St Kilda Travel Guide


St Kilda is an archipelago of remote windswept, islands. It’s a great place for photographers, those with an interest in history, bird watchers, lovers of abandonment and the holy curious.

Place: St Kilda, Scotland, UK

Where: A remote group of islands 50 miles off the west coast of the Isle Of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

Remoteness:  7 / 10

Accessibility: Medium  

Overview: A group of remote Scottish islands with stunning scenery framed by the highest sea cliffs in the UK. Accompanied by a unique history centred around the St Kildan’s who abandoned the Islands in 1930.

Why visit?

Visiting St Kilda is an incredibly rewarding experience if you’re interested in experiencing remote places. Until 1930 Hirta the main island, was the remotest inhabited Island in the UK. Today it still feels incredibly cut off from civilisation.

The limited amount of visitors it receives every year adds to the exclusivity and the beauty of this as a destination. There are no crowds, just a handful of other day trippers that quickly disperse on arrival leaving you to feel like you have the place to yourself.

The vertical sea stacks around St Kilda are the highest in the UK and offer a unique opportunity to glimpse at the tens of thousands of birds that nest on them.

Today St Kilda is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is managed by the National Trust. I highly recommend becoming a member here and supporting the ongoing work they carry out.



Cleitans are small stone bothies that were built to store birds feathers and are completely unique to St Kilda. 

How to get to St Kilda

As far as remote places go it is relativity easy to get to and makes a great day trip from the Outer Hebrides. It is only possible to reach St Kilda by boat.

Firstly get to the Isle of Harris by air or sea. Flybe run direct flights from Glasgow to Stornaway. From Glasgow it is easy to connect to other European destinations. 

Use my fare finder to find the best price on flights.

Calmac ferries make regular crossings from Harris and Lewis to the mainland and the Isle of Skye. For more in depth information on how to reach the Outer Hebrides please see my guide here. 

From Harris you can take a day trip to St Kilda with one of these tour operators.

Kilda Cruises

Sea Harris

Prices start from £185 for a day trip with around 4 hours ashore. 

Go to St Kilda offer a day trips from the Isle of Skye which is connected to the mainland if you don’t mind a longer boat trip and are not planning on visiting Harris. 

The National Trust for Scotland also offer a multi day cruise which visits St Kilda. Find out more here.

st kilda day trip

Get treated to stunning landscapes. 

What to do on St Kilda:

The typical day trip will give you around four and a bit hours ashore. In this time it is possible to:

  • Explore the abandoned street on Hirta and contemplate what life must have been like for the people that lived here.
  • Visit the museum to learn about the fate of the St Kildan’s and their unique way of life.
  • Walk up Conachair to get the best views over the sea stacks.
  • Visit the National Trust gift shop and get your postcards stamped.
  • As you depart Hirta admire the birdlife on Boray and admire the vertical granite sea stacks before heading back to the Hebrides.

If you prefer a longer visit the National Trust  run a basic campsite which I would recommend if you are a photographer looking to take pictures in various different light.

I visited St Kilda in August and you can read my day trip review of visiting St Kilda here

st kilda

The view over village bay where the boat lands.

st kilda scotland

You are free to explore the abandoned village.

My Top Travel Tips for St Kilda:

  • Book in advance. There is limited capacity when visiting St Kilda and spaces sell out months in advance, particularly in the peak season of July and August.
  • If you are prone to sea sickness consider taking seasickness medication before embarking on the boat crossing.
  • When booking allow yourself a time allowance for bad weather. Most boat operators will ask you to book a two day window to give you the best chances of your trip operating.
  • Dress for the weather. It’s quite possible you will experience four seasons in one day on St Kilda so waterproofs are a must along with plenty of warm, removable layers even in the summer months. I also recommend strong, sturdy footwear if you plan to hike up one of the hills.
  • Bring your own food and drink with you. There is nowhere to buy any supplies on the island. It’s sensible to take a packed lunch and some snacks to keep you going along with a flask of warm drink. If you plan to go for a hike bring a bottle of drinking water.
Stac Lee

Stac Lee in rough seas.

When to go:

St Kilda is open to the public when the boats are running from approximately May through till September depending on the weather. The later in the season the more increased chance of bad weather. July and August is peak season in Scotland so book well in advance if you plan to travel in these months. Consider June as option as it has the longest light hours and is outside of school holidays.

Where To Stay:

There is no accommodation available for overnight stays on St Kilda. The National Trust do run a small campsite with very basic facilities. If you stay overnight on the Island you have to buy two return tickets which doubles the cost of the voyage out there. You also have to carry all your supplies with you. As the weather is interchangeable there is also a risk you could be stranded there for longer than anticipated so carrying extra supplies is necessary.

You can read about my experience of visit St Kilda here

I highly recommend joining the National Trust as a member here to support the fantastic conservation work they do on St Kilda. You will also get free entry to properties all the over the UK as a member so it is well worth it.

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