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Review: Hebrides


Scotland, United Kingdom

Western Isles

  • By SilverTraveller hilaryrg

    6 reviews

  • September 2020
  • On your own

44 people found this review helpful

As some of my holiday arrangements were cancelled due to Covid-19 I decided to head off on my own and visit the Hebridean islands. As I live in London and was driving myself I planned the whole journey very carefully beforehand and booked reputable B&B places (which could ensure cleanliness) and ferries to the islands well in advance. This worked well in England, mainly with excellent Premier Inn arrangements (including free cancellation) and motorways to get me to places in a reasonable time, so I could rest too. This worked well in England, but less well in Scotland where the roads were not as fast and carried heavy traffic – a couple of times I had underestimated the driving times and was very tired by the time I reached my hotel. This did not apply in the islands. Calmac ferries, which serve the Western Isles had nice boats, were very efficient and strict on Covid-19 regulations. The roads on the islands were very empty (compared to London!) and driving was easy – even on single track roads where passing places were well-marked and visible from a good distance. The scenery was stunning and I often pulled over just to walk for a while and enjoy the views. I also visited Calanais on Lewis which was very interesting for anyone who likes prehistoric sites. The islands are rich in history. The weather was changeable, but mainly dampish rather than very wet. For recommendations, I would say plan carefully and pre-book accommodation and ferries; In Scotland don’t try to drive too far in one day or there won’t be time to enjoy the scenery; stop frequently and get out and walk for a while to get the best of the surroundings.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 5 Comment(s)

  • the4ts
    8 months ago
    Definitely recommend booking the ferry (if taking a car) and accommodation in advance too. The latter as early as possible. I keep meaning to try and go back to the Lewis & Harris as I only got to explore a very small part of them. I only got to see the main stones at Calanais and would love to go back and try and see one or two of the smaller sites. And visit Luskentyre when it was pouring with rain :-) I don't drive but found it quite easy to get around by bus, if you plan very carefully as they aren't that frequent!
  • ESW
    8 months ago
    Thank you for all the extra information. I spent 4 nights on Mull a few years ago and we had a day trip to iona. It wasn't long enough and I envy you spending two nights there. It must have been a special experience.

    10-15 years ago we had several self catering holidays on Lewis and Harris. I will always remember the first one - it rained nearly all the time and the peat just turned to liquid bog. It didn't stop us from going back though and on subsequent holidays the sun shone - even when we went back in November one year. The light is wonderful and the colours after the rain has cleared and the sun comes back out.
  • hilaryrg
    8 months ago
    In reply to the question, I caught the ferry from Oban to Mull, drove across Mull (about 1 hour) and picked up another ferry to Iona (no cars allowed - but a free car park on Mull); I spent 2 nights on Iona at the St Columba guesthouse - nice place but not cheap! Saw the Abbey etc then went walking there. I came back by the same ferries then drove on to Skye and had a night in Portree at the Ballintoy Guest House - best place on the whole trip; from Skye I got a ferry to Tarbet on Harris and drove through to Stornoway on Lewis where I spent 2 nights at the Castle Hotel - comfortable enough and reasonable prices; caught the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool - stayed one night at the Caledonian Hotel - near ferry but very dilapidated; then headed back south. I didn't visit the Black House - I'm a prehistoric fan so focussed on that, and the stunning scenery.
  • GBG
    8 months ago
    We spent 5 1/2 weeks in the Highlands and Islands and travelled the NC 500 but unfortunately did not have time to go to The Hebrides. They are on the to do list for a further visit. Thank you for the helpful hints.
  • ESW
    8 months ago
    UYou have whetterd my appetite , do please tell me more.... Apart from Lewis, which other islands did you visit and where did you stay? Did you get to Arnol Black House too?