Isle of Lewis History

The Isle of Lewis offers a wide range of attractions for visitors interested in history and archeology. Here is a small selection of the many places that history and archeology visitors can view.  The sites are not just for keen historians, the atmosphere and stunning landscapes entice all visitors, raise questions, invite your imagination to soar and creates life long memories.


The Callanish Stones

Callanish Stones

On the West side of the island stand the Callanish Stones, this is one of the largest and most complete circles in Britain and form the shape of a Celtic Cross when viewed from above. It is believed that the site was constructed between 2900 and 2600 BC. The site, as well as the many other examples of standing stone circles on the island, is an open site. Unlike Stonehenge, visitors are free to walk around the stones.

 Dun Carloway Broch


The Dun Carloway Broch is an Iron-Age,hollow walled, dry-stone structure that has been the subject of many studies over the years. Brochs are found only in Scotland and their exact use has never been established, theories remain that they were simply early day mansions, defence turrets, safe havens in time of war or huge storage buildings.

 Norse Mill

Norse Mill

Near Shawbost, and a short walk off the main road, lies two thatched-rooved buildings that were used in the past to process barley grain into meal. The mill was powered by water from the stream which originates from the nearby Loch Roinavat.

 Whale Bone Arch


In the village of Bragar, stands a 20 feet tall whalebone arch (left). The bone was taken from an 82 foot beached whale that landed nearby. Locals attempted to blow up the dead mammal but the charge failed and the jaw bone, complete with harpoon, was recovered.

Lews Castle


Situated on the edge of Stornoway, in the Castle Grounds, stands Lews Castle. Built sometime around 1850 by Sir James Matheson as a country house. Sir Mattheson funded his project after gaining incredible wealth from the Chinese opium trade. The castle was bought by Lord Leverhulme in 1918 and, after a series of failed business ventures, was gifted to the people of the island in 1923.

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village


The Blackhouse Village consists of 9 restored traditional thatched cottages. The village is found at the end of the Garenin road beside the village bay. These houses were lived in till 1974 and were the last group of blackhouses to be inhabited in the Western Isles.