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What islands to visit with children

Colwyn Bay, North...
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What islands to visit with children

Hi all you experts on the Western Isles.

We have hired a motorhome for 2 adults and 2 10 yr old girls for 15th - 22nd August.

My question is this....we are picking the motorhome up in Stornoway and I want to know which islands to visit and for how long. It looks likes Skye has the most to do for the kids but hubby wants to explore Lewis, Harris and The Uist's which sounds lovely but I am worried the girls will be a bit bored of stunning scenery.

All the comments I have read seem to recommend booking all the ferries well in advance which will mean we can't make a decision on the day as to whether to stay or go somewhere.

This diminishes somewhat the reason for having a motorhome whereby we can on impulse and go somewhere else if we want a change of view.

Have read much about the midges but we have decided to not let them get us down.

Any help with entertaining 2 girls and where to go will be much appreciated......thanx, Anna

Scotland
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1. Re: What islands to visit with children

It seems strange that you would hire a motor home on Lewis and then pay to take it to Skye. It would be considerably cheaper to hire on the mainland if you want to tour Skye. The bridge from the mainland to Skye means you needn't pay for ferry fares.

The Western Isles ie Lewis, the Uists and Barra are stunning but how bored the girls will be depends on what they like to do and also what kind of weather you get.

If you get dry warm weather I wouldn't worry. The beaches are stunning and there are water sports and so on. If its wet you might need to get creative. In the south of Benbecula the community high school has a swimming pool and other facilities so is a good place to keep in mind for a wet day.

You will definitely need to book ferries in advance in August.

Colwyn Bay, North...
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2. Re: What islands to visit with children

Thanks for that......we tried to get a motorhome from the mainland but left it too late so Lewis was the only one we could get.

Not bothered about paying for the ferry to Skye - just not sure how long to stay on Skye as opposed to the other islands....Hopefully the weather will be reasonable and the girls get to mooch about on the beaches as they do indeed look stunning...thanx, Anna

Aberdeen, Scotland
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3. Re: What islands to visit with children

Both the principal ferry routes to Lewis/Harris (Ullapool/Stornoway and Uig/Tarbert) have recently switched to a 'road equivalent tariff' (RET). Special offers such as 5 day returns have been discontinued and both foot passengers and vehicles are now conveyed on standard fares where returns cost double the single fare. The good news is that the RET has approximately halved standard fares and I understand the return fare for a vehicle on the Uig/Tarbert route is now about £45 (check specs of motorhome as it may be charged at a higher rate than a standard car). The ferry route to Skye has long been considerably cheaper than the route to Ullapool; that remains the case.

Aberdeen, Scotland
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4. Re: What islands to visit with children

I've just checked ferry fares as I'm headed to Harris myself next month:

Cars and motorhomes <5m £22.40

Motorhomes >5m<8m £34

Motorhomes >8m<10m £44.80

Driver/passenger £4.90 each

Children 5-15 £2.45 each

All the above are single fares.

Colwyn Bay, North...
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5. Re: What islands to visit with children

Thanks for that info...just on Caledonian MacBrayne trying to get my head round the islands.

How do I get from South Uist to Barra or should we not bother with Barra, Eriskay and Vatersay??

Thanx, Anna

Scotland
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6. Re: What islands to visit with children

You drive to Eriskay from South Uist and then take the Calmac ferry to Barra.

Barra is beautiful - it would be a shame to miss it.

Scunthorpe, United...
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7. Re: What islands to visit with children

If you do go to Barra, check up what time the plane is due. It depends on the tide. The girls will love to see it land on the beach...Have a look at the picture on:

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/852094

The cakes in the airport cafe come highly recommended too.

Have you come across this web site-

charles-tait.co.uk/library/westernislesl.html

It has lots of pictures for each of the different islands.

Undiscovered Scotland also has lots of information and pictures about where to go and what to see. It will give you lots of ideas.

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usmapindexes/west…

We've had many enjoyable holidays in the Western Isles over the years. There is information and pictures on:

…mac.com/wasleys/westisles/Menu65.html

Make sure you take the girls to the Black House in Arnol and talk to the custodians about what it was like to live in one.They love to talk about the house and are able to answer all the questions you can possibly think of.

historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/…

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/lewis/…

Eleanor

Manchester, United...
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for The Hebrides
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8. Re: What islands to visit with children

Barra is wonderful, but you only have a week. I suggest going along with your husband's plan - do Lewis, Harris and the Uists - that's enough for one week. And that gives you only one return ferry to book - Harris to Berneray for North Uist.

Harris is a gem - don't rush through it - the beaches on the west coast are idyllic (if a tad windy at times!)

Colwyn Bay, North...
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9. Re: What islands to visit with children

Thank you for all your help.......hubby is happy to not visit Skye but me and the girls still fancy a trip over.

I am going to plan a schedule and book the ferries - just hope the weather is reasonable and the midges not too bad.

What time will it go dark in August - hubby reckons it will be fairly late?

Really really looking forward to chilling out and having a break from my very busy life...

Are there plenty of places to eat or will I have to make sure the motorhome fridge is full up - apologies for sounding so ignorant but have never been north of Glasgow and have absolutley no idea what to expect so it will surley be an adventure.......Thank you again for any comments - all welcome !!

Manchester, United...
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10. Re: What islands to visit with children

It will stay light until at least 9.00 p.m. in mid-August.

Skye is more developed and touristy than Lewis and Harris, so there are more places to eat out.