Lews Castle

Museum and Archive



Lews Castle is a Category-A listed building set within 270 hectares of grounds, overlooking the town of Stornoway. The new Museum nan Eilean adjoining the Castle hosts an exciting display of objects explaining the unique culture of the Outer Hebrides.

The refurbishment and restoration of Lews Castle, coupled with the development and construction of a new museum and archive, is an exciting and innovative project bringing world-class facilities to the historic site.

The project is being delivered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Museum nan Eilean and the ground floor of Lews Castle opened on 14 July 2016, bringing several benefits to the public:

  • Full external and ground floor restoration of Lews Castle’s historic architecture and décor.
  • A new Museum nan Eilean in a purpose-built and striking modern building sympathetic with its surroundings.
  • A fully accessible public archive open to researchers all year round.
  • A transformed ‘heritage service’ with enhanced capacity to support learning and community heritage activity throughout the islands
  • Hospitality facilities, a public café, and souvenir shop run by Natural Retreats.

Unique partnerships between the Comhairle, the British Museum and National Museums Scotland have brought significant loans to Museum nan Eilean, including six of the world famous Lewis Chessmen, discovered in Uig in 1831 and dating back over 800 years.

All images ©Isobel Martin unless otherwise stated