Top Historic Sights in Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Outer Hebrides

Callanish Stones

The Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. Archaeological excavation in the 1980s proved that the main circle was erected 4,500-5,000 years ago, and the chambered tomb a few generations later. The setting has a unique arrangement, with lines of ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Callanish II

The Callanish II stone circle is one of many megalithic structures around the better-known (and larger) Callanish Stones (I) on the west coast of the isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The stone circle consists of thin standing stones arranged in the shape of an ellipse measuring 21.6 by 18.9 metres. Five of the stones are standing and two have fallen. The stones vary from 2 to 3.3 metres in height. A slab, ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Howmore Chapel

One of the most significant historic sites in the Western Isles, Howmore is a complex of churches, chapels, and a burial ground, on a site that may have been used in pre-Christian times. The main chapel dates to at least the 8th century, and may stand on a prehistoric site levelled to make way for the new buildings. Much of the site is enclosed within a short wall of 19th century provenance.There is some suggestion that t ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Dun Carloway Broch

Dun Carloway is one of the best preserved examples of a broch towers in Scotland. Broch is a type of fortification found only in Scotland. There are well over 500 of them across the country, the majority in northern and western Scotland and the islands. Brochs emerged in the Iron Age around 2,300 years ago. They stopped being built in the early centuries AD. Brochs developed from strong circular houses into tall, imposin ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

St. Clement's Church

St Clement"s Church is dedicated to Pope Clement I. According to Dean Donald Munro (in 1549), the church was built for the Chiefs of the MacLeods of Harris, who lived in Dunvegan Castle in Skye, probably from about 1520, and is not considered the first church on the site although there is no clear evidence of an older Celtic church. Munro described the church as a monastery, but as there is no evidence hinting to a m ...
Founded: c. 1520 | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Callanish III

The Callanish III stone circle is one of many megalithic structures around the better-known (and larger) Callanis Stones (I) on the west coast of the isle of Lewis. The stone circle consists of two concentric ellipses. The outer ring measures about 13.7 by 13.1 metres. It contains 13 stones, of which eight are still standing and five have fallen. The inner ring is a pronounced oval measuring 10.5 by 6.6 metres. Only four ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Lews Castle

Lews Castle was built in the years 1847-1857 as a country house for Sir James Matheson who had bought the whole island a few years previously with his fortune from the Chinese Opium trade. It was designed by the Glasgow architect Charles Wilson. In 1918, the Lewis estate including the castle was bought by industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family. He gave the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923. ...
Founded: 1847-1857 | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Steinacleit

Steinacleit is a prehistoric archeological site on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The site consists of an array of boulders which marks what is left of a chambered cairn, and possibly shows the site was overlain by a huge hall. There are ten large stone slabs surrounding the central mound. Folk legend of the Outer Hebrides states there was probably a battlefield near the location. The site is 5 ...
Founded: 3000-1500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Callanish VIII

The Callanish VIII stone setting is one of many megalithic structures around the better-known (and larger) Callanish Stones (I) on the west coast of the isle of Lewis. This is a very unusual (and possibly unique) setting, with a semicircle of four large stones on the edge of a cliff on the south of the island of Great Bernera and looking across a narrow strait to Lewis. There is no evidence that the cliff has collapsed he ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Eilean Glas Lighthouse

Eilean Glas Lighthouse was one of the original four lights commissioned by the Commissioners of the Northern Lights, and the first in the Hebrides. These lighthouses were built by Thomas Smith. Eilean Glas light was first displayed in 1789. The original tower was replaced in 1824 by Smith"s stepson Robert Stevenson. In 1852 the light was changed to a revolving system lens. The lighthouse was an early candidate for au ...
Founded: 1787 | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Rona Church

Rona, a remote Scottish island, is said to have been the residence of Saint Ronan, Abbot of Kingarth in Bute (died 737). A tiny early Christian oratory which may be as early as this date, built of unmortared stone, survives virtually complete on the island. The site of one of the most complete Early Celtic religious complexes in Scotland. North Rona was abandoned after the Viking raids, but resettled by a secular communit ...
Founded: 8th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Pobull Fhinn

Pobull Fhìnn is a stone circle on the Isle of North Uist. The name is Gaelic which can be translated as 'Fionn"s people,', 'the white/fair people', or 'Finn"s tent'. The stones were probably named after the legendary Gaelic hero Fionn mac Cumhaill. Of the several stone circles on the island, Pobull Fhìnn is the most conspicuous. It is located on the south side of Ben ...
Founded: 3000-2000 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle is a large private country house on the Isle of Harris, one of the Western Isles of Scotland. The house was built in 1865 for the 7th Earl of Dunmore, the then owner of the island. Amhuinnsuidhe was designed in the Scottish baronial style by architect David Bryce. In 2003 Amhuinnsuidhe Castle Estate purchased the castle and the fishing rights. The castle is now operated as a venue for shooting parties ...
Founded: 1865 | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Callanish IV

The Callanish IV stone circle is one of many megalithic structures around the better-known (and larger) Callanish Stones (I) on the west coast of the isle of Lewis. The stone circle forms a pronounced oval measuring 13.3 by 9.5 metres. Only five stones currently stand, but there could have been as many as thirteen. The stones range in size from 2 to 2.7 metres. In the centre is a dilapidated cairn. A small slab, 60 centim ...
Founded: 3000-2500 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Borve Castle Ruins

Borve Castle, also known as Castle Wearie, is a ruined 14th century tower house. MacGibbon and Ross attributed the building of the tower to Amie mac Ruari, wife of John of Islay, and dated it to between 1344 and 1363. It was occupied by the Macdonalds of Benbecula until the early 17th century. The ruined tower measures 18 metres by 11 metres, and 9 metres high. The walls are up to 2.7 metres thick. The entrance, in the s ...
Founded: 1344-1363 | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Teampull na Trionaid

Teampull na Trionaid ('trinity church') is a ruined 13th-century church and seminary at Carinish. Amie mac Ruari is said to have rebuilt the church in the 14th century after her divorce from John of Islay, Lord of the Isles. The ruins are protected as a scheduled monument. The Battle of Cairinish was fought near the church in 1601.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Barpa Langass

Barpa Langass is a Neolithic chambered cairn, which now survives as a massive pile of stone. It is located on a hill overlooking a dramatic landscape of barren peatland. The cairn is roughly 16 feet high, and around 82 feet across. The inner chamber is still accessible. From the east side of the tomb the narrow passage leads to a wide chamber. It is difficult to judge the original appearance of the cairn, but it has been ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Dun an Sticir

Dun an Sticir is an Iron Age broch situated approximately 9.5 kilometers north of Lochmaddy in a lake on North Uist. A building was erected on the site in the late-medieval period. Dun an Sticir was probably built in the Iron Age in the period between 100 BC and 100 AD, like most brochs. Limited excavations resulted in finds of pottery. The broch was probably inhabited during the Viking period. In the Middle Ages the bro ...
Founded: 100BC - 100AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Cladh Hallan

Cladh Hallan is an archaeological site on the island of South Uist. It is significant as the only place in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. Excavations were carried out there between 1988 and 2002, indicating the site was occupied from 2000 BC. In 2001, a team of archaeologists found four skeletons at the site, one of them a male who had died ca. 1600 BC, and another a female who had died ca. 1300 ...
Founded: 2000 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Clach an Trushal

Clach an Trushal is the tallest standing stone (Menhir) in Scotland at 5,8 metres tall. Like many standing stones, it has been said that it marks the site of a great battle, the last[citation needed] one fought between the feuding clans of the Macaulays and Morrisons - however it is actually the solitary upright stone remaining from a stone circle built about 5,000 years ago. It occupied a place within the circle, althoug ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Loch na Berie

Loch Na Berie is the site of an Iron Age Broch and associated causeway. The site was excavated in the 1980s, which identified that the Broch had survived to first floor level. Loch na Berie is roughly 16.5 meters in diameter and the walls are roughly 3 meters thick. A modern causeway made of stones robbed from the broch was built to the west of the broch, though it is thought that an ancient causeway underlies the modern ...
Founded: 100 BC - 100 AD | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Calvay Castle Ruins

Calvay Castle is a ruined castle on an islet close to the island of Calbhaigh. It is linked by a causeway from Calbhaigh, which becomes inundated at high tide. The castle may have been built by the MacRuaries of Garmoran, or by the MacNeils of Barra who were granted the lands of Boisdate in the 15th century. Bonnie Prince Charlie hid at the castle in June 1746, while fleeing from the Duke of Cumberland's troops after the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Dun Bharabhat

Dun Bharabhat is an Iron Age galleried dun (ancient fort) or 'semi-broch' situated on the island of Great Bernera. The broch stands high above the water, and is connected to the shore by a 30 metre causeway. The building is a D-shaped broch with a wall of uneven thickness. The broch measures 17 metres by 13 metres externally. The walls stand to a maximum height of 3.4 metres. The building is badly ruined, and strewn with ...
Founded: 300-200 BC | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Easter Aquhorthies Stone Circle

Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.

The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.