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SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Experience the ultimate escape to tranquillity, nature in its rawest forms and a truly enchanting history and culture – the Scottish Islands make for a unique holiday experience. Pure, clean air, complete peace and tranquillity, remote and untamed landscapes and thriving natural wildlife are all to be discovered on your escape to the Scottish Islands.

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DESTINATION GUIDE TO THE SCOTTISH ISLANDS

guidemapPure, clean air, complete peace and tranquillity, remote and untamed landscapes and thriving natural wildlife are all to be discovered on your escape to the Scottish Islands.

Scattered primarily off the west coast and far north of Scotland's mainland, there are nearly 800 Scottish Islands, 130 of which are currently inhabited. From Shetland, almost 100 miles from the mainland, and the Orkney Islands in the north, the Scottish Islands also include the Inner and Outer Hebrides (or Western Isles) in the West, from the renowned isles of Lewis, Harris, Skye and Mull to the lesser known Islay, Colonsay, Uists and Benbecula.

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PLACES TO EXPLORE

  • Dunvegan Castle on Skye
  • Torosay Castle on Mull
  • Callanish Standing Stones
  • UNESCO world heritage site at Skara Bay

The Western Isles were named Havbredey by the Vikings, meaning literally, "Islands at the edge of the Earth". It's a fitting description for these wild and untamed landscapes whose remote geographical location leaves them sparsely populated and largely untouched by large-scale modern development. The vistas are glorious; single-track roads wind across wild and windswept moorlands, alongside glassy lochs and between towering mountains where roaming wild ponies, highland cows and horned sheep roam the desolate hillsides. The coastlines alternate between deserted, sweeping, golden beaches and dramatic cliff faces and craggy rock formations. Rare sea birds cluster the cliff-tops and off the coastlines seals, whales and dolphins can be spotted cruising lazily in the chilly waters. The fresh, clean air and rare tranquillity of the islands make them an ideal retreat from the hectic pace of everyday life and is sure to reinvigorate and refresh.

Destination guide to Scotland - Skara Brae

Skara Brae, Sandwick, Orkney

But when unwinding in the great outdoors becomes all too much, you can still soak up some culture and history. The closer islands provide Scotland with some of her more distinct single malts, such as Talisker, and are scattered with historic castles and baronial manors such as Dunvegan Castle on Skye and Torosay Castle on Mull. The more far-flung isles see ancient settlements and neolithic stone-circles punctuate the barren hillsides some of which predate the pyramids and Stonehenge; Not to be missed are the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis and UNESCO world heritage site at Skara Bay on Orkney.

The modern residents of the islands live mainly in small crofting and fishing communities of quaint squat cottages and bungalows. The population here speak with distinct accents, similar to Scandinavian in the north from the historic Viking influences, and a sing-song celtic in the Western Isles. The people are welcoming and the little towns provide a treasure trove of inns, family hotels and guest houses in which to stay.

Experience the ultimate escape to tranquillity, nature in its rawest forms and a truly enchanting history and culture – the Scottish Islands make for a unique holiday experience.

MORE GUIDES

arrowOur guides to the places and regions of Scotland.

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Scotland
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Enchanting Scotland, a vast natural wilderness and a unique heritage waiting to be discovered. Whether you visit Scotland for the historic city-life, to enjoy her glorious Highland panoramas or simply to soak-up an utterly unique culture and heritage, your experience will be truly unforgettable.

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Portree
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A charming harbour town set against the breathtaking back drop of the Cuillin Mountains, Portree is the main town of the Isle of Skye and offers the perfect base from which to explore this enchanting island. Offering a quaint slice of Scottish island-life and an ideal hub for exploring, Portree is a natural destination for anyone visiting the unmissable Isle of Skye.

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Scottish Borders
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Offering subtle beauty and an intriguing history, spending time in the south of Scotland and her lowlands makes for a rewarding Scottish experience. Once host to endless shifting borderland battles between the English and the Scots, the Scottish Lowlands are intrinsically connected to historic Scottish figures including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots.

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Scottish Highlands
destination guide

Captivating scenery, spell-binding wildlife, an abundance of national icons and rich national history make the Highlands an integral part of your Scotland experience. The wild, untouched countryside offers invigoratingly fresh air and an unrivalled tranquillity ideal for those seeking a peaceful retreat.

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