The stretch of coastline between Cape Wrath and Loch Linnhe is likely the most beautiful landscape in Britain. Sparse granite mountains are blanketed with heathland dotted with hill lochs, while winding single track roads skirt fjords and azure watered sand beaches each more beautiful than the last.

The Inner Hebrides are an archipelago sitting off the west coast of mainland Scotland comprising of 35 inhabited, 44 uninhabited islands and many more islets. The largest and most famous is Skye, the setting of the fabulously dramatic mountain scenery – the Quiraing, Fairy Pools and Old Man of Storr are as mystical sounding as they are beautiful. The Inner Hebrides is also where you’ll find the islands of Mull, Islay and Jura, home to wonderful beaches, smokey whisky distilleries and welcoming villages.

The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are a chain of islands sat west of the Inner Hebrides. The largest is the isle of Lewis and Harris, whose landscape is nothing short of spectacular. Its white sandy beaches and turquoise water looks more suited to the Caribbean than Scotland while the rocky north of Harris is how you might imagine parts of space to look. The isand is something of a birder’s paradise and there are few better ways to spend an evening than watching the colonies of seals splash around the sparkling waters of the bays. Harris Tweed, long a stalwart of fashion and tailoring, is dyed, spun and handwoven here. Further south are North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra, all with their own unique charm.

Few fail to be won over by the beauty of Scotland’s West Coast and its islands. A large part of the joy of travelling here is often you will have this remarkable place all to yourself.

When to go

The best time to visit Scotland's West Coast and its islands is in early or late summer - May, June and September. The weather can be unpredictable but the dramatic landscape can look incredible with a moody sky. The weather is also very changeable so don't be disheartened if you get a day of rain - you never know what the morning will bring. Midges can be a problem in summer so come prepared with spray and wear long sleeves and trousers in the evenings.


What to do

  • Dig into some of the freshest seafood you're ever likely to taste
  • Explore the mystical landscape of the Isle of Skye
  • Discover hidden glens and secluded coves
  • Spot sea birds and seals in the Inner and Outer Hebrides