Last updated on May 28, 2023 by Wandering our World
Barra is a small island off the coast of Scotland. It is renowned for its dramatic cliffs and white sandy beaches, which in our opinion are some of the most beautiful in the world.
The island also has a rich history and many ancient ruins to explore. Barra is an excellent destination for nature lovers, as it is home to various birds and other wildlife and is also a popular spot for surfing, as the waves here are some of the best in the UK.
Yet despite all this island has going for it, it’s not a very popular destination when it comes to camping. However it should be!
Why? Well Barra is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a relaxing camping holiday in stunning surroundings. It is also a great place to come if you enjoy other outdoor activities such as walking, cycling and kayaking.
And if you’re planning your first Barra camping holiday you’re in the right place! That’s because right here we share our favourite campsites in Barra. We also give you information about wild camping (and some ideas for wild camping), tips and more.
- The Best Time To Go Camping In Barra
- The Best Campsites For Views & Fun
- Wild Camping In Barra
- Ideas For Wild Camping Spots in Barra
- Our Favourite Things To Do When Camping in Barra
- Free Scavenger Hunt Game
The Best Time To Go Camping In Barra
In terms of weather, the best time to visit and go camping in Barra is between April and October. This is when the weather is mostly mild and stable.
However, if you’re interested in seeing the Northern Lights, late September to October tends to be the best time to visit the island and have a chance at seeing them.
From May to August, there can be strong winds. However, this is also the time when seals come ashore, and wildflowers are in bloom. So if you don’t mind the possibility of bad weather, then this can be a great time to visit and get some spectacular photos.
Otherwise, Barra is lovely in June, July, and August. Just be aware that rain is quite likely during these months.
The Best Campsites In Barra For Views & Fun
In our opinion, camping in Barra is the best way to experience all that this island has to offer.
There are plenty of campsites to choose from, and you can even wild camp in some areas – as we will explain further below.
But whatever you choose, it’s possible to really get back to nature here and enjoy the peace and quiet of the island. Plus camping is an excellent option if you are travelling on a budget and a great way to make new friends!
If you’re looking for inspiration on where to stay, here’s a run down of the campsites in Barra:
1. Scurrival Campsite
Scurrival Campsite is a perfect place to stay while exploring the beautiful island of Barra.
This unique campsite is ideal for motorhomes, campervans, or tents and comes complete with electric hookups. The clean and well-maintained toilet and shower facilities are a great perk, as is the on-site kitchen with two sinks, hot water, microwave, seating area, and basically everything you might need for a comfortable stay.
It’s a fantastic spot for travellers who want to enjoy all the island has to offer without worrying about packing too much, and having all the facilities they need.
This campsite is situated on the north side of the Island, which in our opinion is one of the most stunning places you could pitch your tent. Why? Well, you’ll have a view of neighbouring South Uist and the Island of Eriskay!
But the best part about this campsite is that it’s only about 50m from the beach. So, you can spend your days relaxing on the sand, swimming in the ocean, and exploring the coastline.
What’s Close By
This campsite is close to the airport and ferry terminal, making it easy to get to and from Barra. It is also about a 20-minute drive to the Barra Golf Club, which is a great place to spend a day if you enjoy playing golf.
If you want to explore the island, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails nearby. And, of course, there are many beaches to relax on and explore!
There are few options for eating out and about, but the campsite has a kitchen if you want to cook your own meals.
Rates: From £7-10 per night
Address: Number 3, Eoligarry, Isle of Barra HS9 5YD
2. Barra Sands Campsite
Barra Sands Campsite is a perfect destination for those who love spending time close to nature.
This campsite, which has 16 hookups for caravans, campervans, and tents, is located at the island’s north end and is surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches.
Amenities wise, there are also purpose-built facilities for both men and women, including toilets, showers, and an inside washing area. And there’s a grey waste disposal point and a camper van brown waste disposal point. The campsite also has an outside water point.
Tent users will appreciate the fact that there are some windbreaks between pitches. Plus, since this site does not have direct beach access (although the beach is still easily accessible), it is a bit more private and quiet than some of the other Barra campsites.
What’s Close By
Near the Barra Sands Campsite is the only commercial airport worldwide that operates according to the tides! So visitors can enjoy a light meal or snack while watching planes take off and land.
You can also go snorkelling or kayaking along the Barra coast, which is dotted with beautiful sandy beaches. You can go on a boat trip to one of the numerous uninhabited islands nearby too.
Rates: From £10 per night
Address: 12, Western Isles, Eoligarry, Isle of Barra HS9 5YD, United Kingdom
3. Croft No. 2 Campsite
Croft No. 2 is a family-run business that offers stunning views of a mile-long white sandy beach, which is only a minute’s walk away! So the Croft 2 campsite is a great place to stay if you’re looking for easy access to the beach.
Despite the proximity to the sea, this campsite is well sheltered from the strong winds that are common in the Outer Hebrides, making it the perfect place to relax before going out to enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and kite surfing. In fact kayaks and paddle boards are available for hire, making it easy to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The pitches are on grass and have optional electric hookups to accommodate tents and tourers. Dogs are also welcome at the campsite.
The modern toilet and shower block is clean and convenient, and there’s also a laundry facility and dishwashing area.
What’s Close By
To enjoy the full experience of the island, guests can go on walks and hikes to explore the surrounding areas and take in a natural beauty.
For those who want to stay active, there are plenty of options such as fishing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, and wind sailing. But if you’re looking to relax, you can simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the island.
In addition to all of this, the island is perfect for swimming, cycling, and playing golf. You can also take a boat ride to visit Kisimul Castle or go on a sea tour to see other uninhabited islands in the area, such as those in the incredible remote St. Kilda archipelago.
Rates: From £12 per night
Address: 2 Eoligarry, Isle of Barra HS9 5YD, United Kingdom
4. Wavecrest Campsite
With panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and stunning sunsets, Wavecrest Campsite is the perfect place to pitch a tent or park your campervan while exploring everything the island of Barra offers.
This quaint little island is long famed for its beauty, boasting beaches, hills, machair and moor all within a small area – and this campsite is a wonderful place to experience it all.
This campsite also offers very good facilities such as showers, toilets, fresh water, electric hook-up, recycling and a toilet disposal point to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
What’s Close By
Near Wavecrest you can find Kisimul Castle at Castlebay. It is the historic seat of the Chief of the Clan MacNeil and is open to the public. The castle is perched atop the rocky Bagh, a Chaisteil islet, and it is the last remaining complete castle in the Outer Hebrides. You can explore the castle and learn about its history.
There are also plenty of hill walking and beaches nearby that you can enjoy too.
Rates: From £10-15 per night
Address: Borve, Isle of Barra HS9 5XR, United Kingdom
5. Borve Camping and Caravan Site
Right on the shore, this campsite has tent pitches, as well as hardstanding and grass pitches for caravans. The breathtaking sea views make this an idyllic spot to relax and enjoy your time on the island. You can also find places to walk and explore around the site.
This campsite has some great features including showers, toilets, a kitchen and laundry facilities. All of these features have been designed with disabled access in mind – which is fantastic.
The site is open from April to October and is perfect for all age groups. And pets are also more than welcome!
What’s Close By
For those who love the outdoors, Borve Camping and Caravan Site is the perfect opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Scottish Isles.
Nestled between the beach and machair, this campsite provides stunning views of the ocean sunset and waking up to a view of the Atlantic Ocean. With its close proximity to Seal Bay and golden beaches, you’ll never be far from things to do.
Address: 104 Borve, Isle of Barra HS9 5XR, United Kingdom
Rates: Around £15 per night
Wild Camping In Barra: The Rules & Everything You Need To Know
DISCLAIMER: Below we give general advice, but we always recommend staying in an official campsite. If you choose to go wild camping/dispersed camping, then make sure you do so with someone who already knows the area where you’re planning on camping for your own safety.
Luckily wild camping is actually allowed in Barra thanks to Scotland’s Right to Roam Act. That doesn’t mean there’s no rules though, and authorities ask campers to “tread lightly” and respect a few guidelines when pitching their tent in the wild. Those guidelines include:
- Camping away from enclosed fields, and pitching tents away from buildings, roads, and any form of historic structure.
- Campers must not disturb wildlife.
- When wild camping in Barra, it’s best to avoid campfires as you could damage the environment as a result. It is better to use a stove or storm cooker.
- Make sure you take any camping rubbish with you, and leave your pitch the same way that you found it.
The Right to Roam Act also gives you access to much of Scotland’s land and inland water, as long as it does not encroach on someone’s privacy or private land.
However there are places the law does not allow you to camp at or near. We’ve listed some of those below:
Where You Must Avoid:
- Walking in and going through buildings. An exception to that would be bothies. There are small rural huts that are used by walkers to rest – to learn more about bothies and where they are located, you can see here.
- Land clearly attached to a building like a private garden.
- Sport and football fields.
- Schools and their attached land.
- Building sites.
Now you know you’re legally allowed to go wild camping in Barra, and where to avoid, here’s some ideas for wild camping spots on the island!
Ideas For Wild Camping Spots In Barra
DISCLAIMER: The below wild camping spots have been collected from anecdotal accounts, so proceed with caution. You should always be wary of any potential dangers in a region (quarries, bogs, dangerous paths and so on) and should wild camp with someone who knows that specific area well.
Let’s be honest. One of the funnest parts about wild camping in Barra is finding your own special spot to pitch your tent for the night. After all, that’s part of the excitement of wild camping!
But, if you want a bit of help, then below are some ideas for wild camping spots in Barra.
Just make sure your tent is midge proof, and if you’re new to the area or terrain that you’re planning on camping in, then be careful. Be wary of peat bogs as well, as they do exist on parts of the island.
As always, we recommend sticking to known paths and taking a friend who knows the area well when wild camping in a new place for the first time. That’s often the best way to stay safe.
1. Loch an Duin
This freshwater loch in the middle of Barra is as remote as you can get on the island.
It’s away from the beaches – and so away from the crowds too (albeit there’s never many crowds in Barra!) – and not close to the major settlements. All of which makes this a fantastic stargazing spot.
There’s a grassy track that will take you along the shores of Loch an Duin as it’s part of the Hebridean Way Walking Route Section A. You can find that path and a map here.
2. Traigh a Bhaigh
This may be one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK thanks to the white sands and crystal clear water. And it’s a wonderful wild camping spot too.
Located on Vatersay (accessible via the causeway from Barra), you can camp on the dunes, collect shells on the sand, and swim in the water. As an added bonus there’s toilets (with an honesty box so do leave some money as a thank you) which the community have created to help campers and visitors.
There’s also a small community cafe with lovely food at good prices. So you can wild camp in style, while supporting this fantastic welcoming community!
Our Favourite Things To Do When Camping in Barra
This island may be small, but it has a lot to offer in terms of activities!
Numerous hiking trails wind around the island, and there are also beaches where you can relax and enjoy the incredible views. You can go fishing, golfing and swimming too, of course.
Here is a list of some of the best things to do in Barra:
1. Visit Kisimul Castle
Kisimul Castle is a famous castle located on a small, rocky island off the coast of Castlebay, in the south of the island.
The castle can only be reached by boat, making it a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the castle and enjoy the stunning views from the top.
The castle is believed to have been built sometime around the 1400s and is a popular destination for tourists looking to explore Scottish history.
2. Go Hiking
Numerous hiking trails are located around the island, making it the perfect place to explore on foot.
Easy trails are suitable for all fitness levels and more challenging for those who want a workout. The views from the top of the island are breathtaking, and you can even see Kisimul Castle from some of the trails.
3. Relax On The Beach
Barra is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland. The white sand and turquoise water make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy incredible views. There are also plenty of beach activities such as swimming, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.
4. Play Golf
Barra is home to one of the oldest golf courses in Scotland. The course is located on the island’s north side and offers stunning views of the sea.
Visitors can enjoy a round of golf while taking in the incredible scenery. It is also possible to take golf lessons from the pro shop.
5. Rent A Bike
The Isle of Barra is a great place to explore by bike. The island is quite compact, and the main road is a continuous loop.
You can easily rent bikes at Castlebay and cycle around the island in about one and a half hours.
However, it’s advised to take a few hours to stop at points and admire the scenery. Cycling is a great way to see Barra, and it’s a fantastic way to get around the island.
6. Go Kayaking
Kayaking is a popular activity in Barra, and there are plenty of places to rent kayaks. The island’s coastline is perfect for exploring by kayak, and you can even go on guided tours.
Kayaking is a great way to see the island from a different perspective and get some exercise at the same time. You can also go stand-up paddleboarding, another popular Barra activity.
Barra Camping: Free Scavenger Hunt Game!
If you want to keep kids entertained while camping in Barra – or want to entertain yourself – then we’ve created a printable scavenger hunt game!
Just print it out, then tick off what you find and achieve during your camping holiday.
Camping In Barra: Our Final Thoughts
Now that you know all about camping in Barra and the many things to do on the island, it’s time to start planning your trip.
Barra is a beautiful place with plenty to offer, and you’re sure to have a memorable experience. It’s an ideal destination for those who love nature and outdoor activities.