The Ancient Stones of the Outer Hebrides

The Ancient Stones of the Outer Hebrides

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tourhub | Brightwater Holidays | The Ancient Stones of the Outer Hebrides | BAOH
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5 Days
From

$1638

$1593

The Ancient Stones of the Outer Hebrides

5 Days Starting and ending in Various pick-up points available - please contact us for details

Visiting: Ullapool, Stornoway, Great Bernera, Calanais Standing Stones, St Columba's Church, Lews Castle, Rodel, Northton, Clach Mhic Leoid,standing stone, Dun Carloway Broch, Black House Creative, Shawbost, Clach An Truishal Standing Stone

Tour operator:

Brightwater Holidays

Tour code:

BAOH

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

6 - 25

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans, Meat, Please contact Brightwater with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Small Group

From:
$1638
$1593 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $45

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

In about 1800 BC, at around the time that the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt was flourishing, an equally vigorous civilisation was leaving its mark on the far flung islands of the Outer Hebrides. The Standing Stones at Callanish, tall and slender slabs of silvery Lewisian gneiss, are the enduring testament to the skill and knowledge of a long-vanished and mysterious community, who laid out these stones according to precise astronomical observations, lining up the main avenue with the point at which the full moon of midsummer sets. Later settlers have left their mark too, and the tranquil islands of Lewis and Harris are blessed with an abundance of archaeological remains. Neolithic cairns, Bronze Age standing stones, Iron Age houses, Norse mills and Blackhouses from a couple of centuries ago – the islands are a living time-line and a paradise for the amateur archaeologist. In the company of a local specialist guide we will tour a succession of sites, from the rolling moorlands and sweeping beaches of Lewis in the north to the dramatic mountains of Harris in the south. Our four nights in Stornoway will also provide an insight to modern island life, where the ancient Gaelic culture is as vibrant as ever and celebrated in music and song.

Highlights

  • Bosta Iron Village, the Outer Hebrides’ version of Skara Brae

  • The remarkable and mysterious standing stones of Callanish

  • Glimpses into a not-so-distant past at the Blackhouses of Gearrannan and Arnol

  • Echoes of vanished lives at the Genealogy Centre

  • The incomparable scenery of the Western Isles

Places You'll See

The Ancient Stones Of The Outer Hebrides

The Ancient Stones Of The Outer Hebrides

The Ancient Stones Of The Outer Hebrides

The Ancient Stones Of The Outer Hebrides

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1
Location: Ullapool, Stornoway
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway
Meals Included: Dinner

We depart from our designated pick-up points and head north, stopping en-route for refreshments.  We will continue to Ullapool in time to catch the early-evening Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Stornoway, which takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.  On arrival in Lewis we will transfer the short distance to our hotel, the 4-star Cabarfeidh Hotel (the 3-star Caladh Inn, Stornoway in May).

Day 2
Location: Great Bernera, Calanais Standing Stones, St Columba's Church, Lews Castle
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning after breakfast we skirt round the head of East Loch Roag and cross to the island of Great Bernera, where we visit the Bosta Iron Age Village. These stone structures from the 7th - 8th century were uncovered in Bosta thanks to a period of heavy storms, in much the same way that Skara Brae on Orkney came to light. A replica Iron Age house gives an insight into an ancient way of life here on a particularly beautiful beach. We will also visit the nearby museum where artefacts found at the site are displayed.
From here we will travel to the west coast of Lewis for a visit to the 5,000 year old Standing Stones of Callanish. Undoubtedly the most remarkable antiquity in the Western Isles, this collection of almost 50 stones forms a well-marked megalithic avenue, comprising 19 monoliths, ending in a circle of 13 stones, with a great cairn at the centre and superb views beyond. Entry to the Visitor Centre is included.
This afternoon we will visit St Columba’s Ui Church at Point, just outside Stornoway, one of the most important archaeological sites on the Isle of Lewis.  It was the main church during the medieval period and is a burial place for the Macleod chiefs and the Mackenzies who controlled the island in later years. 
We then return to Stornoway, where we will visit Lews Castle, where we can meet the famous Lewis Chessmen and view the Outer Hebrides as never before in a wrap-around audio-visual presentation

Day 3
Location: Rodel, Northton, Clach Mhic Leoid,standing stone
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast this morning we travel south to Harris, which in contrast to the rolling moorland of Lewis is more mountainous and fringed by superb white sandy beaches. Here we visit St Clement’s Church at Rodel, built on top of an earlier structure in the 16th century by Alasdair Crotach, 8th chief of the Macleods of Harris and Dun Bheagan. The church tombs are among the most spectacular in Scotland. We then visit the Genealogy Centre at Northton, a chance to get to know some of the factors which have had an influence on the development of the various Island communities, while for the more serious student there is a vast resource of detailed source information from different parts of the Hebrides. We continue to the ancient standing stone known as Clach Mhic Leoid (MacLeod’s Stone) which enjoys a superb situation overlooking the Isle of Taransay, which was the setting for the BBC TV series ‘Castaway’.

Day 4
Location: Dun Carloway Broch, Black House Creative, Shawbost
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today after enjoying your full Scottish breakfast, we will have a chance to discover the stunning scenery of Lewis as we take a journey through time from the Bronze and Iron Ages to the days of Norse settlement and the more recent past. Our visits include the exceptionally well-preserved and imposing Carloway Broch, a circular, dry-stone fortified tower, dating back some 2,000 years; the Black Houses at Gearannan and Arnol which are typical of the crofting settlements which until relatively recently were found throughout the Western Isles and give a special insight into island life; the Norse Mill at Shawbost, a recreation of the type of building where barley grain was ground into meal by Viking settlers and subsequent generations of crofters; and the standing stone Clach an Trushal, at over 6m one of the tallest in Scotland.

Day 5
Location: Clach An Truishal Standing Stone, Stornoway, Ullapool

This morning we check out of the hotel and take the early morning Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool which takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes (breakfast will be served on board).  We then continue our homeward journey, arriving back at our original pick-up points in the afternoon.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

  • Services of a professional tour manager

  • Comfortable coach travel throughout

  • Meals - as per the itinerary

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Drinks with Meals

  • Fully Guided

  • Meals – Half Board

  • Entrance Fees

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No

  • Will I receive more details of the holiday before I travel?

    You will receive detailed joining instructions around 10 days prior to you departure, but you are of course welcome to contact us at any time should you have any queries.

  • What facilities do your coaches have?

    Generally, our coaches have reclining seats, air-conditioning and toilets, however this cannot always be guaranteed as sometimes we have to use smaller vehicles. Toilets are recommended for emergency use only and regular comfort stops will be made throughout your holiday while travelling around.

  • Do I have to go on the included excursions?

    Absolutely not. You are more than welcome to spend the day at your hotel or exploring independently should you wish. All we ask is that you inform your Tour Manager, so they are not left waiting for you to join the group.

  • Is there time to relax?

    Although our itineraries may seem jam-packed, boasting access to some of the most exclusive sites across the UK and beyond, a Brightwater Holiday is just that: a holiday. Each trip will counter in more than enough free-time for you to explore places at your own leisure. And with most nights and the majority of meals being included in our tour prices, you can relax in hand-picked accommodation.

  • Do I need to be an expert?

    Absolutely not! Although some of our tours are specifically focused on one thing, all you need to enjoy a Brightwater holiday is interest and bags of enthusiasm! Even on our most specialist tours, we take travellers from all skill levels, from experts to beginners.

  • How fit or active do I need to be for one of your holidays?

    You need to be able to get on and off the coach unassisted, and most – but not all – coaches have a kneel facility that lowers the front step for ease of boarding

  • Do you have self-drive holidays?

    Yes, we do – tailored to your exact requirements!

  • What’s the luggage allowance on your coaches?

    There’s no fixed limit, but we generally say one large suitcase to go in the luggage compartment and a smaller bag that you can take onto the coach with you. For flight-inclusive holidays, we include a luggage allowance of at least 20kg.

  • Where are your departure points?

    UK garden holidays generally depart from London, with additional pick-ups depending on the route of the coach, while holidays to Scotland depart from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth, with Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen sometimes included. All Eurostar holidays depart from London St. Pancras and flight-inclusive holidays depart from one or more of the main London airports, with regional flights .

  • What about the company that will be kept?

    For single travellers, those with a companion or even those travelling in a larger group, you'll find that the signature of any Brightwater Holiday is the company. You won't ever be travelling with a group of strangers, instead, you'll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people with a strong shared interest who will soon become your firm friends.

  • What is a Brightwater Holiday?

    Bursting with enthralling, educational and enlightening itineraries, a Brightwater Holiday, by its very nature, is packed with bucket-list-worthy destinations, behind the scenes passes and expert-led experiences. From creating bespoke quality garden and special interest tours for groups and individuals alike, we have made it our business to make our guests' travel dreams come true.

  • Why is there a single supplement?

    Unfortunately, single room supplements are charges that are often imposed on us as a company when we book rooms for group holidays. However, most hotels do charge less for single occupancy, and we always pass this saving on to our solo travellers in the form of a modest single supplement.

  • How much are your optional excursions?

    Prices start from as little as £20, but please contact our friendly team for questions about specific itineraries or excursions.

  • Can I pre-book my coach seats?

    Yes, you can. In the case of front seats, guests with limited mobility are given priority. Please get in touch with our friendly team to discuss any requirements you may have.

  • How to get there? Easy!

    With a Brightwater Holiday, the journey is just as important as the destination and we make getting you to your tour start point easy. From organising group flights and individual travel plans, to offering accessible local departure and pick-up points, we go out of our way to ensure that your journey is as convenient and hassle-free as it can be.

  • Do I need to have travel insurance?

    Travel insurance is required for all overseas holidays and is also strongly recommended for UK holidays – primarily to protect yourself against cancellation charges should you be unable to travel.

Reviews of this Operator

Trusted Customer  

Brightwater Holidays offers great value

28-Nov-2019

I would highly recommend Brightwater Holidays. It offers excellent service and value for money. This was my first tour as I normally arrange holidays myself, but this tour - which was to the gardens of Kent and Sussex - was a very pleasant change of pace.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Brightwater Holidays Customer  

My experience with Brightwater Holidays

08-Aug-2019

The tour was well managed, the sites visited were all interesting and linked to the theme of the Picts and their place in history, the hotel was comfortable and the coach journeys were well paced. I have been with Brightwater before and will certainly travel with them again

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Alan Hawkes (Google Reviewer)  

We were on the Tour...

28-Aug-2022

We were on the Tour of the Outer Hebrides. We had a great experience, in no small part due to the excellence of the tour manager and driver.

Brightwater Holidays Custome  

Wonderful experience with brilliant information

31-Jul-2019

The most important factor was an amazing guide in Alastair Walker whose knowledge and care for clients was fantastic. The whole trips are superbly organised

Feefo Trusted Reviews
David MacLennan (Google Reviewer)  

Noted a comment on taking...

23-Aug-2023

Noted a comment on taking coaches on A814 by a local person who didn't know the facts: When the A82 was blocked and the POLICE divert you onto that road you do as instructed not what a you know are tight roads but they only way to your destination as intructed by officials. We know this route is not suitable for large vehicles but the driver does as instructed by someone in authority.

Eric Webb (Google Reviewer)  

Recent (September 2023) Scottish holiday...

07-Oct-2023

Recent (September 2023) Scottish holiday not so good. Various 'issues' to do with scheduling and organisation. I'm happy to report however that - after an interval - a letter expressing disappointment brought a full response - including a generous refund. So - with fingers slightly crossed - we'll be booking with Brightwater again in due course.

Kevin Barrett (Google Reviewer)  

The recent tour in Northumberland...

30-Sep-2023

The recent tour in Northumberland turned out to be a shambles. Our South London driver took us to Newcastle, but no guide to meet us. Next day still no guide and the bus driver attempted to salvage the tour the best he could despite having no knowledge of the attractions. Fortunately one of the passengers Googled the tides for Holy Island. No holiday guide ever showed up. Coach and hotel were fine. Do these people only offer self guided tours? Take Shearings next time.

ALEXANDRA MCQUEEN (Google Reviewer)  

Been trying to get a...

17-Oct-2023

Been trying to get a reply from them for over a week. Booked Xmas tour, confirmation said pick up subject to numbers, they never said anything when booking and theyve been paid in full. Would not recommend!

Kieran Thompson (Google Reviewer)  

Two of your tour busses...

26-Jul-2021

Two of your tour busses used the A814 from Garelochhead to Arrochar on 24th July 2021. This route is not suitable for large vehicles and your drivers should not have taken the huge coaches that way. There are clear signs at both ends of the road indicating it is not suitable for HGV's. Our car had to go off into the soft verge to allow your coaches to pass. Please amend your routes to avoid this road in future.

Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Thursday

Apr 21, 2024 - Apr 25, 2024
$1638 $1593 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $45 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Wednesday

Jul 06, 2024 - Jul 10, 2024
$1701 $1654 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $47 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Brightwater Holidays allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform brightwater holidays, 25 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Brightwater Holidays requires a minimum deposit of 15% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of brightwater holidays charges.

    At 40 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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