Stornoway Travel Guide

  • Stornoway
    by DAO
  • Stornoway
    by DAO
  • Stornoway
    by DAO

Stornoway Things to Do

  • Lewis War Memorial

    Built in the early 1920s, the big tower building on a hill overlooking Stornoway is a war memorial to the Lewismen who died in the first world war.

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  • Harris Tweed Shop

    This feusty little shop has tons of various patterns of tweed. It's also got a loom so you can see how it's made. The fella that works there is very friendly and helpful.

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  • Seal spotting

    Although Stornoway isn't the best place in Scotland to see seals, they can occasionally be found in the inner harbour. The best time to go is Thursday and Saturday afternoons as the fishing boats come it.If you're really interested in seeing seals, head to Mallaig (on the mainland) where there are tonns looking for fish in the harbour.

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  • Iron age broch at Dun Carloway

    Outside Stornoway are a couple of spectacular monuments of ancient settlements that dotted these island some 4000-5000 years ago. I'm guessing that the gulf stream allowed warmer conditions to prevail at the time.This fort (broch) is well preserved, and is walking distance from the equally interesting stone circle at Callanish. The double rock wall...

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  • Stone circle under a wide sky

    One of the most spectacularly sited stone circle in the UK, these slender standing stones are placed amidst a beautiful, rugged landscape of rolling grassy hills, crinkly inlets of the sea, and the wide open sky above.It is speculated that these installations were a sort of clock of the seasons, to assist with timing of crop plantings and the like,...

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  • ancient Broch

    Visit the Carloway Broch. This is a Pictish tower more than 2,000 years old and is one of the best preserved in Scotland.

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Stornoway Hotels

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Stornoway Restaurants

  • NASTY

    Its not just the hair in my food. My food was just nasty. I have had good and wonderful Thai food, including in Thailand. This place sucks and I cannot believe they have been open more than 10 years. My starter was some deep fried skewers that were ok. My sizzling main meal - complete with hair from one of the staff members who donated it - was...

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  • A fine meal every evening

    Named after the first three letters of the local post code, and one of the two dining venues of the Royal Hotel. It's a great place to have dinner or just sit about and relax with a drink or several. The staff are always friendly and helpful. The clientelle is a mixed bag of locals (old and young) and visitors, the latter generally those who stay...

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  • Trendy-ish

    HS-1 is a fairly trendy bar and restaurant on the main road into Stornaway town centre. It's part of the Royal Hotel and looks like a recent addition to town. I ended up eating here both days on Lewis because on the Sunday this was the only place that we knew would be open. Beware that the majority of restaurants on Harris and Lewis are closed on...

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  • Stornoway's Best 1 of 2

    A really fab restaurant featuring local produce whether you're on your tod or with a group of friends or business colleagues.It's quite a spacious diner in the centre of the pedestrianised area of Stornoway town centre Any local dish, best rounded off with a glass of Black Elysium Muscat dessert wine

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  • Stornoway's Best 2 of 2

    A fabulous local restaurant and part of a guesthouse. A fine selection of wine accompanies the meals. The food offerred is a mouth watering mix of local game, meat and seafood.They do an Early bird menu from 5.00pm to 6:30pm, and the A La Carte from 6:30pm. Both current menus can be found on their website.They tend to fill up so please ensure you...

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  • Wonderful salmon

    The hot smoked salmon starter was the best thing I have tasted in YEARS!!! A main of fish and chips was great too. My partner's steak pie was fab, all bubbling thick gravy and perfectly golden pastry. Staff are friendly, well decorated bar/dining room. Two starters, two mains and four soft dinks and we only paid £30!!! Recommend this place to...

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Stornoway Nightlife

  • One night a week

    If you're after a lively evening of entertainment in the local bars and are looking for a busy night, there's only one night - Saturday.Don't be fooled into thinking a Friday will be like everywhere else in the UK, it's not, it's actually very quiet.Saturday night is when all the local folk come out to play, although they do tend to drive round in...

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  • Party on

    Believe it or not, Stornoway has it's very own nightclub - the Heb.Sadly (particularly for my visit on a rainy Tuesday night) it's only open Fridays and Saturdays. I was particulary gutted as the "Fuh Kings" were due to be playing that weekend. What they, and indeed the club and clientele were like, I'll never know, something which I'll regret to...

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  • Local music 'scene'

    Lots of bored teenagers = lots of great musicians. You can't count the number of bands playing in the pubs/clubs. And I won't name any of them cause the names will have changed by the time you go! For a basic introduction head to McNeills on Thursday night for open mic night. Friday night sees local bands play 'underager' gigs (although anyone is...

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Stornoway Transportation

  • Hire Cars

    If you're planning on hiring a car on the Island, and expect to do a lot of driving down the smaller roads, and exploring the back roads, then opt for a manual gearbox.From experience on the island, an automatic will burn through your fuel a lot more, as the engine is constantly changing gears and wasting your precious fuel reserves.

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  • how to get here

    The most scenic way to get to Stornoway from the mainland is from the Uig ferry on Skye to Tarbert on Harris. There's usually connecting buses at both ends.If your coming from Glasgow, drive by Loch Lomond-Glencoe-Fort William-Glen Sheil-Lochalsh-Portree, then stay the night in Portree. Catch the ferry the next day to Tarbert. Alternatively drive...

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  • three ferry ports

    There are three ferry ports on Harris and Lewis.At Stornoway (Lewis) going to UllapoolAt Tarbet (Harris) going to Uig on the Isle of SkyeAt Leverburgh (the southern tip of Harris) going to North Uist and the Isle of Berenay.

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Stornoway Shopping

  • Beer and Wine

    The beer and wine selection is pretty much the same at the two big supermarkets in Stornoway, Tesco and The Cooperative.However, my recommendation is buy your beer at Tesco, as they have a much larger selection of Scottish Ales,and they're cheaper. For wine, the opposite apllies, a much better selection is at the Cooperative.

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  • no big shopping centres

    Harris is of course well known for its "harris Tweed" The local tourist office can give you the addresses of local weavers. harris tweed - some of the local weavers still use the indigenous plants to make the dyes they use. It is not cheap but you get the real thing! sorry I cannot give prices as it is a while ago I was there

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  • Stornoway Hotels

    12 Hotels in Stornoway

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Stornoway Local Customs

  • Beep Beep

    Don't be worried when you're walking round town when a car goes by and gives a toot from their horn. They're merely acknowledging a fellow Hebridean from Stornoway who's probably going the other way, and will similarly toot.

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  • two names = one island

    It may be confusing but Lewis and Harris - oart of the Outer hebrides or Western Isles are in fact one island. it is the greatest land mass of the Western Isles and the gaelic spoken differs in the two parts of the island. The administrative centre and largest town is Stornoway in the north and it is there you will have to do any shopping you need.

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  • closed Sundays

    The people of Harris and Lewis are deeply religious - so do remember that everything will be closed on Sundays. When we visited you could not get to the island or off the island on a Sunday. Also remember that dining out is VERY lmited on Sundays. We had the choice of the local Indian restaurant in Stornoway or nothing!

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Stornoway Warnings and Dangers

  • Fuel

    Make sure you've got twice as much fuel as you think you'll need for a trip round the Island!You may think you know the distance to your destination, but you're up and down the gears a lot in cars, and especially on the smaller roads in the South/Harris area, you'll use a lot more fuel than expected.

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  • Sunday

    The people here are very religious and observe the sabbath. Be sure you have purchased everything you will need until monday on saturday. All shops on the island are closed on sunday, which includes all food shops and petrol stations. Buses and ferries don't run on Sunday either. Also, expect queues on saturday evenings at petrol stations and...

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  • be careful of other traffic

    there are only little narrow roads and you can suddenly be surprised by others on the road - they do wander free.

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Stornoway What to Pack

  • Stuff you'll likely need...

    A backpack makes getting off and on the ferries easier if you're a foot passenger. In high tide the passenger ramp in Tarbert can be very steep. warm clothes and waterproofs (high winds make umbrellas nearly useless) Don't expect to be able to buy specific items in town. Once the pharmacy has run out... they've run out. It could be a few days...

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  • be prepared

    good strong walking shoes are needed if you are exploring the Isles plus waterproof and windproof clothing. We had marvellous weather in May but you are neve far from the sea and it can be windy cold and wet. there are shops in Stornoway where you can get all the things you need but it is at one end of the island and quite a drive from the other...

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Stornoway Off The Beaten Path

  • Nearby beaches

    Some of the best beaches in the world can be found on Lewis. This can be the best way to spend a Sunday when everything is closed. Try my favourites:Traigh Mhor (Tolsta) has good surfing and is 2km long. It's perfect for running on in low tide.Traigh Ghearadha (Tolsta) has interesting rock formations and tunnels at the south end.Bosadh (Great...

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  • a dream come true

    Visit the tiny island of Benbecula.Take the A867 across the 5 kilometre causeway from Lochmaddy, which is North Uist's main village to Benbecula. From this island Flora Mac Donald smuggled Bonnie Prince Charlie to Skye.For me it was a special trip. When a was a little girl of about 5 years old my parents were given a beautiful blanket made on...

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  • It is off the beaten track

    I guess the whole of the Outer Hebrides is off the beaten track for the most visitors to Scotland but it is a wonderful although sometimes bleak part of the world. It offers marvellous walking opportunities and wonderful empty beaches to laze on and beautiful views over the seas. it needs time to explore and can be easily combined with the other...

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Stornoway Favorites

  • Stornoway's Famous Sons

    I have had the pleasure of reading Kevin MacNeil's rather dark tale of the life of R Stornoway, a resident of the eponymous town who wants to escape, but cannot seem to the break the apron strings that island hold on him.I have read every word the great Scottish Science Fiction writer Ken MacLeod has written, from 'The Star Fraction', described as...

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  • This place rocks!!

    In Stornoway I observed a fish and chips shop. On the floor there was laying a bagpiper playing. Over him an accordion player was doing a mean tune. Around them a fiddle player was dancing. They called it a Celtic festival….What more can you ask for?Yaaaahuuu:-)The pub on the picture was packed well beond the limit the evening before!

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  • deserted beaches

    around the Outer hebrides there are some lovely beaches and no trouble finding a space to put your beach towel!

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Explore Deeper into Stornoway
Keep on walking!!!
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Time for a pub crawl...
Nightlife
local bar
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ferries
Transportation
stone circle
Things to Do
Black House
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go your own way
Transportation
fresh food and fresh air
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single stone
Things to Do
An oasis
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