St Kilda World Heritage Site
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St Kilda World Heritage Site

Getting here

The only way to get to St Kilda is by boat.
Address St Kilda Western Isles

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 periodOpen all year, daily

Entry prices

St Kilda
Adult
Free
Family
Free
One adult family
Free
Concession
Free

Members go free

At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

Join from £4.00

Planning 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 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. 

  • A souvenir shop is open on request.
  • 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.
  • Landing charges are applicable for commercial operators. Please contact traveltrade@nts.org.uk 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:

Seabirds

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.

Plants

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.

Sheep

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?

Apart from joining a National Trust for Scotland work party*, 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.

*Applications are now closed for 2019 work parties, details for 2020 will be posted in November.

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, with space for a maximum of 6 people. The campsite must be pre-booked and visitors may stay for up to 5 nights.

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’s no guaranteed electricity supply.

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.

The campsite is open for booking at the beginning of January for the upcoming year. Please email stkildainfo@nts.org.uk or telephone 01463 732635 to find out availability.

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?

The St Kilda Club run a small shop on St Kilda where you can buy a wide range of books, postcards, clothing and DVDs. These are also available at the St Kilda Club reunion on the second Saturday in November.

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

See full accessibility information
Accessible toilet
Self-guided trail
Toilet
Walks

Accessibility

  • 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 problems and not advised for wheelchairs.
  • A paved road from the slipway leads to the top of the hill and is very steep in places. 
  • Access to the village of Hirta, where the toilet is located, is along an unpaved and uneven path. 
  • 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.