ScotRail run four trains a day (one on Sunday in winter, two in summer) from Glasgow Queen Street along the scenic West Highland Line via Arrochar (for Loch Lomond), Crianlarich, Fort William, Glenfinnan and Arisaig to Mallaig. (These trains split at Crianlarich, with part of them going to Oban, so you need to be in the right section.) The last train south is around 18:30 to reach Queen Street by midnight.
The Jacobite steam train runs April-Oct between Fort William and Mallaig, and stops by request at Arisaig. It's a six-hour excursion (depart 10:15, return by 16:00) allowing two hours in Arisaig. An adult day trip is £38 standard, £60 first class, child £21 / £33; single tickets (standard only) are £32 adult, £19 child. Mid-May to mid-Sept there's also an afternoon train (14:30 - 20:30), so you could have six hours in Arisaig, time for a boat trip to the Small Isles, by going in the morning and returning on the afternoon excursion. Trains also stop at Glenfinnan for the obligatory photo of the viaduct. The morning excursion connects with the Caledonian Sleeper from London. In previous years some of them started from Glasgow or Edinburgh, but they're don't do so in 2019.
Under your own steam, using the regular train service, you can day trip here from Fort William leaving at 08:30 or 12:00 and setting off back around 16:20 or 18:30, for only £13 adult return.
Shiel Bus 500 runs between Fort William and Mallaig stopping at Arisaig, four times per day Monday to Friday and once on Saturday and Sunday. Bus 501 also runs between Arisaig and Mallaig three times a day.
Arisaig is just off the A830, the 'Road to the Isles'. This runs west from the A82 at Fort William. Much of the A830 has been improved, so is fairly quick driving, though there are still a few tight bends.
- 1 The Land, Sea and Island Centre, ☏ . Displays about the social and natural history of the area.
- 2 The Prince's Cairn (next to the A830 road, near Beasdale). A cairn on the shore of Loch nan Uamh, marking the spot where Bonnie Prince Charlie departed for France in 1746, following the failure of the Jacobite rising.
- 3 Loch nan Uamh Viaduct. A concrete viaduct built 1897-1901 to carry the railway past the head of the loch. See "Get in" above for times when The Jacobite steam train is scheduled to cross. At the larger Glenfinnan Viaduct 15 miles east, there was a legend that a horse and cart fell into one of the bridge pylons during construction and became entombed. Modern imaging could find nothing there, but in 2001 the horse and cart were detected within the central pylon here. Alas, it was too late to save the poor horse.
- 1 Beasdale railway station, off the A830, near Druimindarroch, PH39 4NR (to the south of Arisaig on the Mallaig Extension Railway (now part of the West Highland Line)). It was built as a private convenience for a nearby house and was used during World War II as the station where SOE agents practised boarding and alighting moving trains. (The whole peninsuala area up to Mallaig was used as a training ground for the Executive's "Toughening Schools", where paramilitary skills were taught to potential agents.) The station building is privately owned after having been restored, but the platform is still in use as a request stop. It is frequented by hikers exploring the surrounding hills and wild coastline.
- The Road to the Isles Agricultural Show and Highland Games are held in early June on Camusdarach beach, midway between Mallaig and Arisaig. The 2020 event is tbc.
- Arisaig Americana is a music festival in late June. The next is probably 26-27 June 2020 but tbc.
- Arisaig Highland Games are held in July / Aug. The next event is Wed 29 July 2020.
- 1 Spar, The Harbour, PH39 4NH. Small grocery store and post office.
- The Old Library is the best option, see "Sleep".
- Or try nearby Mallaig, which has a couple of seafood restaurants.
- 1 Sunnyside Croft Touring Site, PH39 4NT (3 miles north of Arisaig off B8008), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Pitches for camper vans, caravans and tents. Pitch or tent with vehicle £10, backpacker tent £5.
- Old Library Lodge, PH39 4NH, ☏ . Pleasant 3-star with good restaurant. Closed in Jan. B&B double £120.
- The very pretty Small Isles are reached by a pedestrian ferry from Arisaig. An excursion to Eigg is a pleasant way to spend a day.