With the busy summer drawing to a close, the landscape taking on the striking autumnal hues and the dark nights (and I mean dark) giving you opportunities to spot the Northern Lights, it is the perfect time for “a get away from it all” trip.

1. It’s oh so quiet!

By October the islands have become much quieter and the arrival of the ferry winter timetable in Mid-October, with fewer sailings, brings about a notable change to the traffic on the islands. the reduced number of people means that some businesses close or have reduced hours. But lots of businesses remain open and you will notice that accommodation is a lot cheaper as well!

Image credit: Steve Malpass

2. Get blown away – literally!

Expect days of unsettled weather interspersed with incredible bright still days. It can be wild! But wild is good (even if there are days where you might fear being blown away!). The turbulent weather can result in ferries cancellations, so a wee bit of flexibility is always required (this is a true taste of island life!).

The North Atlantic Drift keeps the temperature up even though on a windy day, the chill will mean you do need to wrap up warm!

Getting on to the beach on these wild days is simultaneously exhilarating and calming.As you battle the salty wind and hear the roar of the ocean, your everyday worries start to dissipate.

Image credit: Storm Hayword

3. Starry, Starry Nights and the Northern Lights

Shorter days and an absence of light pollution make the skies extremely dark and provide a perfect opportunity to stargaze on a clear night.

If the conditions are right you may be lucky and be treated with a display of the Northern Lights – Fir Chlis in Gaelic. They can be seen from September to as late as April. Be prepared to be mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the spectacular changing colours of turquoise, green and red. 

Image credit: Rachel Keenan

4. Curl up in cosy accommodation after a long day exploring

Most hotels and self-catering cottages are open all year and tend to have a cheaper rate at this time of year!

So whether you choose a secluded cosy thatched cottage, or traditional guest house, there is nothing better than you can curling up with a good book in front of a roaring peat fire in the evenings, with a wee Hebridean tipple of your choice!

Image credit: Craig Thompsett

5. There IS still plenty to do!

  • Get on your bike or take a hike

With the quiet roads, this is a perfect time to get on your bike and a great way to explore the islands.

There are lots of walking routes from a stroll along a beach, a hike along the coast, a walk in the woods or a climb up a hill.

  • Step back in time

Visiting archaeological and historical sites such as Cladh Hallan in South Uist or the Calanais Standing Stones in Lewis

  • Sample our creative arts and traditional music

Getting inspired by the islands creative art scene at Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist and An Lanntair in Stornoway or attending a ceilidh or a traditional music session in a local bar.

  • Get closer to wildlife

Vast open views provide great opportunities to spot wildlife in their spectacular environment, so you can keep your eyes peeled for soaring eagles, elusive otters, majestic deer and ponies.

Image credit: Christian Amat

  • Taste some local food and drink

The Outer Hebrides have some of the very best seafood, smokehouses, distilleries and crofting produce. Some fabulous food vans have popped up over the last year or two which complement the restaurants, cafes, takeaways and honesty shops.

With amazing light, exhilarating wild weather, quiet roads and affordable accommodation, what’s not to like?