Lews Castle is situated in a spectacular position overlooking Stornoway harbour and was built by opium baron Sir James Matheson in 1847. The Castle was later owned by Lord Leverhulme who gave it and the surrounding estate to the people of Stornoway in 1923. After several years as a college, the Castle fell out of use and has recently undergone a phased four year period of renovation and re-development.
Lews Castle now provides an innovative heritage and hospitality destination. A new museum and archive on the site of former glasshouses is linked to the restored public rooms of the castle via a glass roofed courtyard over the former service quarters to incorporate a café and shop. The final phase of the project involves development of the upper floors of the Castle to provide luxury holiday accommodation featuring 24 bedrooms, some with adjoining living spaces.
The £19m project is led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the European Regional Development Fund and a private sector partner.