With the country emerging from lockdown many Scots are turning their attention to summer staycations.

The newly relaxed rules – introduced on April 23 - allow travel across the country for socialising, recreation, or exercise.

Yet it seems unlikely that Scots will be able to travel abroad any time soon, as strict self-isolation rules remain in place.

But with a wealth of history, culture, and wildlife to explore on your doorstep, staycations are the perfect way to spend this summer.

Island hopping allows travellers to see some of the most untouched and scenic parts of the country. 

Irvine Times:

So, here’s a small sample of what the Scottish Hebrides have to offer when the rules permit overnight stays.

Isle of Barra

Barra is a small, tranquil island located in the most southern point of the Outer Hebrides.

It’s only eight miles long and four miles wide, with a population of about 1300.

Barra’s rich in beautiful white sand beaches, wild grasslands, lochs, and panoramic views.

It was recently ranked first as the most beautiful island in Britain and has a distinct culture and fascinating history.

The Heaval, Barra’s highest hill, stands at 1257ft offering spectacular views of the island.

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Visitors can take a five-minute boat trip out to the Kisimul Castle, built around 1039, which sits on a rocky island.

Alternatively, you can walk on one of the island’s five beaches, fish in one of the seven lochs, or explore some of the 51 cycle routes on offer. 

You can travel to Barra via ferry from Oban or Eriskay.

Alternatively, you can travel by air from Glasgow or Benbecula.

Flying to the island is very popular as the runway isn’t made out of tarmac but isn’t sand and sea.

Barra Airport is unique as the only commercial airport in the world where scheduled flights use the beach as a runway.

Irvine Times: Plane arriving on the beach at Barra AirportPlane arriving on the beach at Barra Airport

Accommodation ranges from camping, to hostels, to hotels.

Isle of Eigg

Eigg is one of the most beautiful community owned islands in the Inner Hebrides, situated about ten miles off the Scottish West coast.

It’s one of the smallest Hebridean Island’s on the west coast at only five miles long and three miles wide.

But what it lacks in size, it makes up in beauty and character.

Eigg has a captivating history, untouched wildlife, and a vibrant community.

Visitors can canoe in the clear blue seas, watch eagles over stunning white beaches, cycle the length of the island, explore the caves, or climb Britain’s largest pitchstone ridge. 

You can travel to Eigg on ferry from Mallaig or Arisaig, or on a sailing yacht with Selkie Explorers.

Irvine Times: Sunset from the ferrySunset from the ferry

Accommodation on offer includes camping, glamping, yurts, cabins, and bothies.

Isle of Islay

Islay is known as The Queen of the Hebrides and is the southernmost island in the Inner Hebrides, just north of Northern Ireland.

It’s the fifth-largest island in the British Isles at 25 miles long and 15 miles wide, with just over 3,200 residents.

Islay is known for its peaty, smoky whiskies and is home to nine working distilleries – which is celebrated in the Islay Festival. 

The festival will run from May 28 to June 5, transforming the island with traditional music, whisky tasting, ceilidh’s, Gaelic lessons, and golf.

The island’s dramatic landscapes are widely celebrated through art.

Irvine Times: Fair Isle Fair Isle

You can reach Islay via plane from Glasgow or Oban.

Alternatively, you can take the ferry from Kennacraig near the top of the Kintyre peninsula.

There's an array of hotels on offer for travellers to book in to.