staffa, Islay and the Small Islands. There were Mesolithic settlements over here about 8500 — 82500 BC. Thereafter, a large number of groups inhabited the island, most significantly the Gaelic settlement of Dal Riata, the Columbians and the Norse. Later on, it fell under the control of the Scottish and the English royalty. However, the uniqueness of the island was never lost. Presently, we find influences of all these cultures manifest themselves in the unique hybrid culture of the islands.
Isle of Skye of the Western Islands is the most visited island of the entire group. It has great scenic beauty like all islands of the archipelago, and has a great wine producing industry as well. It is a sure stop for most tourists to the islands.
Art and Music in Hebrides Islands
The Hebrides Islands has a strong heritage of music. The veritable storehouse of ancient Gaelic songs and ballads, Hebrides Islands has produced a number of folk singers and musicians of note. Even now, a tour to Hebrides Islands is considered to be incomplete without a musical experience of some kind.
Accommodation in Hebrides Island
Almost all major islands of the Hebrides archipelago have a large number of accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels and guest houses to the more budget friendly Bed and Breakfast and hostel options. Cala Hotels and Caberfeidh Hotel are the major hotels in Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis. The Royal Hotel and the Seaforth Hotel are also popular accommodation opportunities. The Isle of Barra Hostel is a popular budget accommodation in this Outer Hebrides Island. Thorlee Guest House and the Holm View Guest House are located in the Western Isles and the Isle of Lewis.