The Isle of Lewis in Scotland makes up a part of Isle of Lewis and Harris, comprising the northern part of the one island. Lewis is famed for its beaches, standing stones, culture, and history, and you’d be surprised at the sheer number of things to do on Isle of Lewis!
Sitting off of the north-west coast of Scotland Isle, Lewis is remote enough that it sees fewer visitors than the mainland, but those who do take the time to either fly or take a boat trip up to these western isles will find themselves immediately immersed in the rich history of the region and its immense natural beauty.
Things to Do in Isle of Lewis
Lewis is a beautiful isolated part of the Outer Hebrides that boasts incredible views of the western isles, magnificent sandy beaches, grand tours of the surrounding Hebridean islands, and many other hidden gems.
Coming to the Lewis islands for your holiday can be an overwhelming prospect, especially with the number of things to do while visiting, so we’ve written this guide to ensure you’re well prepared for the things to do on this wonderful island!
Callanish Standing Stones
Wandering the Lewis islands, you may encounter a peculiar standing stone set near the A58 in Callanish.
Standing mightily against the highland winds, the Callanish Stones form a rough stone circle and are one of the most impressive sights in the entire Western Isles.
They predate the infamous Stonehenge and are one of the most popular attractions when visiting the islands of Lewis and Harris!
The impressive Callanish standing stones tower over 3-metres high and people suspect that they may have been used in ancient rituals, while others say that the Callanish stones were giants that were turned into standing stones by forgotten magic.
Either way, this mysteriousness beguiles visitors from all over the world to visit them.
While you’re visiting the islands of Lewis and Harris, these 5000-year old Callanish Stones are one of the must-see historic sites!
Explore the Stunning Beaches of Lewis
Lewis, Harris and the rest of the Outer Hebrides are known worldwide for their incredible beaches and stunning waters. People flock to the islands during the summer months for a chance to bask in the sun on a white sandy beach and swim in the gentle waves of the Atlantic.
Rivalling famous hotspots like Luskentyre beach in Harris, these beaches locations are many travellers’ first destinations when arriving on the island.
Here are some of the best beaches to visit if you’re lucky enough to go there when the weather’s sublime. We bet they’ll even give the Caribbean and the South Pacific islands a run for their money!
Boasting proud beach stacks that rise from the shore, Garry Beach looks as though it appeared out of a fantasy movie with its irregular landscape, golden beaches, and crystal blue waters.
About a 10 to 15-minute drive north from Stornoway, Garry Beach is one of the beautiful beaches this amazing island offers to its visitors.
And since Garry Beach is one of the closest beaches to the capital city of Stornoway, it’s one of the first that most people visit.
Garry Beach leaves absolutely the best first impression of the beaches you have to look forward to while on your holiday visiting Lewis and Harris.
Bosta Beach (Traigh Bhostadh)
If you want to know why the Isle of Lewis is famed for its beautiful beaches, Bosta Beach is another excellent example of why; It boasts white sands, picturesque blue waters, and hidden coves.
This beach is a superb place to spend an afternoon in the sun!
The surrounding area is populated with adorable highland cows, which can be seen grazing around the beach as you wander its sands.
The beach is a terrific place to take the family for an afternoon of fun in the sun and is a location that any visit needs to include.
Dalmore Beach (Traigh Dhail Mhor)
The waves of Damore Beach call to surfers all around the western isles, drawing them to its incredible waves, beautiful rocky highlands, and long sandy beaches for you to enjoy a sunny day out with the family!
The north side of the beach also shows off small sea stacks that are perfect for landscape photographs that capture the outstanding natural beauty of Scotland.
Eoropie Beach (Traigh Shanndaigh)
On the tip of the Outer Hebrides is the picturesque Eoropie Beach, with outstanding views of the seas of the Arctic North beyond it.
This is the perfect place to take the family, as the kids can enjoy some time in the world-class Eoropie playpark while the rest of the family enjoys the gently rolling waves and dazzling sunshine.
Enjoy a day trip to Eoropie beach and sip a refreshing beverage on your day out in Outer Hebrides paradise!
With sands stretching as far as the eye can see, Uig Sand can easily be mistaken for an expansive desert at first glance.
Luckily, the sight of calm waves soon enters into view and you realise that you’re on one of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen.
Uig Sand is gorgeous! It is nestled in the Uig Bay and open to beach-goers and photographers alike, both of which take full advantage of the beautiful sights and sounds that the beach has to offer. You’ll want to find the nearest post office to send your spectacular pictures to friends and family as soon as possible.
While you’re in Uig Bay, Uig Sand is a must-see beach attraction that will make you think you’re in the heart of the Mediterranean.
Norse Mill and Kiln
As you skirt around the western isles of Lewis, don’t miss out on one of the most interesting attractions on the island.
Situated just outside of Shawbost, these old Norse mills provide a deep and thorough look into the lives that the common folk of Lewis used in their everyday lives.
Once over 200 of them on Lewis, these mills and kilns have dwindled to only a few. These historical remnants of the past are well worth your while whilst you’re visiting the islands.
While you’re in Callanish, enjoy some time in the company of fuzzy alpacas at Callanish Alpacas. This family-owned farm is home to various rare and exotic farmyard animals.
This farmland destination is a great trip to take the kids on and pet some of the ducks, chickens, and of course, alpacas. This is an incredibly unique and fun experience on the Isle of Lewis that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Make sure to enjoy some time with the Callanish Alpacas. You won’t regret it!
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
On the west coast of the Isle, an abandoned olden crofting village is nestled into the highlands, just waiting for you to explore it.
The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village was built in the 1800s, and now you can freely explore the village and its historic architecture. The Blackhouse has also earned some notoriety on the ‘Call the Midwife Christmas Special’, starring as the location for the acclaimed featured episode.
The village even offers the blackhouses as Isle of Lewis accommodation to stay in if you’re truly enamoured by these buildings.
But whether you’re staying for a few nights or just stopping by as part of your day trips around Lewis and Harris, this is a location you won’t soon forget.
Abainn Dearg Distillery
The first legal distillery of the Outer Hebrides in over 200 years, the Abainn Dearg Distillery on the Isle of Lewis is one of the best Scotch whisky tours that you’ll experience while on your holiday.
Founded in 2008, this Distillery offers incredible single malt whiskey paired with stunning views of the western islands. Take a tour through and savour the lengthy single malt distilling process that has to take place every time you take a sip of some of Lewis’ best whiskey.
And if your tastes aren’t satisfied with one distillery, head down to South Harris to enjoy some lovely Harris gin if you want to make the yearly drink seasonal.
The distillery is a great way to enjoy an afternoon of immersing yourself in the proud history of whisky distilling and sampling some of the finest Scottish single malt available.
Butt of Lewis
The Butt of Lewis marks as far north as you’re able to go on the Isle of Lewis and is one of the favourite places to visit for those making their tour around Lewis and Harris.
This extraordinary lighthouse on the northern point of the world stands tall with its brick stone design and gold and white buildings that surround it. It is an absolute treat to visit, and it’s easy to see why it brings in so many visitors every year.
The Butt of Lewis also includes the impressive sea stacks that stand amidst the roiling ocean’s waves that crash against the 20-metre cliffside.
The Butt of Lewis is an amusing name for such a great experience that you should consider onboarding to your holiday plans while visiting.
Walk the Hebridean Way
For those who crave adventure and take in the full scope of the Isle of Lewis and Harris and the Outer Hebrides, Walk the Hebridean is the challenge you’ve been looking for!
The walk starts you at the southernmost point of Vatersay, South Uist and then proceeds to take you through North Uist, Harris, and finally Lewis in a 156 mile (252km) trek of incredible Hebridean sights until you reach Stornoway.
Only through this long journey of seeing the Hebridean’s stunning beaches like Luskentyre beach, intimidating mountains, amazing wildlife, and places of archaeological interest will you be able to say that you’ve fully experienced all that the Outer Hebrides have to offer.
This fantastic adventure is best done with a great group of friends, but we wouldn’t blame you if you make more in the many self-catering stops along the way!
If this is your first trip to the Isle, don’t feel pressured to undertake such a challenge, but to those that want to immerse themselves fully, the Hebridean Way awaits.
The Bridge to Nowhere
The Bridge to Nowhere is luckily not as ominous as it sounds and gets its name from the rough trail that eventually peters out about a mile from the bridge.
The route before and after the bridge, sometimes called Garry Bridge, is a very scenic and beautiful pathway that highlights the natural magnificence of the Isle of Lewis.
The bridge itself is worth the trip alone, as the 100 feet long structure boasts robustness that’s impressive to the eyes and begs to have pictures taken on it.
The Bridge to Nowhere is sure to stir your curiosity with its name, but what you’ll find visiting this attraction will exceed your expectations.
Within the capital of Stornoway, Lews Castle is one of the most famous castles on the Lewis islands and Harris.
It’s difficult not to have your jaw drop the first time you lay your eyes on it. Lews Castle looks like something out of a fantasy with its stone brick and crenelations.
The Castle also has many fantastic outdoor activities, such as exploring the castle grounds.
Within the behemoth, you’ll find the Museum nan Eilean which holds some of the Isle’s most precious historical artefacts like the famous Lewis Chessmen.
When you’re finished admiring the museum and castle grounds, you’re able to enjoy a cup of coffee with cake at the Storefront Cafe, situated on the floor level of the Castle, that offers impressive meals, including smoked salmon and the famous Stornoway pudding.
Lews Castle truly has a little something for everyone, and its convenience right within Stornoway leaves you no excuse not to take part in this experience.
Dun Carloway Broch
As you’re exploring Lewis, why not delve into history by visiting Dun Carloway Broch – A structure that gives you an incredible cross-section of the world 2000 years ago.
Even long after its Neolithic residents left the abode, it’s speculated that the Broch would’ve been members of Clan Morrison in the early 1500s as a stronghold, which impresses its incredible longevity further onto those who visit the site.
Dun Carloway is as intriguing as it is incredible. It is definitely a location you’ll want to visit on your journey through the Isle of Lewis.
The Whalebone Arch
The Whalebone Arch in Lewis is a jaw-dropping sight to behold. Relive the unbelievable tale of how the lower jawbone of a Blue Whale ended up on the western islands of Scotland.
Said to have washed ashore in the early 1920s after a successful whale hunt, the whale’s two lower jawbones were taken along with the harpoon that was embedded into the creature and displayed in front of a croft house.
This intriguing art piece is available for all to see as they pass through the town of Bragar and its multiple self-catering cottages. The Whalebone Arch is a piece of Lewis’ history that is sure to delight and stun.
Mangersta Sea Stacks
Standing tall against the whipping winds and ravaging sea waves, the Mangersta Sea Stacks are one of the most stunning sights on the Isle of Lewis and Harris.
These immense rocky stones tower out of the sea and can easily be seen from atop the highland cliffs north of Islibhig and are of the island’s most incredible views.
Stay wary though, as on especially windy days, the winds near the Sea Stacks can get very intense, so always keep pets and children in your sights.
On a calm day though, there is nothing more amazing than looking out from the clifftop and seeing the west coast waters of the Outer Hebrides.
The Sea Stacks offer their best views on a clear day as the sun begins to set and are one of the most impressive sights on the Isle of Lewis.
The ancient Dun Borranish is one of the earliest pieces of history that remain today on Lewis, dating back to the early Iron Age.
Located just east of Uig Bay, the ruins of this homestead stand against time to reveal a detailed look into the past of the residents here on Lewis and Harris.
The Dun is a crucial piece of history that allows archaeologists to discover the timeline of how Scotland grew into what it is today from humble beginnings.
This landmark is easily accessible from the causeway and is a must-see for those who can’t resist the idea of looking into the annals of the past.
Complete your Collection of Harris Tweed
When you think of Harris Tweed, you immediately think of the Lewis and Harris Islands and the Outer Hebrides.
Whether you’re interested in purchasing this exceptional material for your projects, in buying a warm jacket or coat to keep you warm during your stay or immersing yourself in the history of this acclaimed material, you’re absolutely in luck.
Story of Harris Tweed Museum
The Story of Harris Tweed Museum is right in the town centre of Stornoway and allows visitors to engross themselves in the complete story of the island’s most famous material.
From their vast collection of tweed that is available for purchase to the historical relics that guide visitors through creating the fine garments, the Story of Harris Tweed Museum is a crucial starting point for those who want a deeper dive into the exclusive Tweed material.
Visit this unique museum next time you’re in Stornoway to begin your journey of tweed discovery.
The Brue House is your one-stop-shop for everything Harris Tweed, with homeware items fashioned from the high-quality material found easily with Brue House.
All of the Brue House items are meticulously handmade, elevating the quality and longevity of any item that you buy to take along with you. And with how cold the island can sometimes be, you may find yourself needing one of their colourful garments.
You can find the Brue House on the west coast of Lewis amongst other of Lewis’ great attractions like the Arnol Blackhouse and the Whalebone Arch.
The Brue House offers an opportunity for visitors to grab their next prized jacket or jersey and take it home as a great souvenir of their trip to the Brue House.
Harris Tweed Hebrides
The heart of manufacturing in the Isle of Lewis is the Harris Tweed Hebrides factory, which offers those who visit an excellent opportunity to view how the fine wool gets spun, worked, and weaved by an expert Harris Tweed weaver.
Experience the fine craftsmanship and lengthy process that will make you appreciate this famous material even more by visiting this factory next to Loch Muilne.
While in Stornoway, make sure to stop by the famous An Lanntair (the Latern) to appreciate the wide variety of local art and music events.
An Lanntair can be found right in the city centre and is one of the most visited attractions of the Outer Hebrides. The gallery is host to multiple art galleries, music events, and Gaelic language performances year-round.
The arts centre plays host to a few notable festivals and events throughout the year, including the raging celebration of Outer Hebrides culture known as the HebCelt Festival; the Faclan Book Festival, which draws top-level authors from all over the world; and The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival which consists of two weeks of jaw-dropping night sky-watching.
If you can plan your trip to accommodate one of these festivals, you will not be disappointed!
Make sure to visit this amazing arts and culture centre while in Lewis and Harris. It’s sure to be one of your favourite places.
Dun Eistean, situated on the northeast coast of Lewis, is one of the Outer Hebrides’ most adventurous remote islands that draw visitors in every year.
Dun Eistean is a fascinating archaeological site with the remains of several structures that date back from the Iron Age and the post-medieval age. They offer an incredible opportunity to dive into the history of these wonders.
The site sits on a small island joined together by an iron bridge that spans over the islands. The views from these sites are nothing less than extraordinary and allow you to see the two separated islands around Dun Eistean like an eagle from its nest!
Get lost in these historical landmarks when you visit the sites of Dun Eistean.
The Island Darkroom pays homage to the Island of Lewis with its stunning photos, smocks, and memorabilia, this love letter to the Isle of Lewis can be found in the heart of the island.
In the Island Darkroom, you can browse a curated gallery of the best black-and-white photographs taken of many separate islands in the Outer Hebrides, as well entertain the thought of buying one of the high-quality souvenir prints that the Island Darkroom sells.
This fascinating destination is close enough to everything while visiting the two separated islands. You’ll have no excuse not to peruse the gallery and enjoy the many beauties of the Island Darkroom.
Tiumpan Head Lighthouse
Painted in the trademark white-and-gold fashion that is well-known in Scotland, the Tiumpan Head Lighthouse is a stunning active lighthouse that sits along the east coast of the Isle of Lewis next to Stornoway harbour.
With incredible views of the sunset that casts the distant mountaintops of the Scottish mainland into view, this location is perfect for the start of a romantic evening with its expansive views of the Atlantic ocean.
The Tiumpan Head Lighthouse is a short trip from Stornoway and can be the highlight at the end of an afternoon of travelling and seeing the many things to do in the Outer Hebrides.
The Isle of Lewis is one of the best places to catch the mesmerising Northern Lights during the autumn and winter months – A spectacular natural phenomenon of wonder and colour.
It’s best not to come to only see the Northern Lights, however, as they can be difficult to predict, so make sure to add some of the other amazing things to do from this guide onto your holiday list when you’re visiting.
The best way to ensure that you will see the Aurea Borealis dancing in the night sky is to stay for a couple of days, keep as north as you can, make sure that visibility is excellent, and light pollution is at a minimum.
If you combine all these factors, your next visit to Lewis and Harris will be filled with an experience you will never forget!
This historic memorial commemorates the tragedy of the Iolaire, a ship that sank on its way back from World War I and led to the loss of over 205 soldiers and onboard personnel perishing.
This loss is still felt deeply amongst those who live in Stornoway and the islands of Lewis. This memorial aims to inform and honour the memories of those lost in the incident.
Whilst visiting the bustling city of Stornoway, take an afternoon to learn and engage with this event and its ties to the people of Stornoway and Lewis.
The Arnol Black gives a unique insight into the island life that many residents of Lewis lived in the late 1800s, preserved as the last family had left it in 1966.
This place of living history contains all that a budding historian or person with a keen interest would want to know about what life was like, and you can enjoy a thorough investigation of the open-view croft house.
Travel through time as you explore the Arnol Blackhouse from its thatched roof, cobblestone walls, and magnificent peat fire while visiting Lewis.
Leathad Ard Open Gardens
The Leath Ard Open Gardens are home to some of the most beautiful flowers that you will see in your time on the island of Lewis and Harris, with this 1-acre garden being jam-packed with the most incredible arrangement of flowers, vegetable patches, ponds, and more!
The Leathad Ard Open Gardens is free to enter but highly encourages donations to be made, which split their proceeds and send them to the Red Cross and Scotland’s Gardens charity.
Spending a few hours wandering the hedges amidst the verdant and lively gardens as you explore the surrounding area of Stuart on your tour of the Isle of Lewis is a must.
The Trussel Stone
This towering behemoth of rock can be found as you pass places up the A587 from Stornoway, leading you to the largest standing stone in Scotland, which is a feat worth boasting about.
Maintained by Historic Scotland, there’s no entry fee to see this 6-metre tall giant and you’re more than welcome to take pictures and interact with the monolith that can easily be seen as you drive into the township.
Just make sure that you’re standing on the Northside as the Trussel Stone leans slightly southward!
Columba’s Church Ui
One of the most important burial sites in all of Scotland, St. Columba’s Church Ui is one of the few remaining medieval and post-medieval sites to still exist largely intact to this day.
Underneath the large granite slab headstones inscribed in Scottish Gaelic lie many of Scotland’s most famed clans, with infamous chieftains like Roderick Macleod VII and Margaret Mackinnon.
This sacred site holds much of the Macleod and Mackenzie clans and opens the doors of history to those who want to learn about the famed legends of these heroes and leaders of Scotland.
Ness Historical Society
The Ness Historical Society celebrates the many cultural and historical events that occurred in Lewis, from the history of Scottish Gaelic, the Norse invaders, and all the way to the second world war.
One of the best visitor centres around, the Historical Society also provides those who visit with excellent local produce and drinks at their cafe, with a quaint gift shop to bring home a souvenir to remember your time by.
The Historical Society also offers a virtual tour or in-person tour of many of the traditional and cultural aspects of Lewis and Harris that made it what it was today.
The art of crafting, weaving, and fishing are all revealed from the perspective of those who have been honing their craft for many generations. The Society also offers alternate Scottish Gaelic speakers and presentations for local people or those who want to study the Gaelic language.
The Ness Historical Society is a brilliant way to enjoy the many aspects of the local history and culture that Scotland and the Outer Hebrides have to offer.
Isle of Great Bernera
In 1953, the bridge between Great Bernera and Lewis was opened and over 4000 people crossed over to explore the island.
Today, you can relive the thrill of crossing over into the unknown as you explore the remote island.
And Great Bernera is teeming with interesting things to explore, from the marvellous engineering behind the bridge used to cross it to the Iron Age House that shows how people lived and gathered on the island many hundreds of years ago.
Great Bernera has many exciting nooks and crannies to find, so we’ve only given you a taste so you can truly explore!
Kinloch Historical Centre
For a further dive into the great genealogy and artefacts found in the areas within Lewis, look no further than the Kinloch Historical Centre, home to many unique items, trinkets, and pieces of history that allow you to relive the history of the Kinloch area in Scotland.
The Kinloch Historical Centre prides itself on maintaining its amazing history and community, so don’t be surprised when you find many regular visitors speaking in the native Scottish Gaelic dialect.
Take a trip down to Kinloch to enjoy the spectacular landscapes and wildlife that the region has to offer and visit the crucial Kinloch Historical Centre!
Sea Lewis Boat Trips & Tours
The coastlines of Lewis are packed full of amazing wildlife for you to explore as you travel. There is no better way to experience the beautiful oceans than on the wildlife watching boat trips that are available from Stornoway harbour and ferry terminal!
These trips set off into the southeast Atlantic sea and reveal hidden wildlife of the Outer Hebrides like seals, whales, dolphins, and more!
Experience other boat trips into the islands with fishing locals that will teach you to fish the Lewis and Harris way. You may be eating delicious smoked salmon that same night if you’re lucky!
These trips will entertain and fill you with wonderment as you traverse the waters among islands on the powerful Sea Lewis Boats.
Isle of Lewis Sports Centre
Offering state of the art facilities, this sports centre is a great location to enjoy some adrenaline-pumping activity as you travel through Lewis and one of the best ways to interact with the local people of the islands.
Whether it’s basketball, football, swimming, or climbing, the Sports Centre caters to all your exercise needs and offers well-maintained courts and pools to enjoy while travelling.
The Centre is also extremely popular with children and has a fun-filled play park to entertain them with while you enjoy some you-time.
Make some time to visit the Isle of Lewis Sports Centre while travelling!
Aline Community Woodland Walks
Just as Lewis meets Harris, you’ll find the incredible verdant forests of the Aline Community Woodlands, a splendid hiking and walking trail to take your family partner on and witness the bountiful scenery of the Aline Woodlands.
The Woodland Walks are the perfect place to capture the stunning views of the loch and tumbling mountains as you wander through the thicket of trees.
If you’re moving from Lewis onto Harris to see the hotspots that the southern part of the islands offers, like Harris gin and Luskentyre beach, the Aline Community Woodland Walks are the perfect goodbye!
Other Things To Do in Scottish Isles
- Things to do in Arran
- Things to do in Harris
- Things to do in Islay
- Things to do in Isle of Mull
- Things to do in Isle of Skye
- Things to do in Kirkwall
- Things to do in North & South Uist
- Things to do in Orkney
- Things to do in Portree
- Things to do in Shetland
- Things to do in Stornoway