5 Tips for Visiting The Isle of Lewis

In our focus on the Outer Hebrides this month, we came across two lovely blog posts: A Holiday at Home on the Isle of Harris and 6 Reasons to Visit Europe’s Best Island in 2014.  As a self-catering holiday can give you the experience of life as a local, we try to highlight the things that locals love here on the EmbraceScotland blog – their favourite places to visit, the walks that soothe them and the sights that make their hearts sing.  We asked the author of these posts, Katie MacLeod, for her hidden gem tips – and for you, dear reader, she shared five.

St Moluag's Church Ness. Photo credit: Kathryn MacLeod

St Moluag’s Church Ness. Photo credit: Katie MacLeod

Bùth Lisa

When you’re looking for Bùth Lisa on the road through Habost in Ness, keep an eye out for the summer fair-style bunting hanging outside.  The artist’s studio and gift shop is run by two talented locals with close connections to both the village and the building, which has passed down through generations – previous incarnations include a candy shop and a butcher.  Bùth Lisa is the perfect place to pick up an authentic souvenir, home to art with a heart and a history.

Abhainn Dearg Distillery

At the Abhainn Dearg Distillery you can smell the yeast fermenting, see the barrels where the malt matures, and even enjoy a sip of the strong stuff itself.  The Hebrides’ first official whisky distillery, in Uig on the Isle of Lewis, is not to be missed.

Whisky barrels at Abhainn Dearg. Photo credit: Kathryn MacLeod

Whisky barrels at Abhainn Dearg. Photo credit: Katie MacLeod

40 North Foods

If you’re rushing from one West Side tourist spot to the next, you might just miss the road-side sign for 40 North Foods.  Based in the village of Bragar, this take-away business operates out of an old loom shed, and boasts culinary creations straight from the croft. The mantra here is ‘Made at 40’, as not only are all menu options homemade, the ingredients are nearly all local – a quality you can taste when you take that first bite.

Enjoying a 40 North Sandwich at Dal Beag Beach. Photo credit: Kathryn MacLeod

Enjoying a 40 North Sandwich at Dal Beag Beach. Photo credit: Katie MacLeod


Delights – housed in a pale pink building opposite Stornoway Harbour – is home to fine food and gifts.  Tucked next to the counter are two tables, where you can enjoy the best coffee and tea in town with a piece (or two!) of perfect home baking.  Whether you grab a caffeine hit to-go or stay a while and sit in, the service is always something special: the friendly local ladies are what make the place a delight to drop into on a visit to the islands’ capital.

St Moluag’s Church

St Moluag’s Temple is easily missed, sitting surrounded by legend near the village of Eoropaidh in Ness.  Hidden from the main road, the 13th century stone church is accessed via a gate at the side of someone’s home; the sight of St Moluag’s is an imposing one as you approach on foot along the narrow grassy pathway.  Episcopal services are held on occasion, the building is open for visitors during the day, and it is even used as an atmospheric venue for weddings.

Outside St Moluag's. Photo credit: Kathryn MacLeod

Outside St Moluag’s. Photo credit: Katie MacLeod


All images and tips courtesy of Katie MacLeod.

You can read more of Katie’s posts about Lewis and Harris on her blogStories my Suitcase Could Tell.  You can also find her on Twitter @KatieMacL and on Facebook.

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  • Lewis Longhouse

    • 11 Properties with 5 star(s)
    • 1CtQ
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    Lewis Longhouse

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (5 miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 4

    The Lewis Longhouse is a unique 5-star, luxurious and award-winning home-from-home. Located on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis, it sits close to the beach in an area of peaceful, natural beauty. With open views, this is a special place for families or couples to relax. Green Tourism GOLD level.

  • 27 Garenin

    • 11 Properties with 3 star(s)
    • 1CtQ
    • Pets Welcome
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    27 Garenin

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (24 miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 6

    27 Garenin is in the district of Carloway and near to the restored blackhouse village in Gearranan. It is on a croft 10 minutes from the shore with great views of Carloway

  • Abhainn Cottage

    • 1CtQ
    • Hot Tub
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    Abhainn Cottage

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (18 Miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Luxurious traditional cottage complete with spa bath and sauna. Perfectly located for both couples and families visiting Lewis & Harris. Just 5 minutes from the famous Callanish Stones and 10 minutes to the nearest beach. Abhainn Cottage features stunning views of the Uig Hills and Loch Roag.

  • Whitefalls Spa Lodges

    • 22 Properties with 5 star(s)
    • 2CtQ
    • Hot Tub
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    Whitefalls Spa Lodges

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (14miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 2

    There's 5 star self-catering and there is Whitefalls Spa Lodges. Whitefalls offer seclusion and tranquillity in a truly stunning location. We combine Hebridean hospitality together with the style of a boutique hotel with your own exclusive fitness & Spa Suite in your own private self-catering lodge

  • Hebridean Luxury Holidays, Isle of Lewis

    • 33 Properties with 5 star(s)
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    • Hot Tub
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    Hebridean Luxury Holidays, Isle of Lewis

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (0.5 from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Three, spacious, imaginatively designed and built, luxury properties, all graded 5 star by Visit Scotland. Situated on a working croft on the edge of Stornoway, they are an ideal base for touring the whole of Lewis and Harris. "Iolaire" and "Craigroyston" now have hot tubs.
    Dogs welcome.

  • Sealladh na Mara

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    Sealladh na Mara

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (12 miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Sealladh na Mara is a fully renovated stone croft house surrounded by fields, overlooking the Atlantic coast of the Isle of Lewis. It features exposed stone walls with open hearth (peat supplied). Self catering holiday house with STB 4-star rating.

  • Ceol na Mara Holiday Cottage

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    Ceol na Mara Holiday Cottage

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (28 miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 10

    The cottage is set in the village of Cromore, Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles between Loch Cromore and Loch Erisort. It is a beautiful setting of rugged coast line and surrounded by the village yet giving privacy as the house is at the end of the village looking across the bay.

  • Cromore Old Mission Hall

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 1CtQ
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Cromore Old Mission Hall

    Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland (27 Miles from Stornoway)

    Sleeps up to 3

    Cromore Old Mission Hall is a converted church hall now available for couples or small families. This romantic cottage is near the hamlet of Cromore on the Isle of Lewis. Walking, fishing, and just quiet relaxing are on the menu here.


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