A relaxing & romantic holiday in the Outer Hebrides without a car

While some of our newer blog readers will perhaps be surprised by the phrase “without a car” in the title (that’s our niche area), those who read our blog know fully well that the surprising phrase is “relaxing”. All our trips around the world are spent in a relentless pursuit of experiencing multiple cultures but this long weekend on one of Scotland’s most remote and breathtaking of islands struck the ideal balance between sightseeing and relaxation. This post will contain a number of tips and recommendations for non-drivers to enjoy a fulfilling break in Costa del Hebrides.

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Spellbinding views entering Seilebost beach

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The Isle of Harris Gin (and its unique bottling) are some of the best in the world

Top tip: The W10 spine route from Stornoway on Lewis to Leverburgh on Harris via Tarbert and the West Coast beaches is the critical bus route for all public transport travellers. No buses run on Sunday so its best to plan ahead for that.

Bonus top tip: Get a fully loaded EE or Vodafone SIM if you plan to stay in Seilebost or Luskntyre as no other network works in the area ATM. Also, bring cash just in case.

Staycation and Relaxation

Where we stayed was a big consideration to have a staycation, especially on a island where there very few buses (< 10 a day) run per route. As mentioned in our previous post, we had booked a highly rated B&B called Beul Na Mara in Seilebost whose views and full Scottish breakfast are 100% magic. The low and high tides timings naturally provided us dynamic views no matter the time of day.

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View from the conservatory

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Full Scottish breakfast including some high quality Stornoway Black Pudding.

The breakfast was quite filling and that is important because the nearest restaurant (Talla Na Mara) was 2.5 miles away from the B&B ruling out walking to a chippy for a meal. For Sunday, we went on a long and leisurely walk across Seilebost beach which dazzled us with its brilliant colours. Due to the time of day and the tide, the sand bar stretched almost all the way to Luskentyre beach which was quite a sight.

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Crystal clear turquoise waters reminiscent of the Mediterranean

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The Hebridean version of the Game of Thrones Wall in the far North

Sightseeing

We have covered most of this aspect of our trip in our “A lovely summer daytrip around Harris” post where Kathleen of Harris Scenic Tours gave us one of the best daytrips around the island. On request, she also included two long(ish) stops for us to get a real close look at Harris Tweed (covered in this post). The tour is very highly recommended and in combination with staying at at a beachside B&B gave us an extremely fulfilling travel experience.

Tip: The non-beach parts of Harris, especially the Bays road, are a beautiful part of the island. Worth driving on the East Coast on a good weather day.

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Hushinish beach is vastly underrated and one of the best in Britain – we had it to ourselves

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Meeting the locals while on tour

Some time in front of the camera

We did spend a a day and a half doing a special project planned for a few months with a UK-based photographer duo (who were amazing and very professional) that involved us NOT being behind a camera. We got to visit a few more places in the Outer Hebrides as part of this project and we can’t wait to see the final product. A sneak peek below.

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Two of the multiple Callanish standing stone sites were part of our special shoot

Food & Drink

Croft 36, NorthtonAn absolute gem of an honesty shop on Harris and a must-visit. We got a quiche, a curry, some bread and a muffin to keep us stocked up for no-bus Sunday. The owners also warm up food for you in case you do not have access to a kitchen.

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Croft 36 is as sustainable as can be – all items cooked are made from ingredients caught, hunted or foraged by the owners

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Take what you fancy, pay the amount you owe based on the price board into the money box and take any change you’re due – the definition of an honesty shop

The Anchorage restaurant, LeverburghOur best sit-down meal in Harris during our daytrip feat. on-point Sticky Toffee Pudding and one of our two big plates of local langoustines.

The Lido, StornowayVery close to the Stornoway ferry terminal, they had an amazing lamb burger and another plate of langoustines.

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Hyper-fresh Hebridean langoustines with salad

Isle of Harris Distillery, Tarbert: As mentioned earlier, definitely one of the best gins in the world along with Aviation Gin from the US. Plus they also recently did a dream Isle of Harris crossover.

Edge of the world pub, Stornoway (Hebridean Brewing): A wonderful pub near the Stornoway Ferry Terminal pulling draft beer brewed on site. There’s a fair amount of range on offer and we took a growler to our B&B and returned it on our way back.

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A charming old school pub with a great range of beers on draft

Local businesses we loved

Number 5 Hostel, Drinishader: The best hostel in Scotland, has Harris Tweed blankets.

Beul Na Mara, Seilebost: We owe a big thank you to Catherine Morrison who helped make our stay perfect.

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Our base for a wonderful long weekend

Essence of Harris, Tarbert: The store specializes in candles, reed diffusers and room sprays and has a collection of exceptional fragrances named after Isle of Harris landmarks. We got a Seilebost room spray and a Luskentyre reed diffuser and both are great reminders of our time in Harris.

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Horgabost bike hire : Well-maintained bikes for £15 a day with a helmet.

Taobh Tuath Tweeds sells woven Harris Tweed by the metre and the Clo-Mor store has an extensive collection of Tweed garments and accessories.

Siar Beauty, Nisabost: Elaine Macaulay of Siar Beauty did an excellent job on Yoda’s hair for our photo shoot. Inspite of being outdoors all day, her styling remained intact till the end of the day and she was very professional while taking great care of curling and styling Yoda’s hairdo. Plus, she did it as a housecall. Very highly recommended.

Getting In and Around

Getting In: We flew Logan Air from Glasgow to Stornoway making the journey to the Outer Hebrides only last over an hour (which takes a good part of a day driving or by public transport). The Harris Tweed headrests and Tunnocks caramael wafers with tea made taking Logan Air a very Scottish experience.

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Twin jet propellor jets, proper old school

Getting around: We took the Hebridean transport run W10 from Stornoway to Seilebost with a stop at Tarbert to get to our B&B. The last W10 south and north bound also are scheduled to be able to pick up dinner from Croft 36 and make it back up in time. Tarbert is the main transport hub on the island and you can take the W13 towards Golden Road and Bays Road as well as the W12 to Hushinish to do some bus-based sightseeing. All timetables (valid till 21st Oct 2018).

Tip: A day return ticket is cheaper than two singles

Stevie’s Taxis and Harris Scenic Tours both run local taxis. Costs about 20 quid to get to Seilebost from Tarbert. Carry cash when flying to the islands.

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10 thoughts on “A relaxing & romantic holiday in the Outer Hebrides without a car

  1. Amanda says:

    This looks incredible! I’ve recently been thinking about doing a trip like this. If you don’t mind me asking, what would you recommend as a budget for trip similar to yours?

    Liked by 1 person

    • yodandalek says:

      Hey Amanda, depends on the mode of transport to get to the island mainly. Our B&B was about £100 a night for the two of us with breakfast, the Harris Scenic Tours daytrips range from £30-£50 pp and bus fares are also pretty cheap. We flew in from the Midlands and fares were about £100 per person return. If you plan to drive say from Skye, you’ll need to prebook your car for the summer months onto the CalMac ferry. Our post titled “Best of Scotland in 1 week” has links and timetables for all of Scotland’s ferries and public transport. Hope this helps, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world bar none.

      Like

    • yodandalek says:

      There’s a bit of pride in encouraging Scots (and a few Brits) to see more of Scotland, many take their country’s beauty & culture for granted. I would strongly recommend staying at Hushinish beach and walking on back to the “secret beach” facing the Isle of Scarp.

      On a separate note, it almost seems like we switched places. Love reading your Vancouver posts which remind us so much about our years in the PNW (esp Vancouver Pride). Please do continue to blog as frequently as you can, love to read your experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad says:

        Ah thank you so much!! That means a lot. 🙂 I have about a million drafts at the moment so I’m slowly working on them, lol. And as someone who grew up in Scotland, I totally agree!! I love Scotland and so many of my friends don’t even realise what we have.

        Liked by 1 person

    • yodandalek says:

      We could not agree more. Both Orkney and the Outer Hebrides are some of the most remote Scottish islands but their unspoilt beauty is worth beholding.

      Thank you for your kind comment. We’ll be happy to help plan any future Scotland trip, we have a lot of info on our blog on that subject.

      Liked by 1 person

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