15 Best Things To Do In Fort William, Scotland

15 Best Things To Do In Fort William, Scotland

By will

When it comes to breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures, Fort William in Scotland is a dream come true. As a traveler, I had the privilege of exploring this charming town nestled in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, and I can confidently say that it offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences.

From conquering the trails of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, to embarking on a scenic gondola ride up Aonach Mor, there is something for everyone in this picturesque destination.

One of the highlights of my trip was the Jacobite Steam Train adventure, famously known as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movies. As I sat aboard this historic train, I was captivated by the stunning landscapes of the West Highland Line, passing through viaducts, lochs, and mountains. It was like stepping into a magical world.

Another must-do activity is going on a serene loch cruise, where I had the opportunity to soak in the tranquility of Loch Linnhe, surrounded by stunning views of mountains and wildlife.

With a plethora of outdoor activities, delicious cuisine, and unique shopping experiences, Fort William truly has it all. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking adventure or someone who simply wants to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, this Scottish gem will leave you in awe.

Join me as we delve into the 15 best things to do in Fort William, Scotland, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Conquer the Trails of Ben Nevis

Path up Ben Nevis
Photo by Stephen McKay

If you’re up for a challenge, you’ll love conquering the trails of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the UK! Standing at a towering height of 1,345 meters, this majestic peak offers a thrilling adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

As you ascend the trails, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding Scottish Highlands, making all your efforts worthwhile.

The trails of Ben Nevis cater to different levels of difficulty, ensuring there is a route suitable for everyone. The most popular path, known as the Pony Track or Tourist Route, is a well-maintained trail that takes you through stunning landscapes of rugged beauty. As you hike, you’ll encounter picturesque waterfalls, rocky terrain, and vibrant flora that add to the allure of the journey.

Be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions, as the mountain is known for its rapidly changing climate. But don’t let that deter you, for the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the summit is unmatched. Standing atop Ben Nevis, surrounded by misty clouds and panoramic vistas, you’ll feel a sense of triumph and awe like no other.

Take a Scenic Gondola Ride up Aonach Mor

Gondolas on the way up towards Aonach Mor
Photo by Peter S

Hop on the gondola and enjoy breathtaking views as you ascend Aonach Mor. The scenic gondola ride is a must-do activity when visiting Fort William.

As you glide up the mountain, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the surrounding highlands, with rugged peaks and lush valleys stretching out before you. The journey itself is an experience that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that Scotland has to offer.

Once you reach the top of Aonach Mor, be prepared to be blown away by the stunning views that await you. On a clear day, you can see for miles, with the sparkling waters of Loch Linnhe and the majestic Ben Nevis dominating the landscape. The feeling of being on top of the world is truly exhilarating.

Take a moment to soak it all in and capture some amazing photographs to remember this unforgettable experience.

The gondola ride up Aonach Mor is not only about the views, but also offers a range of activities at the summit. You can explore the walking trails, go mountain biking, or even try your hand at skiing or snowboarding during the winter months. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking to enjoy the beauty of nature.

So, don’t miss out on this incredible adventure that will take you to new heights in Fort William.

Embark on the Jacobite Steam Train Adventure

Jacobite Steam Train over the 21 arch viaduct near Glenfinnan
Photo by Paul Ashwin

Embarking on the Jacobite Steam Train adventure is like stepping back in time as you journey through the breathtaking Scottish Highlands. The Jacobite Steam Train, also known as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films, takes you on an unforgettable ride from Fort William to Mallaig.

As the train chugs along, you’ll be treated to stunning views of rugged mountains, shimmering lochs, and picturesque villages.

The Jacobite Steam Train is famous for its iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, which spans across a picturesque valley. As the train crosses this magnificent structure, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. The steam billowing from the train’s chimney, the rhythmic clatter of the wheels on the tracks, and the sound of the whistle all add to the nostalgic atmosphere.

As you continue on your journey, you’ll pass through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Scotland. Keep your camera ready to capture the breathtaking scenery of Loch Eilt, with its tranquil waters surrounded by lush greenery. And don’t forget to look out for the sparkling silver sands of Morar, known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland.

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or simply looking to experience the magic of the Scottish Highlands, the Jacobite Steam Train adventure is an absolute must-do. It’s a journey that will transport you to a bygone era and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore the Stunning Landscapes of the West Highland Line

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Scottish Highlands as you journey along the West Highland Line, where majestic mountains, glistening lochs, and picturesque villages come together to create a truly awe-inspiring landscape.

As the train chugs along the tracks, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of rolling hills, rugged peaks, and tranquil waters. The West Highland Line is renowned for its stunning scenery, and it’s easy to see why as you pass through verdant valleys and traverse iconic bridges.

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One of the highlights of the journey is crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a magnificent structure that has become famous thanks to its appearance in the Harry Potter films. As the train gracefully glides across the viaduct, you’ll have the opportunity to snap some truly breathtaking photos.

The West Highland Line also takes you past the enchanting Loch Shiel, a shimmering expanse of water framed by lush greenery.

The train journey itself is an experience not to be missed, with comfortable seating, large windows, and the gentle rocking motion that lulls you into a state of relaxation. Whether you’re a railway enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates natural beauty, exploring the stunning landscapes of the West Highland Line is an absolute must-do when visiting Fort William.

Enjoy a Serene Loch Cruise

Take a moment to relax and unwind as you embark on a serene Loch cruise, allowing you to fully appreciate the tranquility of the surrounding waters.

As you board the boat, the gentle lapping of the waves against the hull creates a soothing soundtrack, immediately putting you at ease. The crisp, fresh air fills your lungs, invigorating your senses and preparing you for the breathtaking views that lie ahead.

As the boat sets sail, you can’t help but be captivated by the beauty of the loch. The water stretches out before you, calm and still, reflecting the stunning landscape that surrounds it. Towering mountains loom in the distance, their peaks shrouded in mist, adding an air of mystery to the scene. The lush greenery that lines the shores creates a picturesque backdrop, inviting you to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of this enchanting place.

As you glide along the Loch, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife that may make an appearance. Majestic eagles soar overhead, their wingspan casting a shadow on the water below. Playful otters dart in and out of the waves, their sleek bodies glistening in the sunlight. The occasional seal may pop its head up, curious about the visitors on board. Each moment on the Loch is a chance to witness the wonders of nature up close and personal.

The Loch cruise offers a serene and peaceful experience, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature. Whether you choose to sit back and take in the beauty around you or engage in lively conversation with fellow passengers, this leisurely boat ride is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

So, sit back, relax, and let the calming waters of the Loch wash away your worries as you embark on this unforgettable journey.

Visit the Historic Glenfinnan Monument

As I approach the historic Glenfinnan Monument, the towering structure stands proudly against the backdrop of the rugged Scottish landscape, evoking a sense of awe and curiosity.

This iconic monument holds great historical significance, marking the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in 1745, beginning the Jacobite uprising.

As I explore the site, I am captivated by the impressive 18-meter-high monument, which was erected in 1815 to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of the Jacobite clansmen who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The Glenfinnan Monument not only offers a glimpse into Scotland’s rich history, but it also provides breathtaking views of Loch Shiel and the surrounding mountains.

From the top of the monument, I can see the shimmering waters of the loch, framed by majestic peaks, creating a truly picturesque scene.

It is easy to understand why this location was chosen as a rallying point for the Jacobite cause, as the natural beauty of the area is simply mesmerizing.

As I walk around the monument, I come across an information center that provides detailed insights into the Jacobite uprising and the monument’s construction.

There are also several walking trails that allow me to further immerse myself in the stunning scenery, offering a chance to appreciate the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands up close.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, a visit to the historic Glenfinnan Monument is an absolute must when exploring Fort William, Scotland.

Discover the Beauty of the Nevis Range Mountain Resort

Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Nevis Range Mountain Resort, where stunning vistas and thrilling outdoor adventures await you.

As I arrived at the resort, I was immediately captivated by the majestic mountains that surrounded me. The Nevis Range is home to some of the most awe-inspiring peaks in Scotland, including Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the country.

The panoramic views from the resort are simply breathtaking, with snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and sparkling lochs stretching as far as the eye can see.

Not only is the Nevis Range Mountain Resort a feast for the eyes, but it also offers a wide range of exciting activities for adventure enthusiasts like myself.

One of the highlights of my visit was taking a gondola ride up Aonach Mor, the eighth highest mountain in the UK. As I ascended, I felt a rush of adrenaline as the stunning landscape unfolded before me.

Once at the top, I was treated to panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the Great Glen.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the resort offers thrilling mountain biking trails that cater to all skill levels. I couldn’t resist the temptation to hop on a bike and explore the network of trails that wind through the rugged terrain.

The exhilarating descents and challenging obstacles made for an unforgettable adventure.

After a day of outdoor activities, I treated myself to a well-deserved break at the resort’s café, where I enjoyed a warm cup of coffee while taking in the breathtaking views.

The Nevis Range Mountain Resort truly offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its stunning vistas, thrilling activities, and warm hospitality, it’s a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Fort William, Scotland.

Experience Thrilling Water Sports on Loch Linnhe

As I continued my exploration of Fort William, Scotland, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the stunning natural beauty that surrounded me. After experiencing the exhilaration of the Nevis Range Mountain Resort, I was eager to discover more thrilling adventures that this picturesque destination had to offer.

And that’s when I stumbled upon Loch Linnhe, a breathtaking body of water that beckoned me to experience the excitement of water sports.

Loch Linnhe, with its crystal-clear waters and majestic mountain backdrop, is the perfect playground for adventure seekers like myself. As I approached the shores of the loch, I could feel the anticipation building within me. I couldn’t wait to dive into the cool, refreshing waters and embark on an unforgettable water sports experience.

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From kayaking and paddleboarding to jet skiing and wakeboarding, Loch Linnhe offers a wide range of activities that cater to all levels of thrill-seekers. Whether you’re a seasoned water sports enthusiast or a beginner looking to try something new, there’s something for everyone on this expansive body of water.

As I strapped on my life jacket and prepared to paddle out into Loch Linnhe, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the sheer beauty that surrounded me. The calmness of the water mirrored the tranquility of the surrounding landscape, creating a sense of serenity that was both invigorating and peaceful. As I glided across the surface of the loch, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the panoramic views of towering mountains and lush green forests that stretched out before me. It was a truly immersive experience that allowed me to connect with nature in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or a serene escape, Loch Linnhe offers a water sports experience like no other. With its stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities, it’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to make the most of their time in Fort William, Scotland. So, grab your gear and get ready to dive into an adventure you’ll never forget.

Unwind with a Relaxing Walk along the Caledonian Canal

After an exhilarating day of water sports on Loch Linnhe, nothing beats unwinding with a relaxing walk along the peaceful Caledonian Canal.

As I stroll along the canal, I’m immediately captivated by the serenity of the surroundings. The canal is lined with beautiful trees and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The calm waters of the canal reflect the peacefulness of the area, creating a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for unwinding and reconnecting with nature.

As I continue my walk, I can’t help but appreciate the history and significance of the Caledonian Canal. Built in the early 19th century, the canal was originally designed to provide a safe passage for ships traveling between the east and west coasts of Scotland. Today, it serves as a popular recreational spot, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling city life. Along the canal, I pass by charming locks and quaint cottages, adding to the picturesque scenery.

The Caledonian Canal offers more than just a relaxing walk. There are also plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting, as the canal is home to a variety of birds and other animals. It’s not uncommon to see ducks, swans, and even the occasional otter swimming in the canal. The sound of birds chirping and the gentle lapping of the water against the canal banks create a soothing soundtrack that further enhances the experience.

A walk along the Caledonian Canal is the perfect way to unwind after a thrilling day of water sports on Loch Linnhe. The peacefulness of the canal, combined with the stunning views and wildlife sightings, makes it an ideal spot to reconnect with nature and find inner peace.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a walk along the Caledonian Canal is an experience not to be missed.

Immerse Yourself in Scottish History at the West Highland Museum

Immerse yourself in Scottish history by visiting the West Highland Museum, where you can delve into the rich heritage of the region.

Located in Fort William, this fascinating museum offers a captivating journey through time, showcasing the stories and artifacts that have shaped the area. As soon as you step inside, you are greeted by a wealth of historical treasures, from ancient weapons and traditional Highland dress to intricate Jacobite memorabilia.

One of the highlights of the West Highland Museum is its extensive collection on the Jacobite Rebellion. This pivotal period in Scottish history is brought to life through interactive exhibits and informative displays. You can learn about the famous Battle of Culloden, explore the significance of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and discover the struggles and triumphs of the Highland clans.

The museum also provides a glimpse into the local life of Fort William, showcasing the industries that have shaped the town, such as fishing, forestry, and the iconic West Highland Railway.

As you wander through the museum, the knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions and provide further insight into the exhibits. Their passion for the history of the area is infectious and adds to the overall experience.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the rich heritage of Scotland, a visit to the West Highland Museum is a must when in Fort William. It offers a captivating journey through time, allowing you to immerse yourself in the fascinating stories and traditions that have shaped this beautiful region.

Admire the Architecture of St. Andrew’s Church

After immersing myself in the rich history at the West Highland Museum, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the stunning architecture of St. Andrew’s Church.

As I approached the church, its grandeur and beauty immediately caught my attention. The church, located in the heart of Fort William, is a true testament to the skill and craftsmanship of its builders.

The architecture of St. Andrew’s Church is a blend of Gothic and Victorian styles, creating a unique and striking appearance. The intricate details of the stonework and the soaring spire make it a true masterpiece.

As I stepped inside, I was greeted by a sense of tranquility and serenity. The church’s interior is equally as impressive as its exterior, with beautiful stained glass windows that filter soft rays of light into the space. The intricate wooden carvings and the ornate altar add to the church’s overall charm and elegance.

Whether you’re a religious person or not, St. Andrew’s Church is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates architectural marvels.

Standing in the presence of such beauty and history is truly awe-inspiring.

Marvel at the Beauty of Steall Waterfall

When you visit Fort William, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the breathtaking beauty of Steall Waterfall. Located in Glen Nevis, this stunning waterfall is a true gem of the Scottish Highlands.

As you make your way along the trail towards the waterfall, you’ll be greeted by the sound of rushing water and the lush greenery of the surrounding landscape. The sight of the waterfall itself is simply awe-inspiring. With a drop of over 120 meters, the water cascades down the rocky cliffs, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. The sheer power and force of the waterfall is something that must be seen to be believed.

Getting up close to Steall Waterfall is an experience like no other. As you stand in its presence, you can feel the mist on your face and hear the thunderous roar of the water as it crashes into the pool below. The surrounding scenery only adds to the magic of the place, with towering mountains and rolling hills creating a picturesque backdrop.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even cross the wire rope bridge that spans the river just in front of the waterfall. It’s an exhilarating experience that allows you to get even closer to the natural wonder before you.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, a visit to Steall Waterfall is an absolute must when in Fort William.

Go Wildlife Spotting at Glen Coe

Explore the untamed wilderness of Glen Coe and embark on an exciting wildlife spotting adventure that will leave you in awe.

As I ventured into Glen Coe, I was immediately captivated by the rugged beauty of the landscape. Towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and lush greenery surrounded me, creating a perfect habitat for a variety of wildlife.

As I quietly made my way through the glen, my eyes were filled with anticipation, hoping to catch a glimpse of the incredible wildlife that calls this place home. Glen Coe is renowned for its diverse range of animal species, including red deer, golden eagles, otters, and pine martens.

With every step I took, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement, knowing that any moment I could stumble upon one of these magnificent creatures.

The key to successful wildlife spotting in Glen Coe is to be patient and observant. I found myself stopping frequently to listen for the calls of birds or the rustling of leaves that might indicate the presence of an animal. The quiet stillness of the glen only added to the anticipation, heightening my senses and making every sighting even more rewarding.

During my time in Glen Coe, I was fortunate enough to spot a majestic golden eagle soaring high above the mountains, its wings outstretched against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. I also caught a glimpse of a red deer grazing peacefully in a meadow, completely undisturbed by my presence. These moments were truly magical, allowing me to connect with nature in a way that’s hard to describe.

Glen Coe offers a unique opportunity to witness Scotland’s wildlife in its natural habitat. Whether you’re an avid wildlife enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of the natural world, a visit to Glen Coe is an experience not to be missed.

So, grab your binoculars, pack your camera, and get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Glen Coe’s wildlife.

Indulge in Delicious Scottish Cuisine at Local Restaurants

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and dive into the mouthwatering world of Scottish cuisine at the local restaurants in Glen Coe. As a food enthusiast, I couldn’t resist exploring the culinary delights this picturesque region has to offer.

From hearty traditional dishes to modern twists on classic recipes, Glen Coe’s restaurants have something to satisfy every palate.

One of the must-try dishes in Glen Coe is haggis. This traditional Scottish delicacy is made from sheep’s offal, onions, oatmeal, and spices, all encased in a sheep’s stomach. It may sound unusual, but trust me, the flavors are rich and savory. You can enjoy haggis in various forms, such as haggis neeps and tatties, which is haggis served with mashed turnips and potatoes. The combination of textures and flavors is simply divine.

Another local favorite is Cullen skink, a creamy soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and milk. It’s a true comfort food that warms you up on a chilly day.

Don’t forget to try Cranachan, a traditional Scottish dessert made with whipped cream, raspberries, honey, and toasted oats. It’s the perfect sweet ending to a delightful meal.

Glen Coe’s local restaurants also offer a wide range of seafood dishes, thanks to the region’s proximity to the coast. You can savor fresh seafood like mussels, scallops, and salmon, cooked to perfection. The chefs here know how to showcase the natural flavors of the ingredients, creating dishes that are bursting with taste.

Accompany your meal with a glass of fine Scottish whisky, known for its peaty and smoky notes, and you’ll have a truly memorable dining experience.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional Scottish fare or looking to try something new and exciting, the local restaurants in Glen Coe have it all. Get ready for a culinary adventure that will leave you wanting more.

Shop for Souvenirs and Local Crafts at the High Street

Don’t miss out on the chance to discover unique souvenirs and local crafts at the High Street while you’re in Glen Coe. This bustling shopping district in Fort William offers an array of options for those looking to take home a piece of Scotland.

As you stroll along the charming streets, you’ll find a variety of shops and boutiques that showcase the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans.

One of the highlights of the High Street is the opportunity to purchase traditional Scottish kilts. These iconic garments are meticulously crafted and can be customized to your specifications. Whether you’re looking for a kilt to wear on special occasions or simply want to bring home a piece of Scottish heritage, the High Street is the perfect place to find it.

In addition to kilts, the High Street is also home to an abundance of other Scottish souvenirs and crafts. From tartan scarves and woolen sweaters to handmade pottery and jewelry, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

You’ll also find a selection of locally produced food and drink, including whiskies, chocolates, and preserves. So, whether you’re looking for a memento of your trip or a unique gift for someone special, the High Street is a treasure trove of Scottish treasures waiting to be discovered.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my time in Fort William, Scotland has been nothing short of incredible.

From conquering the challenging trails of Ben Nevis to taking a breathtaking gondola ride up Aonach Mor, every moment has been filled with adventure and awe-inspiring beauty.

One of the highlights of my trip was embarking on the Jacobite Steam Train adventure. The nostalgic charm of the steam train combined with the stunning landscapes of the West Highland Line made for an unforgettable experience.

The clickety-clack of the tracks and the billowing steam created a sense of stepping back in time, allowing me to immerse myself in the rich history and natural wonders of the area.

Not only did I get to enjoy the magnificent scenery, but I also had the opportunity to indulge in delicious Scottish cuisine at local restaurants. From hearty stews to fresh seafood, the flavors of Scotland tantalized my taste buds and left me wanting more.

And let’s not forget about the shopping! The High Street in Fort William offered a plethora of souvenirs and local crafts, allowing me to bring a piece of this magical place back home with me.

My time in Fort William, Scotland has been an unforgettable journey of exploration, adventure, and incredible beauty. I highly recommend visiting this enchanting destination and experiencing all that it has to offer.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.