Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Fort William
- For other places with the same name, see Fort William (disambiguation).
Sitting at the head of Loch Linnhe, a sea loch, and at the foot of Ben Nevis, Fort William is the major town of the South Western Scottish Highlands, Scotland. 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.
This is a major town and a transport hub, accessible from more-or-less anywhere in Sctoalnd.
Several coaches a day run to and from Glasgow, Oban, Kyle of Lochalsh, the Isle of Skye and Inverness. Up to three per day run to and from Mallaig and in summer a couple also go to Edinburgh, Kingussie and Aviemore.
Local buses run to Kinlochleven via Glencoe.
The Caledonian Sleeper 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.
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, ☏ . Offers tours from Fort William in luxury buses and also offers taxis and cars from Fort William.
- Greyhound Taxis, 131 Blar Mhor Rd Caol, ☏ . 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.
- 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.
- 1 West Highland Museum, Cameron Square, PH33 6AJ (just off the pedestrianised High Street). Open Mar-Dec: M-Sa 10:00 - 16:00 (or 17:00), Closed Jan, Feb. Old fashioned museum of Highland history. Free, but donations requested.
- From March to October one can start the Great Glen Way walk to Inverness from Fort William, or the West Highland Way towards Glasgow (if you decide to go it in the opposite direction).
- Climb Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in Britain. The summit is 4406 feet (1344 m) 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.
- Scramble up Ben Nevis by the Ledge Route and the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. This is a more serous route, requiring experience and proper equipment.
- 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.
- In winter, skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Nevis Range, 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.
- Walk to the Steall Falls, about 2 hours long walk ended with a waterfall.
- Jacobite steam train, ☏ . Runs from Fort William to Mallaig, operates from 17th June to 4th October. The train leaves Fort William at 10:20AM, connecting with the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston, and returns to Fort William at 4PM. This allows an hour and a half to look around Mallaig. It crosses the famous 21 arch Glenfinnan viaduct and stops at the village of Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. It also stops at the village of Arisaig on request. Tickets can also be bought from the guard on the train, subject to availability, but not from the train station office itself. £27 standard and £40 first class.
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. Many of the tour operators bringing in tourists provide a lunch break at Fort William.
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.
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.
- 1 The Volunteer Arms (the volly), High Street. A good laugh, decent beer, and well priced shorts. Dance floor, a good place to warm up before heading to the clubs.
There are many places to stay at different budget levels in and around the town. The A82 road to the south has an almost continuous row of Bed and Breakfast and guest houses stretching for about 4 km (2.5 mi) out of the centre - if booking online and you don't have a car, check the location before you book if you don't want a long walk into town and back.
- 1 Chase The Wild Goose Hostel, Banavie, PH33 7LZ (Located on the Great Glen Way just 2½ miles from Fort William in the village of Banavie.), ☏ . Backpackers’ Hostel, providing accommodation for Walkers, Cyclists, individuals on Activity Holidays, Families and Groups. Enjoy a relaxing break to the Scottish Highlands. Private Rooms available. beds £16.00 - £20.50.
- 2 Bank Street Lodge, Bank Street, PH33 6AY, ☏ . Good quality hostel accommodation in the town centre. rooms from £30, dorm beds from £14/night.
- 3 Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. Several kilometres from town, but convenient for Ben Nevis and the West Highland Way.
- 4 Farr Cottage, Corpach, PH33 7LR (near Corpach station, about 3 miles from Fort William). Dorm beds and Private/group rooms available. beds £16.50, rooms £25.
- 5 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. beds £16.50.
- 6 Achintee Farm, Glen Nevis, PH33 6TE, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. from £45 per person per night; Cottage Self-Catering Weekly - £320 to £440; Hostel Twin/Triple Room £25 per person per night; Hostel Dormitory (sleeps 5) £12.50 per person per night.
- 7 Best Western Imperial Hotel, Fraser Square, PH33 6DW. Restaurant & bar. Friendly staff. from £40 per night.
- 8 Burntree House, Lochview Drive, Lochview Estate, PH33 6UP (in Loch View Estates), ☏ , fax: . Single Room from £35, Double Room: £49 - £75, Family Room from £70.
- The Corran Inn (half way between Fort William and Glencoe, 10 minutes drive from the town). This comfortable loch-side Inn specializes in providing everything needed to explore this beautiful part of Scotland.
- Huntingtower Lodge, Druimarbin, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Prices start at £4 per person and go up to £75 per night for a double occupancy room, breakfast extra..
- The Moorings Hotel, Banavie, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. From £39-£67 per person per night.
- Rhanna, Albyn Drive, Corpach, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Cost per person per night from £25..
- St Anthonys, Argyll Road, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices start at £25 per person per night with discounts for children aged under 15. There is no charge for children aged under 5..
- inseagan hotel, Achitore Road, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Free parking, wifi in hotel all rooms are ensuite, has lovely lounge to relax in with open fire. rooms for £28.00 per/person on room only basis also £32.50 with breakfast per person.
- Inverlochy Castle hotel, Torlundy, Fort William, PH33 6SN, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Glen Nevis campsite. Maybe not the cheapest, but good facilities in very nice scenery. Be warned that it can have a lot of midges!
There is an Internet cafe in the High Street and free Internet access in the library, also on the High Street.
- Fort William is at the end (for most people) of the West Highland Way long-distance footpath from Glasgow.
- Loch Ness is a popular tourist site on the A82 road to Inverness.
- Glencoe – stunning views, among the best in the Highlands.
- Take the 42 Stagecoach bus to the Nevis Range mountain resort or to see one of the world's largest collections of crystal and gemstones and fossils at Treasures of the Earth.