#outerthisworld | Natural Retreats


Excited to get a taste of the luxury Lews Castle experience for themselves, our adventurous Xplore Team travelled due North this June, for a 72-hour roller-coaster tour of the spectacular Lewis and Harris.The Outer Hebrides is famed for unforgettable moments and awe-inspiring landscapes, and our jam-packed itinerary didn't disappoint. Below, we share a few of our favourite experiences that were truly #outerthisworld...

Canapes and Cocktails in the Lews Castle Whiskey Bar
Providing the warmest of welcomes to the sumptuous interiors of Lews Castle, our iconic Whiskey Bar is the perfect place to soak up island life after your travels. Serving an impeccably well-stocked range of tipples (we recommend the Harris Gin with a wedge of grapefruit!), recline into the embrace of our contemporary armchairs, whilst admiring the far-reaching views of Stornoway Harbour and the coastline beyond.

Marvel at the Callanaish Standing Stones
30 minutes cross-country from our sturdy castle walls lie the neo-lithic, and completely spellbinding, standing stones of Callanaish. Over 5,000 years old these magical structures command a sense of awe, and unlike other historical monuments are free of ropes or cordons, allowing you to touch and interact with these incredible examples of Hebridean history.

The views are sensational across the lochs and mountains, and the wonderful little visitor centre provides the perfect platform to learn more about their unusual past (plus their cosy cafe provides a mouth-watering homemade treat to enjoy after your bracing walk!)

Visiting the Harris Tweed Factory
Nestled in the quaint village of Tarbert in Harris, the iconic and globally recognised Harris Tweed stays faithful to it's origins, operating out of a tiny warehouse and superbly run shop. With a fine selection of Tweed souvenirs on offer, plus tailor-made clothing and a staff who are more than happy to explain their proud history, this is definitely one for the bucket list! The friendly team also run tours of the factory which gives a unique insight into the meticulous precision of this Hebridean icon.

Pouring candles with Buth Bheag Candle Co
From humble beginnings of a kitchen table, this inspiring home-grown business is now recognised across Scotland for their superb candles and home accessories, all sourced from the beautiful natural produce that Harris produces. Jamie and his wife run a dreamy-scented shop in Tarbert, but have also commissioned a bespoke candle that can be found in our Outfitters store!

Set to move into a fantastic new space later this year, visitors will be able to join them on a journey through the scents, pouring their own candle creations and learning about this art.

Lunch with a view at Talla Na Mara Community Centre
Recently opened for the Hebridean community to enjoy, this Community Centre differs from our own experiences of a shared space, in the sense that it's set to a backdrop of one of the most spectacular beaches in the whole of the UK! Complete with pop-up artist studios, it's a real must-see on your adventures across the island.

The Machair Kitchen here serves freshly-caught seafood, outstanding coffee and homemade dishes (their Highland Beef Carpaccio was to die for!), with incredible views out to sea and beyond.

Sandy toes at Luskentyre Beach
Boasting miles and miles of powder soft sand and turquoise waters to rival the Caribbean, Luskentyre is definitely worth rolling up your hems for. Dotted with unblemished shells and the occasional starfish, often there is no other soul in sight as you indulge in blissful beach views that are utterly private. We recommend packing a picnic and spending the day here, exploring and toasting marshmallows!

Inspirational storytelling with Donald John MacKay MBE
Single-handedly restoring global interest in the Harris Tweed industry, Donald is one of many inspirational Hebrideans who make an experience to this beautiful chain of islands truly special. His impeccable weaving (created from his tin-roof garden shed where he's happily sat for over 50 years) attracted the attention of fashion giants including Nike, Chanel & Clarks to name a few!

Whisky tasting at the Harris Distillery
An incredible addition to the pretty harbour town of Tarbert, the Harris distillery is light-years ahead of it's time in terms of visitor experience. Guests on the tour are invited to sip wee drams in smoky oak-laden rooms, given tasters of secret ingredients and smells of heavenly botanicals before weaving through ginormous copper stills and learning about the fascinating yet humble origins of the project.

Silver service at Lews Castle
Perfectly paired with the regal yet contemporary surroundings of the castle, our professional kitchen serve up some of the most mouth-watering dishes the island has to offer including plump, hand-dived scallops, blushing lamb and Stornoway black pudding for private diners. Our attentive team are eager to please and make the experience of dining in the grand, ground floor rooms something truly special.

Exhilarating adventures with 'Gordy' and Stornoway Seafari
Riding along at lightspeed in this incredible rib-boat, salt-spray in your hair and grinning ear-to-ear, in our opinion there is no better way to search out the Hebridean wildlife. Offering a selection of tours along the Lewis coastline, Gordy and his team are Hebridean through and through, with exceptional knowledge of the marine-life and a knack for tempting them out for visitors to spot.

Think schools of dolphins, colourful puffins, majestic minke whales, graceful white-tailed eagles and sleepy seals, plus outstanding views of Lews Castle as you sail out of Stornoway harbour!

For further information on any of the adventures mentioned above, or your next stay at the spectacular Lews Castle, call our Xplore Team on 01625 416430 or e-mail [email protected]!