What to see and do
The Isle of Skye and its near neighbour Lochalsh are at the heart of some of the finest scenery in Scotland and offer so much to see and do for a holiday. Skye has been voted by National Geographic Magazine as the 4th best island in the world to visit and is the largest of the Inner Hebrides. Located just five hours by road from Edinburgh or Glasgow, and two hours from Inverness the peninsula of Sleat is the perfect place for a holiday all year round, but it is the summer months that you'll see it at its best. Skye, just 65 miles north to south has magnificent mountains and coastline, fantastic food and drink, an amazing array of wildlife, and entertainment for all the family. You can enjoy time on the land and on the sea, whether it be to drive our scenic narrow roads or get out in a kayak and share the day with otters, seals, eagles and maybe even a dolphin or two. We've shown below just a taste of Skye and Lochalsh and would be delighted to help you plan your time here in the Highlands.
Whether you are here for a week or longer Skye offers so much to see and do. Just a few miles over the hill is Armadale Castle and Gardens, ancient seat of the MacDonalds of Sleat and one of the most popular visitor attractions on the island. The ruins of Armadale Castle are set amongst 40 acres of manicured gardens and woodlands with nature trails crossing the lovely hills. Take time to visit the acclaimed Museum of the Isles, telling the turbulent times of castles and clans, with bloody battles for the control of the land. There are castles at Dunvegan in the north and the ever popular Eilean Donan Castle is on the mainland just 7 miles from the Skye Bridge. Or closer still scramble to the ruins of castles at Dunscaith and Knock, just a few miles from Ord.
Skye offers some of the finest walking and climbing in Scotland and there are walks to suit all abilities. Across the loch from Ord are the mighty Cuillin Hills, with twelve peaks over 3000' and some climbs not for the faint hearted. Closer to home there are some lovely walks in Sleat, one being the farm track down to the Point of Sleat from Aird. This is one of the most popular and leads to the beautiful sandy beach at Camasdaraich, although most times you'll be there on your own. Just above Kinloch Lodge there is the lovely woodland walk to the ancient village of Leitir Fura, once home to woodsmen and fisherman but long since abandoned. Or if you prefer something more gentle there stroll across some of the sandy beaches in Skye at Ord, Tarskavaig, the coral beach at Dunvegan or further afield at Applecross. See the lovely Paths Leaflet for Sleat produced by the Community Council.
Scotland's west coast has some of the best wildlife watching in the country. Much of Skye is on the migration routes for whales, dolphins and basking sharks, and there is an abundance of sea-birds and marine life. In the north west of the island at Neist Point you can watch whales from the shore and if you are lucky you will see golden and sea eagles all over the island. In Ord otters are often seen in the bay or along the coast west and east of the village. There are numerous wildlife operators in Skye and Lochalsh and don't miss Calum's Seal Trips in Plockton and Misty Isle Cruises and Bella Jane/Aquaxplore in Elgol. In the island's main town of Portree there are boat trips from the harbour to see the resident population of sea-eagles on the cliff nearby. For a really great trip you can go to St Kilda from Skye, one of the most amazing days you will ever experience, subject to the Highland weather. Keep your eyes on the sky and on the sea, it's wildlife in the wild!
If you love your food and drink then Skye and Lochalsh is the place for you. There is a wonderful choice of places to eat and drink from the nearby award-winning restaurant at Kinloch Lodge, cosy pubs and bars, artisan cafe's and first class hotels. Our restaurants pride themselves on using local produce, including delicious sea-food and estate venison and beef. You may find yourself eating a sea-bass that was caught just the day before. Local salmon and langoustines are very popular and can be found at most restaurants. Skye and Lochalsh have a number of excellent micro-breweries producing a great range of beers, from the Isle of Skye Brewery in Uig, the Cuillin Brewery in Sligachan and the Plockton Brewery in Plockton. The choice is yours but the kitchen at Riverview is perfect to prepare lovely meals in the comfort of the cottage.
No holiday would be complete with a little retail therapy. We have an amazing choice of shops and galleries selling local arts and crafts, food and drink, and ceramics and pottery. Our friend Grumpy George at the Pier at Armadale is a great photographer specialising in canvas prints and has a lovely range of gifts and tweeds. At Isle Ornsay the boutique at the pier Floraidh Skye sells clothes, tweeds and accessories. In Portree there are numerous shops of all sizes and across Skye and Lochalsh there are many galleries where our talented artists display their own works of art. Follow the Skye and Lochalsh Arts Trail and see what we have to offer. Don't go home without something special from the Highlands!
Entertainment abounds in Skye and Lochalsh, and throughout the year there are events going on all over the place. Just a few miles from Ord is Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Scotland's National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture where local arts promoters SEALL produce over 50 events a year. Enjoy traditional Highlands and Islands music, jazz, theatre, opera, children's shows, contemporary dance, classical music, mime and much more. The Feis an Eilein (Skye Festival) is held each summer with great concerts and ceilidhs. All events are listed on the SEALL and Visit Sleat websites. Let us know if you'd like us to have some tickets put by for you.
It's no wonder that Skye is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK but for most times of the year you may be of your own on a beach or one of our great walks. We have some of the clearest skies in Scotland and there are now 9 Dark Sky Discovery sites across the island. We have just shown a brief taste of what to see and do, and if we can help you plan a holiday in our very special island please don't hestitate to get in touch.