The beautiful natural Harbour at Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides has been recognized as a haven for nearly a thousand years. With the stunning grounds of the Lews Castle as a backdrop, the magnificent scenery of the Outer Hebrides is evident on first arrival into Stornoway, the only town on the archipelago.
The Town center is only a short stroll away from where you are docked or mostly tendered in (ships over 140 meters).
Visitors to this port and island will be welcomed with the Gaelic greeting ‘Ceud Mile Failte' (one hundred thousand welcomes)
Printable map to take along.
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Stornoway is the main town on the Isle of Lewis and is also the home of the Western Isles Council. Just over 6,000 people live in the town, which represents about a third of the Islands total population. The economy is a mix of traditional businesses like fishing, Harris Tweed and farming, with more recent influences like Tourism, the oil industry and commerce brought about by the digital revolution and communications.
Stornoway is the main port on the Island, due to its sheltered location with the ferry to Ulapool a regular visitor. The sheltered harbor is the reason for Stornoway's existence and was named by the visiting Vikings "Steering Bay" which, when phonetically translated, became the name Stornoway.
Lews Castle. Overlooking Stornoway harbor, the impressive Lews Castle (not Lewis Castle) was built in the mid 1800's by a rich merchant called Sir James Matheson of the Jardine Matheson company. Sir James bought the island of Lewis in 1844, developed this wonderful woodland area and built his mock Tudor castle. Lord Leverhume bought the building, complete with the island, in 1918, and in 1923 gave it back to the people of Lewis. Following completion of refurbishment in 2016, the Castle is now open to the public. It accommodates a fantastic museum of the Western Isles' history and culture; has a restaurant and conference center. It is well worth a visit!
The Port of Stornoway is the gateway to an island steeped in history. The Standing Stones of Callanish and the Broch at Carloway are recognized among Europe’s most famous ancient monuments. Traditionally constructed Black Houses and Norse Mills are situated within easy reach of the Port.
The local delicacy is Stornoway Black Pudding, a blood and oatmeal savory sausage product.
All shops are closed on Sunday.
The currency throughout the UK is the pound (£). You may also hear the slang term quid for pounds. Scottish bank notes are frowned upon in other parts of the UK, so change the notes before leaving Scotland.
Cash machines (ATM) or less formally 'holes in the wall' are very widely available and usually dispense £10 and £20 notes.
Visa, Mastercard and Maestro, are accepted by most shops and restaurants.
The Outer Hebrides are one of the few remaining strongholds of the Gaelic language, as evident through the traditional music of the isles and the frequent use of the language by locals. The language even features on street signs around the Hebridean islands.
Most cafe's and restaurants offer free WiFi.
The local emergency telephone number is 999, however the EU-wide 112 can also be used.
Shopping hours are in general:
Small stores 6 or 7 days a week (10am - 6pm)
Larger stores in general stay open til' 9PM
Hyper marts often 24/7
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