Stornoway - The Isle of Lewis

Stornoway - the capital of The Isle of Lewis the northern part of the Western Isles - is not an isle on its own, but is joined to The Isle of Harris in the south. The two islands, whilst part of the same land mass are separated by a range of mountains and each island have their own distinct character. There are around 9000 residents in Stornoway - a beautiful harbour where you can always see an array of boats - not to mention the harbour seals.
Stornoway Harbour
Stornoway is the capital of the Outer Hebrides. It is found on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis. The town has a population of around 9,000 and is the largest settlement in the Western Isles. The Stornoway harbour is one of the prettiest harbours we have seen - even seals frequent the harbour. In July the Sail Hebrides Maritime Festival is in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and is a
Stornoway Pictures Gallery
Lews Castle - Stornoway

sailing event for all types of vessel, ranging from dinghies to yachts. The harbour hosts a fishing fleet which is of course less than when Stornoway had its heyday in the fishing industry. There is a marina with moorings for pleasure craft, and you often see large yachts which are attracted to Stornoway.

Stornoway's shops and Pubs
Though small Stornoway does host a range of shops some of which provide the local handicrafts including of course the famous "Harris Tweed" items. You can learn more about the traditional ways of weaving at the Lewis Loom Centre.

As with all towns inevitably there are a few "High Street" stores such as M & Co and Boots, however there are still plenty of local shops, bakeries, butchers and the large local store in the centre of Stornoway - Murdo Maclean & Sons Ltd which stocks a wide range of Kitchen items, curtains and soft furnishings as well as Ladies clothing













There are a selection of pubs in the centre of Stornoway - one of the largest is the MacNeils in Cromwell Street which has a great atmosphere and many locals meet there.

There are of course larger piers which cater for the commercial traffic. The ferries carry the tourists to and from mainland Scotland - where the ferries dock in Ullapool.

Stornoway also has the bus station. The main public transport buses set off and reach out to all parts of the island - Ness, Tolsta, Carloway and the West side, Lochs and indeed Harris.

There is also a small but busy airport at Stornoway, where flights travel to and from, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Benbecula.

Education also holds a high presence in Stornoway - with the Lews Castle College - being part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. There are primary schools and also the Nicholson Institute which is the secondary school with more than one thousand pupils

Stornoway Castle

The castle is a splendid sight, and its grounds are host to the island's only woodland of any significance – mixed forest planted and carefully tended and cared for - trees are rare elsewhere on account of the acidic soil.

Residents visit and use the castle grounds to walk, jog and cycle, and the 18-hole golf course in the castle grounds has some panoramic views over the Minch. The castle now sits in a commanding position overlooking Stornoway.

Sport in Stornoway
Several sports feature popular in and around Stornoway, there is of course the popular golf course which sits in the Lews Castle Grounds, there is a lovely Sports centre which affords a swimming pool, gym with lots of equipment, even a running track and of course a football pitch. Football is very popular in The Western Isles with Stornoway hosting many matches for the Lewis and Harris Football League. Rugby Union is also popular in and around the island.

Music Theatre and Dance in Stornoway
There are many occasions to celebrate and enjoy music, theatre and dance in Stornoway. There is the lovely arts centre and theatre Ann Lantair in the centre of the town that hosts many theatrical performances as well as in the auditorium you often see comedians or singers and performers at concerts, along with the usual pantomimes at Xmas.

Annually Stornoway hosts the Hebridean Celtic Festival
, which takes place in the Stornoway Castle grounds, usually attracting at least ten thousand visitors and many famous musicians and groups like the Proclaimers, Runrig and Skerryvore perform.

Currently the castle is undergoing a real makeover, about £14m is to be spent in total on restoring and converting the building. The site will offer a four star hotel and will also house the Stornoway Museum

In an added coup for the Hebrides, six of the world famous Lewis Chessmen will be on show in the new museum and are predicted to be a massive crowd puller when it opens in 2015.

Stornoway was one of the main towns that were very important at this time for the fishing industry - the herring being the main popular fish.

The Herring Girls of Stornoway
Part of The Islands history envelopes and centres around the fishing industry which over the years has been of great importance.

The Herring Girls played a major role in the fishing industry. The girls were really "hardy" and have contributed greatly to The Islands history

Click Here to read about The Herring Industry in Stornoway...
Herring Girl - Stornoway Fishing Industry

Isles FM of Stornoway
Stornoway has its own radio station - Isles FM which features both Gaelic and English music, plays and local interest programmes.


BBC Alba, the public broadcasting company for mainly Gaelic programmes is also based in Stornoway.

Stornoway Black Pudding
Stornoway Black Pudding is famous the world over. It acquired PGI status which means that it is now protected from others who might produce inferior black puddings and call them "Stornoway Black Pudding".


The pudding is said to be one of the best in the world. Many visitors always take back home with them - lots of black pudding for friends and family!

The town hall was rebuilt again in 1929 after being destroyed by a fire in 1918.
Stornoway Town Hall
The Herring Industry in Stornoway
Stornoway Photograph Gallery
Stornoway Photo Gallery
The Tall Ship at The Maritime Festival
Stornoway harbour seals
Stornoway Harbour has a couple of resident seals which can be quite entertaining at times, especially when local fishermen decide to feed them, the picture above shows one of the Stornoway Harbour Seals being fed during the annual Maritime Festival Celebrations......
Stornoway Peaceful Sundays
Stornoway town centre on a Sunday is so tranquil. Mostly, Stornoway keeps the tradition - to keep Sunday as a day of rest, with most of the shops and the public houses remaining closed. Many islanders - even those who aren't religious enjoy the tranquility and peace that Stornoway offers on a Sunday......
Stornoway Castle
Stornoway castle is currently undergoing a huge makeover with over 14m pounds being spent on it. The castle will eventually also house the Stornoway Museum - which will also hold some of the famous "Lewis Chessmen". The castle grounds are stunning and many residents enjoy the area......
Stornoway Herring Girls
The Herring Girls played an important part in The history of Stornoway. The Fishing Industry afforded many families. .The work of women in the heyday of the Herring fishery has been well documented, with plays being written and performed , poetry being written about these brave hardworking girls.......
Stornoway Town Hall
Stornoway has a very colourful history, many invasions - clan fights and Norse domination. many factors contribute to making the History of Stornoway so interesting - not least the Fishing Industry. The main street in Stornoway is called Cromwell Street as Cromwell's Parliamentary forces fought to take control of the town. ......
©2014 Virtual Hebrides
Website Design and Hosting by Western Isles Web Services Ltd, Isle of Lewis Western Isles - Outer Hebrides