Places to Go and Things to Do
Harris is also a wonderful place for those who enjoy a slower pace of life on their holidays and a chance to rest and unwind in one of the most beautiful places on earth. You won’t find any night clubs or blaring music here, but what you will find is a warm island welcome, a peace and serenity that is hard to find in this age, and views to take your breath away!
Harris is a nature-lovers paradise, with an incredible combination of crystal-clear waters, long sandy beaches and mountains. Perfect for photographers, bird watchers and walkers who enjoy stepping off the beaten track.
You can step out of Beachside onto the very edge of Seilebost Beach, with its glistening white sand and machair grasslands bordering the often turquoise-looking sea. Drive towards Tarbert, round the edge of Loch Fincastle and ten minutes later you are at Luskentyre Beach, which has justifiably been listed as among the top ten beaches in the world. Drive towards Leverburgh and en route there is a feast of beaches to enjoy – first Horgabost, then Nisabost, then Scarista and finally Northton. All beaches to dream of and on which to take stunning pictures and store up memories for the winter months.
Places to eat: Head off south from Seilebost and you will first come to Blas Bhon Iar in Horgabost, where Richard serves the most amazing local, top quality take-away food. Next you will come to The Machair Kitchen at Talla na Mara, just a bit further along the road on the left. A couple of miles further is Scarista House Hotel, where you can enjoy fine evening dining. Keep on down the road towards Leverburgh and turn right into Northton village, where you will find Croft 36 – an amazing serve yourself stall where ready meals, home-made bread and scones etc can be purchased by putting your money into the honesty box. And just past Croft 36 is the Temple Café – a great place to refresh yourself after a walk on Northton Beach or a climb up Toe Head. Go back on the road to Leverburgh, pass the An Clachan general store and fuel stop, turn next right and go to the ferry terminal to find the Anchorage Café and restaurant, where a wide range of excellent meals can be enjoyed.
Travel in the opposite direction to Tarbert where excellent food is available in the Fish and Chip Shop, Waterside Café, the Distillery Restaurant - and the Harris Hotel for both lunches and evening dining.
There are big supermarkets in Stornoway (Coop and Tesco, 1-hour drive from Beachside), and good, well-stocked, local stores in Tarbert and Leverburgh (both 15-minutes away), where all the food basics are readily available.
Harris Tweed Shop The Harris Tweed Shop in Tarbert is a MUST-VISIT place! Absolutely packed with wonderful Harris Tweed products. And if you’re into making things yourself you can buy Harris Tweed off the roll – perfect for curtains, cushions and all sorts of craft purposes. (www.harristweedisleofharris.co.uk)
Galleries and Artists
There are many galleries on the island where top-quality paintings and island photographs can be viewed and bought. The nearest studio to Beachside is Sparrowhouse Gallery, in the old Seilebost School, where Fiona Simes paints amazing natural and wildlife scenes. Just along the road from Seilebost is Talla na Mara, where the West Harris Trust hosts a number of artists’ studios and a first-class café and restaurant (www.tallanamara.co.uk) There are many other galleries and artists’ studios scattered across the island.
Excellent salmon and sea-trout is available locally, by arrangement with the Borve Lodge Estate (01859-550358 or 07810-023255) on Lochs Fincastle and Laxdale. There are several other lochs with plenteous brown trout.
Sea fishing trips can be arranged through the Isle of Harris Sea Tours in nearby Tarbert (www.isleofharrisseatours.co.uk)
There is a unique sea-edge golf course at Scarista – ten minutes from Beachside on the road to Leverburgh, but please remember there is no golfing on a Sunday (www.harrisgolf.com)
No visitor to Harris should miss the opportunity of visiting St.Kilda, the UNESCO World Heritage site 40 miles out in the Atlantic. Astonishing bird life, amazing history, an unforgettable adventure. Fantastic day trips are organised by Kilda Cruises sailing from Leverburgh (www.kildacruises.co.uk).
Seallam! Visitor Centre, Northton
The Seallam! Visitor Centre at Northton provides exhibits to suit all degrees of interest, with a main static exhibition for the first-time visitor and changing displays for the many returning visitors.