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Fort William

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Fort William is the major town of the south-western Highlands of Scotland, sitting at the head of Loch Linnhe, a sea loch, and at the foot of Ben Nevis. The High Street is the heart of the town - here one will find most of the shops, pubs and restaurants and at its northern end, beyond the bypass, the bus and railway stations.

Get in[edit]

Loch Linnhe
Ben Nevis on a cloudy day
Fort William Map.jpg
Loch Linnhe

By bus[edit]

Several Citylink [15] coaches a day run to and from Glasgow, Oban, Kyle of Lochalsh, the Isle of Skye and Inverness. In summer a couple also go to Edinburgh via Stirling.

Shiel Buses operate up to three buses per day to and from Mallaig. More frequent services also run to Kinlochleven via Glencoe.

By train[edit]

A number of trains per day run to and from Glasgow (Queen Street) via Loch Lomond, Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Rannoch Moor on the spectacular West Highland Railway, and continue on the even more scenic route to Mallaig.

The Caledonian Sleeper [16] is an overnight sleeper train that runs direct to Fort William from London. Due to its historic popularity among the landed gentry travelling to shooting parties it is affectionately nicknamed the "Deerstalker". The train leaves Euston every evening at 8PM except on Saturdays. Fares are £120 return, but "Bargain Berths" are available down to £19 one way if you book up to 12 weeks in advance - but are notoriously hard to get on the Fort William service during peak summer season. As an alternative, you can travel on the overnight Glasgow train (which leaves Euston at 2300) and complete the journey using a day service.

Get around[edit]

The centre of Fort William is small enough to get around on foot.

In summer local buses run to Glen Nevis Youth Hostel.

Scottish Highland Tours, Telephone +44 1397 704901, offers tours from Fort William in luxury buses [17] and also offers taxis and cars from Fort William.

  • Greyhound Taxis, 131 Blar Mhor Rd Caol, 01397 705050, [1]. A family run taxi company, they cater to bikers, hill-walkers, or day trippers who don't know their way around. They have bike racks and ski racks, and a secure luggage trailer can be provided. They operate 4 & 6 seater cabs.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

  • Soak in the views along the Loch-side. However, it's worth noting that although Fort William is surrounded with spectacular scenery, the town itself suffered badly at the hands of planners, with the town cut off from the water with a busy road.
  • West Highland Museum, Cameron Square, PH33 6AJ [18]. Open M-Sa 10:00 - 16:00 (or 17:00) Free, but donations requested. Old fashioned museum of Highland history just off the pedestrianised High Street.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Climb Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in Britain. The summit is 4406 feet high with some dangerous sections very near the path to the summit. It is essential that a map and compass are carried as well as warm clothing and waterproofs. A leaflet, "Navigation on Ben Nevis", is available free in Fort William. [19]
  • Explore the Mamores if you like your mountains less populated than Ben Nevis. This is a beautiful range between Glen Nevis to the north and Kinlochleven to the south. They include a number of Munroes so you may well meet people but you may well not want to do the Ben Nevis tourist route more than once.
  • Cruise around Loch Linnhe. A boat leaves from Fort William landing pier daily at 2 hour intervals (12:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm) and taking in the views from Loch as well as local wildlife. The boat has a bar serving food and drink as well as blankets to keep people warm on the decks. Tickets are £10 per adult with concessions available. The trip lasts around 90 minutes.
  • In winter, skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Nevis Range [20], with a gondola and chairlifts up the hill.
  • In summer, there are cross country and downhill mountain bike courses at Nevis Range. The UCI mountain bike World Cup has been hosted here several times. [21]
  • From March to October one can start the Great Glen Way walk to Inverness from Fort William.
  • The Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig: Operates Monday to Friday between May and October, and also on Saturday and Sunday between June and August. Timetable information can be found on the website [22]. Tickets can be bought via the West Coast Railways website. Tickets can also be bought from the guard on the train, subject to availability, but not from any manned ticket offices or on board any other train.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Shops on the High Street offer a wide choice of Scottish dresses, woollenware, mementos and of course Scotch whisky. For many souvenirs, each clan has a particular design and colour, although bear in mind that this is generally a marketing exercise for tourists! However, if you really want a hip flask/scarf/whisky bottle with your chosen tartan or crest, a wide variety is generally on display. New to the High Street is the recently opened Highland Bookshop. It is an independent bookshop which carries a wide selection of books on Scottish culture as well as traditional fiction and non-fiction. Many of the tour operators bringing in tourists provide a lunch break at Fort William.

Eat[edit][add listing]

The local meat and fish has a good reputation and when in Scotland trying haggis is a must. Vegetarian options are almost always available and for those that like a little less lung in their meals vegetarian haggis is delicious.

Drink[edit][add listing]

It is Scotland and so one need not worry about availability of drinks. The in-thing is single malt whisky but tourists also have a wide choice of popular branded blends. Note that, as in many other Scottish towns, it is illegal to drink in public places like the High Street.

  • The Volunteer Arms.  edit
  • Ossians. Fort William's answer to a nightclub.  edit
  • Cobbs at Nevisport. A typical mountaineer's bar, with beards, woollen jumpers and whisky.  edit
  • The Crofter Bar.  edit
  • The Maryburgh Inn. Fort William's only cellar bar. Well worth it for the experience alone.  edit
  • The Grog & Gruel (The Grog). Fort William's only 'Good Beer Guide' listing. Famous for it's array of ales and beers, which change on a regular basis.  edit
  • The Ben Nevis Bar (The Jack). Reasonably priced, great views over Loch Linnhe and not all that busy.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Chase The Wild Goose Hostel [23]. Located in the nearby village of Banavie. £9.50-£16.50/night. Private rooms available.
  • Bank Street Lodge [24] good quality hostel accommodation in the town centre. Dorm beds from £14/night.
  • Glen Nevis Youth Hostel [25]. Several kilometres from town, but convenient for Ben Nevis and the West Highland Way. The hostel was completely refurbished in 2018.
  • The Ben Nevis Inn. A great base camp if you intend to climb Ben Nevis. The bunkhouse has three (no door) 8 bed dorms and a kitchen with decent showers. It's a pub with good food served above the bunkhouse. 5 minute drive from town.  edit

Mid Range[edit]

  • Achintee Farm, Glen Nevis, +44 1397 702240 (), [2]. £34 per person per night; Cottage Self-Catering Weekly - £295 to £395; Hostel Twin/Triple Room £14 per person per night; Hostel Dormitory (sleeps 5) £12.50 per person per night.  edit
  • Aros Ard, Seafield Gardens, +44 1397 704142 (), [3]. Aros Ard is situated in an elevated position in Seafield Gardens. In a peaceful cul-de-sac with private parking, about 10 minutes walk from Fort William Town Centre. Enjoys excellent views across Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour Hills. from £30.00 per person per night (based on 2 people sharing).  edit
  • Ashburn House, Achintore Rd, Fort William PH33 6RQ, +44 1397 706000 (), [4]. Luxury Bed and Breakfast in Fort William.  edit
  • B&B Mrs P Paterson, 13 Seafield Gardens, +44 1397 703158. Clean, modern and good value B&B about 10mins walking distance from the town centre.  edit
  • Best Western Imperial Hotel, [5]. Restaurant & bar. Friendly staff. from £40 per night.  edit
  • Burntree House, Lochview Drive, Lochview Estate (in Loch View Estates), +44 7833 586323 (fax: +44 1397 701735), [6]. Single Room: £30.00 - £39.00, Double Room: £45.00- £60.00, Family Room: £60.00 - £79.00.  edit
  • The Corran Inn, (half way between Fort William and Glencoe, 10 minutes drive from the town), [7]. This comfortable loch-side Inn specializes in providing everything needed to explore this beautiful part of Scotland.  edit
  • The Moorings Hotel, Banavie, +44 1397 772797 (, fax: +44 1397 772441), [10]. From £ 39-£ 67 per person per night..  edit
  • St Anthonys, Argyll Road, +44 1397 708496 (), [11]. Prices start at £25 per person per night with discounts for children aged under 15. There is no charge for children aged under 5..  edit
  • Torlinnhe Guest House, Achintore Road, +44 1397 702583 (), [12]. Prices from £27.50 per person. Reductions available for stays of 3 days or more..  edit


  • The Garrison, High Street, Fort William, Inverness-shire. PH33 6EE (Built on the site of the Old Police Station, on the High Street of Fort William), 01397 602 021 (), [14]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. The Garrison Hotel, 4-star, boutique hotel.  edit


  • Glen Nevis Campsite [26] Good facilities in very nice scenery, at the foot of Ben Nevis. Be warned that it can have a lot of midges during the summer months!


The Library at the East end of the High Street (opposite Nevisport) has free internet access and there is also the "college" at Morrisons Supermarket.[27].

Get out[edit]

  • Loch Ness is a popular tourist site on the A82 road to Inverness.
  • Glencoe – stunning views, among the best in the Highlands.
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