Isle of Skye Elopement Guide
How to get married on the Isle of Skye
An Isle of Skye elopement is an experience like no other. Dramatic cliffs, immense waterfalls, quiet lochs, towering mountains, picturesque fishing villages, medieval castles, and an unusual landscape give this island an other-worldly feel. If you’re seeking a Scottish adventure for your elopement, then the Isle of Skye might be the place for you.
With so many incredible places to elope, it can be hard to decide where to go. This guide is intended to help take out some of the heavy lifting from your planning process and offer you inspiration for planning a beautifully romantic wedding.
The Isle of Skye has a special place in my heart and I fell in love with it many years ago. I remember the feeling of never wanting to leave and feel that every time I come, so much so that I’m in the process of moving here! I’m also eloping to Skye in 2022.
Read further about how to plan an elopement in the Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye Elopement Locations
Outdoor Elopement Wedding Locations
Old Man of Storr
This quirky-looking feature is located in the far North of the island and is the remnants of the longest landslip in the UK. The area in front of The Storr is known as the Sanctuary. At the top you’ll have jaw-dropping easterly-views of the Sound of Rassay and mainland Scotland.
It’s only a 15 minute drive from Portree and there’s a well-maintained paid car-park at the foot of the hill. The hike up to the best viewpoint will take 45 minutes – 1 hour and follows a gravel track, which is easy enough to walk on. The ascent can be steep in places, but your hard effort will be rewarded at the top! It’s frequently voted the best view in the UK!
You can find a guide to the hiking route here.
The Quairang is one of those places which you have to see to believe! The dramatic cliffs and open plains give it a fairytale-like quality.
It’s a 40 minute drive from Portree and 25 minutes from Old Man of Storr. It sits on a single track road connecting the towns of Staffin (to the east) and Uig (to the west) and has a well maintained paid-car park. In fact, some of the best spots for your ceremony and couples portraits are less than 5 minutes’ walk! The two images you see below were taken less than 50 metres from the car park.
To fully appreciate the Quairang, I’d advise hiking in to The Table. This flat expanse of grass encases you within the jagged landscape and is the perfect spot for your elopement. It’ll take around 2 hours to hike here and back and the route is fairly flat. Check out this guide for a information on how to complete the hill circuit hike.
The Fairy Pools
Many couples love the idea of incorporating water or the sea into their ceremony. This quiet oasis nestled at the foothills of the famous Cuillin Mountains is known for its pools of deep turquoise mountain water. In the summer you’ll see people jumping in to cool down!
It’s on the west of the island 35 minutes from Portree and has a well maintained car-park and toilet. This is one of those places where the views get better the further you go, so, for your ceremony, I’d advise walking to the very top of the fairy pools, which will take around 30 minutes. The route has a slight elevation and is on a well-made gravel track.
If you’d love to explore this place a bit more, this guide will show you a 3-4 hour hike around the area.
This place is a close second for my favourite spots on Skye. A 30 minute drive along a single track road from the town of Broadford leads you to this tiny village with the best views of the Cuillin Mountains. On a clear day, you can see all the way out to the Outer Hebrides!
Elgol has a very large rock (pictured below) with a unique honeycomb texture. This is great for providing some shelter from the elements. The Elgol elopement spot pictured below is only 150 metres from the car park.
There’re a few boat trips which can take you out to the base of the Cuillin Mountains to Loch Coruisk from Elgol. It’s a very popular elopement location because the loch is beautiful and you’ll be surrounded by the towering Cuillin Mountains. The Misty Isle Boat Trips offer a private chartered boat (because it’s inaccessible by road), which is perfect for an elopement!
If impossibly tall cliffs, a feeling like you’re at the edge of the world, and views of the Atlantic ocean are what you’re after, then Neist Point is perfect! Honestly, this place took my breath away. It’s on the far North-West of the island, 1 hour from Portree.
The car park is right next to the start of the walk to the lighthouse. However, the best spot for your elopement here is on the top of the cliffs overlooking it.
Sligachan is in the middle of Skye on the east coast just by the main A87 road. The old bridge is over 200 years old and is framed perfectly by the Red and Black Cuillin mountains in the distance.
If you’re up for an adventurous walk, there are loads of opportunities to explore the local area. It only takes a 10 minute walk to make you feel like you’re in the wilderness, surrounded on either side by towering mountains.
You can find loads of beautiful hikes and walks here.
The Fairy Glen
This fairytale-like place is located above the town of Uig in the North of Skye, on the same peninsula as the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr. It was created many years ago by a landslip and is surrounded by small lochans.
This is also called Rubha nam Brathairean and is a small headland which marks the eastern-most point of Trotternish. It’s a less well-known location, but no less dramatic. The hike to and from the parking spot is 1-2 hours.
This is a beautiful beach is on the west of Skye and is made up of stones and sand. On the northern side there are dramatic vertical cliffs and a large waterfall. This is a beautiful location for an intimate elopement with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Another beautiful beach on Skye near the town of Claigan on the North-West of the island. The car park is only 4 miles from Dunvegan Castle and the beach a 1 mile walk from there.
Castle Elopement Locations
Scotland has a rich history of castles and the Isle of Skye has plenty of choice.
These castle ruins are the leftovers of a 14th-15th century castle on the Northern point of Trotternish. In the distance you can see the hills of the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
This castle sits on an off-shore rock on the South-West of Skye near the town of Tokavaig. The views out to the ocean are sensational!
Dunvegan castle is well-maintained and caters for weddings of up to 65 people. It has impressive gardens and is surrounded by beautiful woodland. It’s on the West of Skye 1 mile North of the small town of Dunvegan.
Eilean Donan Castle
Okay, this isn’t actually on the Isle of Skye, but I had to include it. It’s perhaps the most well-known castle in the area and is a very popular elopement location. It has a well-maintained car park and visitor centre with a cafe. It’s only a 15 minute drive from the Skye Bridge which takes you onto the Island. You can find more information about this beautiful castle here.
Isle of Skye Hikes for Your Elopement
The Isle of Skye is well-known for its hiking and walking opportunities. People from all over the world come here to explore its wilderness and there are plenty of hiking trails for all levels. Below are some of my favourites.
The Old Man of Storr
Distance: 2.75 miles
TIme: 1.5-2 hours
The hike up here can be steep and boggy in places, but you’ll be rewarded at the top with one of the best views in all of the UK.
You can find a guide for this hike here.
The Quiraing Hill Circuit
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
The spectacular Quiraing is a spectacular sight in Scotland. Many people only explore the first section, but the full circuit takes you past the famous Needle, Prison, and Table before returning to your start point.
You can find a guide to this hike here.
Sgurr Na Stri
Distance: 15 miles
Time: 7 – 9 hours
Okay, I know what you’re thinking – this is a long one! However, you can take the boat from Elgol to the base of Sgurr Na Stri if you’d like a shorter route. However, this route will take you deep into a remote area of the Cuillin Mountains. The view from the top of Sgurr Na Stri is absolutely incredible, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding Isles.
You can find a guide to this hike here.
Elgol Peninsula Circuit
Distance: 11 miles
Time: 6-8 hours
This wonderful circular walk offers picturesque views of the Cuillin Mountains and the islands of Rum, Eigg, and Canna. It also visits the bay of Camasunary.
You can find a guide to this hike here.
If you’d like to explore more hikes, you can find a guide with over 100 hikes on the Isle of Skye here.
Isle of Skye Elopement Accommodation
You’re spoilt for choice for accommodation for your Isle of Skye elopement. If you pull up Skye on the Airbnb website, you’ll have so many options that it can be difficult to know the best place to stay.
Below are some of my personal recommendations for the best places to stay. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always wild camp anywhere on the island.
This is located by the side of the A87 main road, which runs straight through the Isle of Skye. It’s a quaint hotel which has it’s own micro-brewery! Not only that, but it’s nestled at the heart of the Black and Red Cuillin mountains with views to die for.
The ultimate luxury glamping getaway location. This cosy cabin is near Culnacnoc and gives you spectacular views of the Trotternish Ridge. It’s also built on a large croft (farmland), so it’s got an idyllic feel to it.
This small shepherd’s hut is only a 10 minute drive west from the southern town of Broadford. It’s perfectly equipped for self-catering and is a great choice if you’re after a minimalist romantic setup.
If you want something luxurious, but still with a cosy feel, this 4-star lodge is perfect. It’s located at the shores of Loch Na Dal and has views over to the mountains and Lochs of Mainland Scotland.
This 5-star hotel features a world-renowned restaurant and immaculate rooms. It’s in Colbost, near the town of Dunvegan, on the western side of Skye.
There are so many more incredible places to stay on the Isle of Skye and I’d be happy to give you some more ideas before your elopement. Get in touch.
How to get to the Isle of Skye
Renting a car is a must when visiting anywhere in the highlands of Scotland. Although public transport is an option, it’s limited. Regardless of which airport you land at, you’re in for one of the most beautiful road trips you’ll ever do! From Edinburgh, you’ll either drive through the Cairngorms National Park and then West to Skye, or past Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. From Glasgow, you’ll drive North past Loch Lomond and then onto the A82 – a road which twists and turns through the highlands and all of its beauty.
Distance to Isle of Skye from Edinburgh Airport: 230 miles / 5 hours
Distance to Isle of Skye from Glasgow Airport: 204 miles / 4.5 hours
How to plan an Isle of Skye Elopement
When should I elope on the Isle of Skye?
It’s no secret that Scotland can throw all four seasons at you in one day! The Isle of Skye is no different and, because it’s a western Isle, it can get very windy. This means the conditions can change quickly. My advice is to embrace the elements, whatever they are!
Summer – Long days and gorgeous evening light make the summer a beautiful time to elope. However, the Isle of Skye can get very busy during these months due to tourists. Also, midges gather in swarms on less windy days and can sometimes make an enjoyable day, well, less enjoyable if you’re not used to them.
Autumn – This is my favourite time of year in Skye. The deep red and brown autumn colours fill the landscape, the sun is less harsh, and the evening light is soft and romantic. Also, it’s through the Autumn and Winter that you’re more likely to get a view of the famous Northern Lights.
Winter – Snow-capped mountains are a beautiful site, but strong winds and rain are frequent. However, the strong winds mean there’s always a break in the conditions. It’s very quiet in winter, meaning you’ll likely have all of the best places completely to yourself.
Spring – If you’re after a balance of warmer days, peace and quiet, no (notorious) midges, and the landscape blossoming out of winter, Spring is an excellent choice.
Who will conduct the ceremony?
To make your ceremony legal, you have three options: humanist, religious, or registrar.
The Humanist Society Scotland has an extensive database of registered celebrants. I’d be happy to recommend celebrants I’ve worked with, however, Rona the Humanist Celebrant is a personal favourite and is officiating my elopement in 2022.
For a registrar, you’ll need to contact the local office nearest to your chosen location. You can find a full list here. On the Isle of Skye, this is located in Portree.
For religious ceremonies, you can still get married anywhere as long as you have an authorised religious celebrant to attend and officiate. You can contact your local place of worship for guidance on this.
Is it legal to elope anywhere on the Isle of Skye?
Yes! Aside from private land, you can legally get married anywhere outdoors on the Isle of Skye. To make it legal, you’ll both need to complete a Marriage Notice Form (M10) , which currently costs £70. This must be handed in no earlier than 3 months prior to the date and no later than 29 days before.
You’ll then be issued with a marriage schedule, which needs to be collected in person by either you or your partner from 7 days before your wedding from the registrar office in Portree.
In order for your marriage to be legally registered, you must arrange for this form to be submitted to the local registrar no later than 3 days after your ceremony.
If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area, you’ll likely need a Marriage Visitor Visa, which you can apply for no earlier than 3 months before you travel – it also allows you to stay for up to 6 months. Currently, this costs £95.
You can check if you need a visa by clicking here.
Who will be my witnesses?
Anyone can act as a witness as long as they’re over the age of 16. You’re of course welcome to bring family or friends. However, if it’s just the two of you travelling, the good news is that, as your photographer, I can be a witness – it’s always an honour to do this and I’m more than happy to do it. For a second witness, it’s worth asking your celebrant if they can help provide one.
What should I wear for my elopement?
I’d recommend sturdy hiking boots, multiple layers, and a waterproof/windproof jacket for moving between locations. This will ensure you’ll be able to make the most of your wedding day. For brides, I’d recommend choosing a dress which allows for movement and is, above all else, comfortable. It’s also worth considering bringing an outdoor blanket/shawl to wrap up in and keep cosy and warm.
Isle of Skye Elopement Packages
Isle of Skye Elopement Photographer
If you’re thinking of having an Isle of Skye elopement, get in touch. I’d love to hear what you envisage for your elopement and chat through planning it. This guide just scrapes the surface of what is possible for your Isle of Skye elopement.
If you’d like to explore another stunning elopement location in Scotland, I’ve written a guide on how to elope in Glencoe here.