The island of Hirta, in the St Kilda archipelago

St Kilda World Heritage Site

Getting here

The only way to get to St Kilda is by boat.
Address St Kilda na h-Eileanan Siar

A number of companies offer trips to St Kilda – from a day trip to a luxury cruise. An internet search will help you find what is appropriate for you.

Contact information

Telephone: 01463 732635

Get directions

Provided by Google Maps

Opening times

St Kilda

Current period Open all year, daily

Entry prices

St Kilda
One adult family

Members go free

At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

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Planning your visit

You can visit St Kilda with one of the local boat tour operators on a day trip, as part of a longer cruise or with your own boat.

We’ve made a short film to help you with your visit. Watch now

Remember to bring a packed lunch and hot drinks with you.

Avian flu

We have a confirmed outbreak of avian flu (H5N1) affecting seabirds on St Kilda. The risk to human health is very low but you may see dead birds on your visit, so please follow these simple rules to keep yourself safe:

  • Do not touch any dead or dying bird
  • Wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking
  • Report any dead birds to Trust staff (if they are marked with paint then these are ones we have already counted so there is no need to report)

What can you do to help?

H5N1 is a highly infectious disease in birds and can be spread through their faeces. You can help limit the spread to other places and species by:

  • Using the disinfectant foot mat
  • Keeping your distance from the birds

If you have been to, or are going to, another seabird colony or have birds at home please:

  • Thoroughly clean your boots, especially the soles
  • Wash your outer clothing

Thank you for your support.

Read more: The impact of avian flu at our places

Your visit

A visit to St Kilda is a special trip and if you’re well prepared you’ll get the most out of your visit. All visitors arrive at the small pier in Village Bay. If you’re arriving in your own boat please note that you must come ashore in an open tender during the hours of daylight to avoid bringing unwanted animals, such as rats, onto the island. The hulls of all boats should be recently treated with anti-fouling treatment, and chains and anchors should be clean. Please make sure that you have good walking shoes or boots and that they are cleaned before you visit, paying particular attention to the soles. Take plenty of warm and waterproof layers. You should also bring food and drink with you as there are no cafés or shops on the island.

  • There are public toilets and a tap for drinking water.
  • Please keep dogs or any other animals on board your vessel.
  • Mobile phones don’t work on St Kilda.
  • Drones are not permitted in the St Kilda archipelago.
  • Landing charges are applicable for commercial operators. Please contact for more information.

St Kilda is a very special place and we’d like to keep it that way. To do this, we need your help to avoid bringing pests and diseases to the archipelago that threaten its unique ecosystem. Both the islands and the sea around them are a World Heritage Site. The introduction of alien species is known to be the greatest threat to island ecosystems around the world.

Here are some of St Kilda’s special features that might be at risk:


The islands are home to the largest seabird colony in the north-east Atlantic and benefit from a lack of ground predators. The introduction of predators, particularly rats and mink, would have a devastating effect. Rats are often found on ships and can stow away in cargo and supplies, especially food.

  • Don’t bring vessels with closed cabins alongside the pier. Come ashore in open tenders which are easier to check are free of rats.
  • Ensure that all stores landed are in closed containers and are checked for signs of rats.


St Kilda has a unique but restricted flora. Plants that are common on the mainland may be absent from St Kilda and it’s important to avoid bringing in seeds. Plant diseases are often spread in mud or dead leaves.

  • Scrub your boots and equipment clean of mud before landing on St Kilda.


The native Soay sheep are remarkable relics of sheep domesticated in the Iron Age or even earlier. They could be decimated by the introduction of disease. Some diseases are spread in dog faeces.

  • Please don’t bring dogs and pets ashore.

Marine life

Although you seldom see it, the marine life on the reefs and underwater caves around St Kilda is spectacular. Many of the coastal areas of mainland Scotland are threatened by introduced species such as the carpet sea squirt and Japanese wireweed. If they arrived here they could smother and destroy our native marine life. There are limited ways in which these can reach this remote archipelago, but transfer on the hulls of boats, on anchors and in ballast water is possible.

Please ensure:

  • hulls of all vessels visiting St Kilda are regularly anti-fouled and are free of growth of fouling organisms.
  • anchors and chains are rinsed free of mud and other material before entering St Kilda waters.
  • no ballast or bilge water is pumped out in St Kilda waters.

St Kilda FAQs

How do I get to St Kilda?

The best way to get to St Kilda is by one of the charter boats that operate from the Western Isles, Skye and the mainland. For details of times and prices, contact the charter boat operators directly.

How long does it take to get there?

The journey time is dependent on weather and tide conditions, as well as the type of boat chartered. Boats from the Western Isles can take between 3 and 6 hours; from the mainland it can take up to 18 hours. There are times when boats have to turn back due to bad weather.

Can I stay on St Kilda?

The only accommodation for visitors is a small campsite on the main island of Hirta. The campsite must be pre-booked and visitors may stay for up to 5 nights. This year, the campsite is open from 20 April–11 August and 23 August–14 September.

You’ll have shared use of showers and toilets and access to a drinking water supply. Please note there’s no mobile phone reception, Wi-Fi or other internet access.

There are no shops on St Kilda. You’ll have to bring what you need with you, including a cooking stove and all the food for your stay, plus additional supplies in case your departure is delayed.

We charge £20 per person per night for the facilities. Please pay the ranger directly on the island – cheque or cash only. All proceeds will be spent on the islands to further our conservation work.

Please email to find out availability. We will start to take bookings for 2024 from 4 January.

Does anyone live there?

There are no permanent residents on St Kilda today. But the main island of Hirta is occupied all year round by the people who work on the military base, now almost entirely a civilian workforce. National Trust for Scotland staff are resident on the island from April to September every year. Trust work parties visit the islands during the summer months, and many researchers spend time there studying all aspects of the natural and cultural history.

Where can I buy postcards and other souvenirs?

We have a limited range of souvenirs available in the Honesty Shop in the school, accessed through the church. You can also buy souvenirs of your visit online from the St Kilda Club.

Who was St Kilda?

The name St Kilda is misleading as there never was a St Kilda associated with islands. It was first used instead of Hirte, or Hirta, on a map published in 1540, but for an island near Lewis. On a map of 1592 it was used for the St Kilda archipelago.

The word may be a corruption of the Old Norse word ‘Skildir’, meaning shield, and possibly refers to the shape of the islands when viewed from a distance at sea.

Who looks after the sheep?

At the time of the evacuation, Blackface sheep were removed from Hirta, but still remain on Boreray. Two years later, Hirta was restocked with Soay sheep from the neighbouring island of Soay. These sheep have remained there ever since, with almost no active management by people. This extraordinary population of sheep has been the subject of scientific study since the mid-1950s, initially under the Soay Research Team and latterly as part of a larger, more detailed research project carried out by the Soay Sheep Project. In particular, the study aims to examine the patterns of population growth and decline and to determine the reasons for any changes.

For more information about planning your visit please see our frequently asked questions.

Facilities & access

  • All access to St Kilda is by boat and tender.
  • On the island there are uneven path surfaces, therefore access is difficult for visitors with mobility or visual problems and not advised for people using wheelchairs.
  • The approach up to the Manse from the jetty is slippery in places and the gradient is much greater than that recommended for pushing a person in a wheelchair.
  • A paved road from the slipway leads to the top of the hill and is very steep in places.
  • Access to the village is along an unpaved rough track, which is often muddy and is very uneven.
  • The souvenir shop is accessible along a paved surface.

We have an ongoing programme of accessible content development. Detailed accessibility guides for the most visited Trust places are available on our Accessibility pages as well as links to useful resources.

We’d love you to visit the Euan’s Guide website to review the accessibility of Trust places and tell us (and others) what’s good and where we need to do better.

Self-guided trail