Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway is part of the Heritage Service operated by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and is based in the Lews Castle Grounds on the Isle of Lewis. This is a sister museum of Museum nan Eilean, Lionacleit which is on the Isle of Benbecula.
On the page below, you can find the information you need to help plan your visit to Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway.
During your Visit: Accessibility, Admission, Baby Changing, Breastfeeding, Children, CCTV, Castle, Eating & Drinking, Exhibitions, Holidays/closures, Learning Room, Opening Times, Opening Outside Hours, Our Staff, Photography/ Filming, Toilets, Toilet Twinning
Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean is approximately 15 minute walk or a 5 minute drive from the centre of Stornoway and is located within the Lews Castle Grounds adjacent to the Lews Castle.
The address for satnav is: Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean, Lews Castle Grounds, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0XS
Travel to Lewis
There are direct flights to Stornoway Airport from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness by Loganair.
There are two ferries per day from Ullapool to Stornoway by Calmac and from Uig (Skye) to Tarbert (Harris). If you are travelling from Uist & Barra you can get a ferry from Berneray to Leverburgh (Harris).
Summer months are particularly busy so advance booking of travel is essential.
- from the ferry terminal go towards the bus station, and turn left into town. Turn right onto Kenneth Street, by the side of An Lanntair art centre. At the other end of Kenneth Street turn right onto Bayhead Street. Continue walking along Bayhead Street till you reach the first pedestrian crossing opposite the Bridge Centre. Cross here and then to the left of the Bridge Centre you will see a bridge into the Castle Grounds. Cross the bridge and continue up the steps, following the path through the trees, and then turn left at the top. Follow this path to the castle. The Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean entrance is straight ahead, beyond the castle entrance. We are the modern building to the rear of the castle accessed through the glass doors, which open automatically during opening hours.
- from the ferry terminal head north east and turn left into shell Street. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit into James Street (A866). At the next roundabout take the 1st exit into Matheson Road (B8027) continue for 0.5 miles. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit into MacAulay road and after 140 yards turn left into Willowglen Road then immediately turn left into the Lews Castle Grounds. Drive through the grounds for 0.4 miles passing the Stornoway Golf Course and the Woodlands Centre turn-off. At the top is Lews Castle and Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean. The museum parking is past the Lews Castle entrance but before you reach UHI Outer Hebrides.
- if arriving from Harris take the 3rd exit at the roundabout as you arrive in Stornoway (if arriving from north Lewis take the 2nd exit). At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit onto MacAulay road and after 140 yards turn left into Willowglen Road then immediately turn left into the Lews Castle Grounds. Drive through the grounds for 0.4 miles passing the Stornoway Golf Course and the Woodlands Centre turn-off. At the top is Lews Castle and Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean. The museum parking is past the Lews Castle entrance but before you reach UHI Outer Hebrides.
Our dedicated carpark is located past the entrance to the castle. There are a total of 38 spaces.
- Disabled parking – there are 3 marked spaces nearest to the museum entrance plus another one at the far end of the first block of parking. Please ensure you display your Blue Badge.
- Bus/coach parking – there is a drop-off parking bay at the front of the museum but the driver must remain with the vehicle to move if required. Buses can also turn and park at the far end of the second block of parking.
- Bicycles – there is a bike rack on the path that leads from the carpark to the front door of the museum.
Please note: there is no overnight parking and please do not block the loading bay at the rear of the building which is used for deliveries.
During Your Visit
Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean acknowledges that every user will have different needs and we are committed to reducing barriers to both physical and intellectual access to our collections. Museum staff are on hand to offer assistance to all – at reception and in the galleries. If you would like to discuss your access needs prior to your visit please contact us.
An accessible toilet is available to the left of reception. There are also accessible cubicles in the male and female toilets to the right of reception. Unfortunately at present we do not have a dedicated adult changing area.
Working guide and assistance animals are welcome at the museum. They should be appropriately trained, supervised and kept with you at all times, ideally wearing the appropriate tabards or harness.
There is a range of interpretation in our galleries available in Gaelic and English – including text panels, handheld information boards, audio visual films, audio systems, interactive games and artefacts.
All our films are subtitled (except the 360 degree in the first gallery which only has natural sounds of wind, rain and bird calls).
A hearing loop is fitted throughout.
A magnifying frame is available on request for anyone who needs to use it. Please ask a member of staff.
If you would prefer to visit when it is quieter please contact us in advance so we can advise the best time of day.
Fixed seating is provided in most galleries and in the long corridor for anyone who needs to take a break. There are also lightweight folding transportable stools that you can use throughout the galleries.
The building is all on one level and is fully wheelchair accessible. There is one wheelchair available for the use of visitors – please ask at reception.
Entry to the museum is by donation. Suggested donation £5 per person.
We greatly appreciate all donations.
All the money you give will be spent on special projects, new acquisitions and conservation of our collections.
Is available within the accessible toilet to the left of reception. There is also a facility available through in the café.
Our visitors are welcome to breastfeed anywhere on site.
Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
You will find more about activities and things to see and do in the museum with Families & Young People here.
Closed Circuit Television
CCTV is in use throughout Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean; images are recorded for the purpose of public safety and crime prevention, in line with Data Protection legislation.
The castle is beside Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean and is operated by Together Travel. The ground floor is open to the public and the upper floors are for accommodation guests only. Visit Together Travel’s website to see more information on the castle facilities and to book.
Eating & Drinking
To protect collections no food or drink is allowed in the galleries. Please finish up before you enter the museum.
Together Travel operate the Storehouse Café, within the castle, and there is a connecting door from the museum for all your refreshment needs.
There are three permanent exhibition galleries:
- Dùthchas | A Sense of Place – this is an immersive film which is a firm favourite with many of our visitors. The film lets you experience the changing landscapes across the Outer Hebrides from moorland, to machair, to croft, to seascapes. It also shows the changeable weather – so even if you come on a dreich wet day you can still experience the islands in glorious sunshine.
- Eileanaich | The Islanders – this gallery focuses on the people of the islands. In their own words they tell you about the reality of life on the islands versus preconceptions. This is also where you can learn where to find all the Comainn Eachdraidh | Historical Societies across the islands.
- Blas nan Eilean | A Taste of the Islands – this is the main gallery and has four sections based on the Land, the Sea, Working Life and Community Life. It finishes with Air an Stairsich | On the Threshold – a fifth section that looks to the future.
At the far end of the museum is the:
- Special Exhibitions Gallery – this gallery hosts temporary exhibitions either curated inhouse on topical local themes or touring exhibitions from other museums or organisations.
To find out what will be on during your visit please see the What’s On section.
Holidays | Closures
Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean is closed annually on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 1st January and 2nd January and the three working days between.
We are open on Good Friday and the summer local public holidays.
This is where many of our activities and events take place. It is located across the paved courtyard from reception. There are toilets and lockers available within this area for use solely by event attendees.
If you would like to hire this room for your own event see venue hire.
High Season (April – September)
Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm; Closed Sunday-Monday
Low Season (October – March)
Tuesday to Saturday 1pm – 4pm; Closed Sunday-Monday
Opening Outside Hours
If you would like to enquire about opening for a group outwith these hours please contact us for a quote.
All our staff are identifiable from their CnES badges. There will be Visitor Assistants on duty at reception and in the galleries to welcome you and to answer any questions you may have to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable visit. There will also be a Duty Manager on site whenever we are open to the public.
We will not tolerate any abuse or violence towards any visitors, contractor or any of our staff.
Photography | Filming
Visitors are permitted to use hand-held cameras within the museum for private and non-commercial purposes, but must not:
- Use flash
- Use cameras in any areas where video or photography is restricted (this will always be clearly signed)
- Make any recording or take any photograph of any person without the authorisation of that person
Non-private or commercial use of cameras/recording devices, and the use of tripods or lighting, is only allowed by prior arrangement. Please see media enquiries.
We will always let visitors know if filming or photography is taking place in the museum during their visit.
Public toilets are available to the right of reception. An accessible toilet is to the left of reception. Toilets are also available in the café next door.
Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean is one of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar public buildings participating in a scheme to make sanitary products available for free. The products, including tampons and pads, are made available in bags on the coat hooks within cubicles and individuals are invited to take as much or as little as they need. This initiative is sponsored by The Scottish Government, COSLA & Young Scot.
As bizarre as it sounds, the Museum & Tasglann toilets have been twinned; our Ladies Toilet has been twinned with a toilet in the Democratic Republic of Congo and our Gents with one in Honduras.
We are fortunate to have good sanitation and clean drinking water, yet one in four people worldwide don’t have somewhere safe, private or hygienic to go to the toilet. The human and economic impact of this is enormous. A child dies every two minutes from sanitation-related illness.
So when you visit the Museum & Tasglann, look out for the framed photographs of our twinned toilets, and if you spend a penny, please consider leaving us another donation. Even the smallest of contributions won’t be poo-pooed, for every £1 spent on sanitation a community gains £5.50 through better health and productivity.
Our twinned toilets are helping to flush away poverty! For more information visit www.toilettwinning.org.