What are the best Outer Hebrides souvenirs to buy before your holiday ends and you leave the islands?
(Or, as the case may be, the best Outer Hebrides gifts to buy from afar to remind you – or a loved one – of your favourite place.)
I’ve been thinking about this question since I spoke with Kathi from Watch Me See as part of her “Wild For Scotland” Instagram Live Series, where we chatted about all things Hebridean. In her “quick fire” round of questions, she asked me: what’s the one souvenir you should take home from the Outer Hebrides?
At first, I was stumped – not because there’s nothing nice to take home, but because there are so many brilliant souvenirs to buy as a reminder of your holiday in the Outer Hebrides that it was a tough choice to make.
After that, I decided to gather together some of my favourite Outer Hebrides gifts all in one place, and created this Outer Hebrides gift guide!
Whether you’re looking for a souvenir to take home from your holiday, a reminder of your time in the islands, or a gorgeous birthday or Christmas gift, there’s bound to be something from the islands to take your fancy. (And these are just the gifts that can be bought or ordered online – there’s a whole world of shopping to be done in the islands themselves.)
Clothing, Jewellery, and Accessories
When it comes to Hebridean clothing, it doesn’t get more “Hebridean” than Harris Tweed. I’ve written before about how the handmade cloth is inextricably linked to the place it comes from, and how an item of Harris Tweed clothing is truly an investment (a gift that keeps on giving, so to speak).
In my own wardrobe I have two Harris Tweed blazers bought at the Harris Tweed Hebrides shop in Stornoway; a Harris Tweed bag by Modren in Ness; and a lovely “snood” to keep me warm by Rarebird Designs. Other local Harris Tweed designers and businesses to browse for gifts include Tweedtastic in Stornoway (I have one of their tweed baubles on my Christmas tree), the Harris Tweed Shop in Tarbert, and Loch Roag Designs in Valtos.
Away from tweed, I can vouch for the fluffy, cosy winter hats at Active Hebrides, and if you’re in the market for some jewellery, you’ve got plenty to choose from here too. I can’t seem to stop myself from adding Karen’s modern clay earrings at Be Designed By K to my jewellery stand, and on my accessories wish list are some of the delicate, island-inspired designs by Jordane at Islewear and Ruth A. Morrison from Scalpay.
Shop Outer Hebrides clothing and accessories:
Home Fragrances and Beauty Products
Forget Jo Malone or Diptyque: the Outer Hebrides have luxury candles of their own! Whether it’s the landscape-inspired Essence of Harris candles that “bring Harris home” (you can read the sponsored blog post I wrote about their candle range here); the subscription boxes of Sandwick Bay Candles; or the chessmen candles at Isle of Lewis Candle Co (which are even on sale at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh), candle lovers are spoilt for choice.
And then there are the beauty products. As well as candles, Essence of Harris also offer different ranges of bath and body products with the same island-inspired fragrances, while the skincare company Ishga, based in Lewis, has a wide range of high-end natural organic skincare products made locally from seaweed, which has all sorts of beneficial properties and works wonders on your skin.
Shop Outer Hebrides home fragrances and skincare:
Art, Home Décor, and Paper Goods
It’s difficult to know where to start with this one, simply because I have so many different island art pieces dotted around our home that I truly love.
My Stornoway print from Donald Smith Graphics was the first thing I put up on the wall in my home office; I have multiple mini prints by Alison at Tiger Textiles (who also designed my Harris Tweed wedding bouquet); and over the years I’ve been gifted some lovely Buttercup and Wren wood designs that now have pride of place in our house.
But the short version of the story is that when it comes to home décor and paper goods, the Outer Hebrides has a wealth of talent across art, textiles, graphic design, and photography that will suit just about any taste.
Shop Outer Hebrides artwork:
Food and Drink
Well, you can’t talk about Outer Hebrides souvenirs without one of its most famous exports: food and drink!
Harris Gin remains as popular as ever, with some lovely gift packages that pair that iconic bottle with matching glasses of different styles. North Uist Distillery only opened in 2019, but their gin is already winning awards (I can personally recommend their Sloe and Bramble Gin for a festive G&T!), and Isle of Barra Distiller have added a brand new still to their distillery to increase production.
Depending on whether you’re based in the U.K. or not, you can also treat yourself to some Stornoway Black Pudding, some local smoked salmon, and other lovely foodie gifts from local shops, like Stag Bakeries. (If only they could ship their plain loaf internationally…!)
Shop Outer Hebrides food and drink:
I couldn’t write a gift guide and leave out my own favourite type of gift, could I? From thrillers to photo books, and the global sensations that are The Hebridean Baker cookbooks, there are plenty of books by island authors or set in the Outer Hebrides for you to get stuck into. There’s even a local publisher, Acair Books, whose titles have been nominated for the prestigious Highland Book Prize. I’ve already written an entire blog post dedicated to Outer Hebrides books, but I’ve listed a few below just to get you started…
Shop some of my favourite Outer Hebrides books:
The Blackhouse Trilogy by Peter May
As The Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S. Murray
The Hebridean Baker: Recipes and Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands by Coinneach Macleod
The Stornoway Way by Kevin MacNeil
The Lost Lights of St Kilda, by Elisabeth Gifford
Crowdie and Cream, by Finlay J. Macdonald
Poacher’s Pilgrimage, by Alastair McIntosh
If you’re looking for an extra special present for someone that loves the Outer Hebrides (and who might be tricky to shop for), why not give them gift of a visit to the islands – or an experience to have while they’re on holiday? From boat trips to photo sessions, restaurant meals to spa treatments, a gift like this will add a little something extra to a visit to the Outer Hebrides.
Some inspiration for Outer Hebrides experiences:
A personal fishing trip off the coast of the Isle of Lewis with Hebrides Fish ‘n’ Trips
A photo session with the likes of Clickybox Photography or Eleanor Mackay Photography. (While I can personally recommend Fiona at Sradag Creative, who took my most recent blog photos, she recently moved to Australia – but keep her in mind for when she’s back!)
A private tour of the islands, from Heb360 Tours
And there you have it: my Outer Hebrides gift guide!
These are just a few of my own favourite Outer Hebrides souvenirs and products (and a couple of things that are on my own wish list.). But if you’re looking for more island-inspired gift ideas, I highly recommend checking out the Isle 20 website, which features small businesses throughout the Scottish islands, and the Made in the Hebrides booklet, published by the local Western Isles council.
I know my own Hebridean souvenirs help remind me of the islands when I’m not there, and hopefully some of these ideas in the Outer Hebrides gift guide will do the same for you.
Have you brought home souvenirs from the Outer Hebrides, or do you have a favourite island business or maker whose products you love?
Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear what you’d include in an Outer Hebrides gift guide!
This blog post was originally published in December 2020, and updated in November 2022.
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