A beautiful island of distinctive rocks, magical caves and seabirds
See the famous hexagonal rock columns, formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions.
Follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, J M W Turner, Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth.
Listen to the astonishing acoustics of Fingal’s Cave, which inspired Mendelssohn to compose his Hebrides Overture.
Enjoy a puffin-spotting picnic on the top of the island in summer.
Escape the everyday! This little island (0.5 miles long and 0.25 miles wide) off the west coast of Scotland looks like it may be from a different planet. Its hexagonal columns were formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions and a vast blanket of lava that spread into the Atlantic Ocean. Years of waves crashing against these columns created the magnificent Fingal’s Cave.
Staffa was hardly known until 1772, when the botanist Joseph Banks highlighted the wild, natural beauty of the island. It soon became a must-see location. Famous visitors have included Queen Victoria, Lord Tennyson, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson and John Keats; all fell under the island’s spell.
Staffa came into the care of the National Trust for Scotland in 1986, a gift from John Elliott, Jr, of New York in honour of his wife Elly’s birthday.
Staffa was designated a National Nature Reserve in 2001.
Staffa is open all year.
It is surprisingly easy to visit on a boat trip from Oban, Mull or Iona. Landing is dependent on suitable weather conditions.
Experience the amazing sounds in the natural temple of Fingal’s Cave and then, in summer, watch the antics of the puffins that nest in burrows on top of Staffa’s high cliffs. The small cave at Gunna Mor (‘the cannon’) creates a dramatic and thunderous noise when waves strike the cliff below.
Staffa is one of the highlights of any family trip to the Hebrides. However, as it is an uninhabited island, there are no shops, cafés or other visitor facilities – please bring any food or drink with you.
Appropriate footwear and clothing are essential. Take care whilst walking, as there are slippery rocks and unfenced, steep cliffs.
Guided walks are available throughout the summer. Ranger-led activities to meet curriculum requirements can be organised for school groups by prior arrangement.
Due to the terrain, access onto Staffa is not advisable for wheelchair users. For those with mobility difficulties, the ferry is accessible with assistance.
There are steps to the top of the island and the path to Fingal’s Cave is uneven.