Ullapool is a small village on the shores of Loch Broom in Ross and Cromarty in the Scottish Highlands. It's a ferry port and most visitors are just passing through on the way to & from Stornoway on Lewis. Reasons to stay are for hill-walking and exploration of the wild mainland scenery.
Ullapool is almost 60 miles / 100 km northwest of Inverness, which has the nearest airport and railway station. Follow A835 and allow 75 mins.
By bus: Scottish Citylink Bus 961 takes 80 mins between Inverness and Ullapool. These are timed to meet the ferries so they run twice a day M-Sat and once on Sunday. An adult single is £15 and in summer you'd best book ahead.
By boat: Calmac car ferries sail between Ullapool and Stornoway on Lewis, taking about 2 hours 45 min. They sail year-round, with two sailings M-Sat, one on Sunday Nov-Mar and two Apr-Oct. Single fare is about £50 per car and £10 per passenger including driver.
Ullapool is small and easily viewed on foot, but you'll need your own wheels to get around the countryside.
The main attraction of Ullapool is the beautiful situation it is in beside the loch and surrounded by typical west Highland scenery. The town itself is pretty and can be wandered around in half an hour or so. Most people also end up walking over to the pretty but still functioning harbour, down to the loch or up the hill behind the town that, for very little effort, provides a wonderful view over the town and over to the Summer Isles.
- 1 Ullapool Museum, 7 & 8 West Argyle Street, IV26 2TY, ☎ . May - Sept Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Museum in a Thomas Telford church built in 1829, with temporary exhibitions.
- Ullapool is a great base for walkers and Munro-baggers - see Ullapool walks for details of many routes.
- There are cruises to the nearby Summer Isles in the boat 'The Summer Queen' and, for the more adventurous, on a speedboat (a RIB).
- Ullapool is remote enough that there is little skyglow and on a clear night the milky way is visible if one travels more than a few miles out of the village.
Festivals and events
Ullapool is one of the most 'happening' places in the highlands with frequent live concerts and events. Much of the best musical talents of the highlands make Ullapool a regular venue with concerts in the Ceilidh Place, Seaforth and Macphail Centre (a theatre attached to the newly built secondary school). There are also a number of annual festivals:
- Ullapool Book Festival. weekend in May: 10-12 May 2019. One of the best small book festivals around.
- 1 Loopalu, Ullapool pier. End Sept/beginning Oct: 27-28 Sep 2019. An increasingly popular rock music festival. adult £90.
- 2 Ullapool Guitar Festival, MacPhail Centre. 3 days in October. An acoustic guitar festival.
Ulapool has a number of shops and two banks (Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland).
For the essentials
- 1 Tesco, Latheron Lane, IV26 2XB. M-Sa 7:00-22:00 Su 8:00-20:00. A reasonably well stocked medium sized supermarket.
- 2 Food for Thought, West Shore Street, IV26 2UR, ☎ . A local butchers and seafood restaurant next to the ferry terminal. Local quality produce including smoked fish and locally caught seafood. Recommended - shop small and local.
- 3 The Frigate, Shore Street, IV26 2UJ, ☎ . A small deli attached to the coffee shop and restaurant.
- The Saturday craft and food market, Quay Street. Apr-Sep: Sat 09:00-17:00. In summer there is a weekly Saturday market selling crafts and local produce - organic vegetables, seafood, smoked cheese and fish, local bakery.
- There is a petrol station in Ullapool.
- Ullapool Bakery, Unit 6B1, Moorfield Industrial Estate, IV26 2SR, ☎ . Easter-September: Mon-Fri 09:00-13:00, Sat-Sun closed.
For the mind
Two great bookshops with a wide variety of books but specialising in Scottish books:
- The Ceilidh Place Bookshop. Attached to the hotel, cafe and restaurant (see Sleep).
- The Ullapool Bookshop, Quay Street, IV26 2UE (in the centre of town), ☎ .
For the spirit
There are a number of arts and crafts shops in Ullapool.
Two very good fish and chip shops are situated just over the road from the ferry terminal. They both claim to be award winning so take your pick. Most of the pubs serve food and there are a small number of restaurants, including an Indian.
- Essence Of India, West Lane, IV26 2UT, ☎ . An Indian restaurant with a difference. Nice and classical spicy Indian food available 7 days a week in an affordable price.
- 1 The Arch Inn, 10-11 West Shore Street, IV26 2UR (on the harbour front), ☎ . Offers a nice atmosphere and live bands.
- 1 Broomfield Holiday Park, West Lane, Ullapool, IV26 2UT, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. There's a great camping and caravan site right on the shore of Loch Broom. You can pitch right by the water and watch the Stornoway ferry come in and out of port. Has a midge eating machine. from £14 for a tent, £18 for a caravan.
- 2 The Ceilidh Place, 14 West Argyle Street, IV26 2TY, ☎ . It's a Hotel 'cum Restaurant 'cum Bookshop 'cum Cafe 'cum Pub 'cum Art's Venue. This place is in all the best books about Scotland and for good reason, its somewhere to get away from it all and chill out. There is great food downstairs, solace upstairs in the guest lounge, the rooms are comfy and if you are lucky you will catch one of the passing musicians downstairs in by the fire. Its Scottish without being tacky, you will find no Jimmy Hats or dodgy tartan here.
- 3 Ullapool Youth Hostel, Shore Street, IV26 2UJ, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:30-22:30, check-out: 10:00. Great SYHA Hostel on the sea front, a few minutes walk from the ferry pier and the Citylink Bus Stop. Good kitchen and internet access. From £18 for an adult bed, £44 for a private room.
- 4 Riverview, 2 Castle Terrace, Ullapool, IV26 2XD, ☎ . Former Bed & Breakfast now let as a complete self-catering house. All rooms have en-suite shower rooms, flat screen TV/DVD players, tea/coffee making facilities. from £600 per week.
- 5 Caledonian Hotel, Quay Street, IV26 2UG. 83 room hotel, popular with groups.
- Get on a ferry to Stornoway
- North West Highlands Geopark
- North to Achiltibuie, The Summer Isles and Lochinver
- South to Gairloch