How can I find out what events are happening in
Check out the Festivals/Events page on this website, which
covers a wide range of events.
How can I get to Scotland's Islands?
Please visit the travel page on this website which will direct
you to a wide range of transport links.
Do I need to book accommodation in
A lot of accommodation providers are listed on www.visitscotland.com and
there are also a lot of excellent accommodation providers that are
not members of VisitScotland - you can find out about them through
a general search on the internet. It is advisable to book
accommodation in advance, especially if you are travelling during
peak holiday periods or to a special event. If you arrive without
accommodation, staff in the VisitScotland Visitor Information
Centres will be pleased to do their best to help you.
When is the best time to visit Scotland's
There is year round activity in Scotland's Islands and with our
mild climate there is never a bad time to visit. Depending on what
you are looking for though, some months of the year are better than
others. Weather-wise, you will get the best temperatures between
May and September but the winter months are equally beautiful.
There is year-round wildlife activity - an incredible variety of
birds, whales, seals and dolphins, deer and otter. On the social
side June, July and August are the busiest with lots of cultural
music festivals, dances and events happening. The Christmas and New
Year period is a fun one with dances and firework displays. On the
activity side, the surf gets better from September onwards and
there are also pursuits like golfing, walking and fishing
(especially sea angling) which are available all year round.
How can we find Arts and Crafts products or outlets on
Please have a look at the weblinks below relating to Arts and
Crafts Outlets in Scotland's Islands:
Argyll and Bute:
Highlands and Islands:
What is the weather like?
The North Atlantic Drift keeps the water temperatures around our
islands relatively warm. This year-round current which originates
in the Caribbean gives us relatively mild temperatures which means
it very rarely goes below freezing in the winter and that we don't
experience the uncomfortable heat of some inland locations in the
summer. Cool sea breezes characterise our summers and although the
winters are mild you can occasionally experience some of the
wildest and stormiest gales around.
How can I travel within the Islands?
You can get around the islands by bus, car, bike, boat, yacht,
ferry, on foot, or between some of the islands by plane.
Do you have any modern amenities?
A common misconception about Scotland's Islands generally is
that we don't have televisions or electricity…! We actually live in
a very modern environment. Some of the islands are at the forefront
of telecommunications with some very successful businesses
relocating here for a better work/life balance, including the
peaceful environment, dedicated workforce and great technological
facilities. We also have some fantastic events and activities
throughout the islands hosting famous musicians and performers from
around the world.
So what happens on a Sunday?
All the islands are different but Sunday observance is an
important aspect of the Island's culture. On this day people take
time to relax in their peaceful surroundings. There are ferries and
flights to and from a number of the islands on a Sunday but a lot
of shops throughout the islands remain closed. A number of
hotels and some restaurants are open for meals on Sundays and
locals and visitors alike are free to enjoy the great outdoors any
day of the week. Local churches welcome visitors to their
congregations and you may be able to hear the beautiful sound of
Gaelic psalm singing in some areas, depending which island you are
Where can I hear Gaelic spoken?
A significant number of islanders within the Hebrides are
Gaelic-speakers and Gaelic is used throughout the islands and parts
of the mainland everyday. For many of the older generation it was
their first language and they had to learn to speak English at
school. These days in the islands, everyone is fluent in English
and it is generally the predominant language but there are still
lots of opportunities to hear Gaelic spoken. The numerous feis
(Gaelic music festivals) and the local mods (Gaelic competitions)
provide a great opportunity to hear Gaelic. For further information
about the Gaelic language, please visit - www.gaelic-rings.com
What other languages or dialects are spoken in
In Orkney, the Orcadian language is now more or less extinct but
there are still elements of it used through their dialect, which in
itself sounds beautifully melodic. For further information, please
visit - http://www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/OHS/.
Shetlandic is spoken in Shetland, which is an interesting
combination of dialects and languages brought together to form one.
This is structured round a Scandinavian base and then heavily
influenced by people from different areas who settled in Shetland
many, many years ago. There is a soft and mesmerising tone to
Shetlandic. For further information, please visit -
What is a ceilidh?
Traditionally a ceilidh was an informal social gathering in
someone's home with story-telling, poetry and Gaelic singing. Now
ceilidhs usually refer to dances or musical gatherings which take
place in public venues. The dancing usually covers traditional
Scottish Highland dances such as 'Strip the Willow', 'The Military
Two Step' and the "St. Bernard's Waltz." These dances are great fun
and can be for couples or groups. These dances are fairly easy to
learn quite quickly!
What is Harris Tweed?
One of the world's most desirable wool textiles in the world,
Harris Tweed, is produced in the Outer Hebrides. Harris Tweed,
traditionally more often associated with the country lifestyle of
shooting, fishing and hunting, it has evolved into a fashionable
and modern material which is very popular with fashion designers at
the moment. Traditionally the wool was gathered from the sheep and
dyed using a number of natural sources found in the islands, such
as lichen, which gave the tweed its unmistakable palette. The wool
was then cleaned, spun and woven in the islanders by trained
weavers and their family. To obtain the prestigious mark of the
Harris Tweed orb, the wool must be woven in the Outer Hebrides or
else it can not be called 'real' Harris Tweed. Vibrant colours and
an interesting array of designs have greatly extended its customer