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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Outer Hebrides Hopscotch

The perfect introduction to these magical islands, exploring from Barra to the Uists, then Lewis & Harris.

*As featured in The Telegraph Travel in June 2016 – Free spirit: island hopping in the Outer Hebrides*

Scattered in a 130-mile arc off the north-west coast of Scotland, the Outer Hebrides invariably seduce newcomers with their intoxicating blend of wild natural beauty, abundant wildlife, sparkling sandy beaches and stunning rocky landscapes.  You’ll be entranced by dramatically different sights on this island-hopping adventure – everything from unforgettable sunsets to mysterious stone circles, perhaps even an otter scampering across the road.

This holiday is described as self-drive with your own car. Alternatively, we can arrange a fly-drive Outer Hebrides holiday for you or why not choose to explore car-free?

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Apr - Oct. Makes a great autumn trip.

Why not...

add on a day or two in the spectacular Isle of Skye?

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Day One – To the Isle of Barra

Your first Hebridean destination is the Isle of Barra in the south; your ferry departs from the port of Oban on the west coast.  Look out for whales & dolphins as you cross the Sea of the Hebrides. A short drive takes you to your first small hotel.

Your Hotel on Barra

Originally built as a church and mission house in the mid-nineteenth century, your whitewashed hotel enjoys a fine location overlooking the bay, with easy access to both the ferry port and Barra’s unique beachfront airstrip at Cockle Strand.  In its previous incarnation as a guest house, it played host to several cast members of the classic 1948 film Whisky Galore, before upgrading to hotel status in 1974, whereupon Northbay could boast its first licensed premises since the closure of the old inn decades earlier.

The hotel  has five comfortable en-suite bedrooms furnished in contemporary style, some with DVD.  The cheerful public bar whose walls are ‘over 3 foot thick’ is a pleasant place to sit and observe the fishing activity across the bay at Ardveenish pier or to while away an evening listening to the friendly locals share their colourful tales of island life.  Meals are served in the bar, or you can opt for the quieter dining room, whose menu features tempting island produce with an emphasis on locally landed fresh fish and shellfish.

What to see and do on Barra

Take a walk along the sparkling white sands of Cockle Strand and spot a plane landing at low tide – an unforgettable sight.  Drive or cycle up to Eoligarry and feast your eyes on the springtime profusion of primroses as you gaze across the sound to Fuday, Eriskay and South Uist in the distance.  Or head south to Castlebay, the island capital, and visit Kisimul Castle, restored ancestral home of the clan MacNeil.  Stop off at the highly informative Heritage Centre, where you can enjoy coffee and refreshments before perhaps taking a picnic across the causeway to Vatersay, with its glorious twin beaches.

Day Three – To North Uist

Leaving the little island of Barra via the ferry to Eriskay, you will then travel along the spectacular waterside roads of Uist to your next destination in the north.

Your Hotel on North Uist

This striking modern hotel with its stylish contemporary interiors offers boutique-style ambience unrivalled anywhere else in the Hebrides.  Seven of its eight designer bedrooms offer wonderful views of Lochmaddy Bay and a soothing environment characterised by warm, earthy hues, subtle lighting effects and quality modern furnishings. The hotel is set amid the hills and machair that surround Lochmaddy and provide inspiration for the restaurant kitchen in the form of heather-fed lamb, deer, game and organic vegetables, whilst the harbour, freshwater lochs and surrounding coastal waters are abundant sources of delicious scallops, mussels, lobsters, crab, salmon and wild brown trout. The main restaurant menu imaginatively reflects these culinary riches, whilst the comfortable lounge bar focuses on more informal, hearty home-cooking.

What to see and do on the Uists

North Uist offers unlimited access to the interconnected isles of Benbecula, Grimsay, South Uist and Eriskay, all of which are ideal for walking, kayaking, cruising and wildlife-watching.  Birdwatchers will not want to miss the RSPB Balranald nature reserve on the west coast  – home to thousands of coastal waders and divers.  Meanwhile, Lochmaddy itself boasts several unusual attractions including a camera obscura and the impressive Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre and museum.

Day Five – To Harris

Your last destination on the Outer Hebrides is found near the main island village of Tarbert on Harris.

Your Hotel on Harris

This modern 4 star guest house exudes a warm, traditional Hebridean  welcome and offers a quiet retreat from which to appreciate the beauty  of the surrounding area.  Overlooking a peaceful loch, you’ll feel a  million miles from anywhere – although in reality you are just a few  minutes drive or a 20 minute walk from Tarbert.  The splendid breakfast,  prepared from locally sourced produce, will set you up for the day.   All of the comfortable rooms and the residents lounge enjoy impressive  watery views from this aptly named house meaning ‘Music of the Sea’.

What to see and do on Harris & Lewis

With its magnificent scenery and spectacular beaches, Harris offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife-lovers. And don’t miss Rodel’s exquisite 15th century church of St Clement’s, with its wonderful medieval tombs and wood carvings. The prehistoric sites of Lewis, including Callanish standing stones, are perfectly feasible for a day trip.

Day Seven – Return Home

Today you will leave the Outer Hebrides by way of the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. Or,  if you prefer, you can return home via Skye. In either case we can arrange for a stop-off for you.


Map Outer Hebrides Hopscotch

The Outer Hebrides, including Barra, North Uist and Harris, from where you can explore Lewis. The holiday includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist – Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris – Skye). This holiday can also be arranged in reverse.


£675 per person in October, £695 per person for April and £725 per person for May to September.

Prices are based on two people sharing a room for six nights on a bed & breakfast basis. This includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist – Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris – Skye) for a car and two adult passengers.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

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All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.


Check availability for Outer Hebrides Hopscotch

This holiday can be arranged from early April to the middle of October.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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