Lewis is the most northerly island making up the Outer Hebrides. The island’s wealth of history and culture provides a rich tapestry of living traditions, an active creative scene and stunning landscapes to explore.
Ask an Islander
We asked locals in Lewis to tell us what makes their island special. Here’s what they said:
Whilst Lewis technically shares the same landmass as its southern neighbour Harris, an imposing mountain range effectively cut the ‘islands’ off from each other until relatively recently. Each corner of Lewis has something different to offer a visitor – its own features, stories, and history.
Lewis has a rich history with a strong Gaelic culture, past and present. This gives the island living traditions and active arts and music scene. If you want to hear Gaelic being spoken, head for Ness, a predominantly Gaelic-speaking area comprised of several villages.
Lewis’s dramatic coasts are home to a fantastic array of wildlife, from birds of prey to sea life. The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is said to be the windiest place in Britain and has jaw-dropping views over the waters.
Lewis is rich in archaeology, with generations of people making their home on the islands. The iconic Callanish Standing Stones are thought to have been erected around 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period. More recently, they featured in the 2019 Christmas Special of Call The Midwife. Dun Carloway Broch dates back over 2,000 years to the Iron Age and is incredibly well-preserved.
If you have kids, exploring the Castle Grounds in Stornoway is great, with walking paths, cycle tracks, carved statues, the fairy houses and even Segway hire. It’s also a great place for spotting some wildlife like ducks and seals.
Stornoway itself is the only town in the Outer Hebrides – which, in turn, is home to the famous Stornoway black pudding!
The Iolaire tragedy has been well remembered in Lewis, with a memorial you can visit in Sandwick and the more recently constructed memorial in South Beach at the pier in Stornoway, marking the 100 year anniversary. The Iolaire was a troopship that was lost on the approaches to Stornoway Harbour following the First World War. A tragic loss of life for an island that was looking forward to welcoming their men home after four long years of war.
Gaelic / Gàidhlig
The Gaelic name for Lewis is Eilean Leòdhais.
What’s the Gàidhlig for a ‘shop’? That’s ‘bùth‘!
CalMac Ferries operates daily sailings from Ullapool on the mainland to Stornoway. It is also possible to drive to Lewis from the Isle of Harris.
Find out more about getting to Harris.
Loganair operates flights between Stornoway and Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It also operates an inter-island flight between Stornoway and Benbecula.
Want to find out more about Lewis and explore more of our amazing islands?
Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:
- discover your perfect island match,
- find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
- collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
- find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.