Places to visit

Staffa National Nature Reserve

Staffa

Staffa National Nature Reserve

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 spring.

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.