The “outdoor capital” of the UK is Fort William, which is situated on the bank of Lake Linnhe. This list of the top Fort William attractions and things to do will help you choose where to go.
1. Climb Ben Nevis or take pictures there
Ben Nevis, which is Gaelic for “malicious” (or “venomous”) mountain, is one of Fort William’s primary attractions. You’ll realize why this spectacular crag received its name if you find yourself stranded on it in a storm or amid dense fog.
The trek to the 4,411-foot peak of Ben Nevis takes a while—exactly eight hours going up and down. In order to experience the spectacular sunset from this top Fort William destination, many hikers decide to set up their tents for the night.
However, the ascent can be hazardous and rather steep, so first-timers and families with young children may be better off viewing the reddish granite peaks from below. If you decide to tackle the climb, come prepared with additional food, water, and clothing. It’s frequently slick and wet.
2. Nevis Range Mountain Experience reservations
As was already stated, a visit to Ben Nevis is a need on any vacation to Fort William. With the Nevis Mountain Range Experience, you can do it in style. While you ride in a mountain gondola 650 meters above the ground, your heart will race with adrenaline.
One of the most well-liked activities in Fort William is riding this gondola, which is situated on Aonach Mor, the eighth-highest mountain in Britain. Although the gondola was designed to transport skiers, it is praised for its breathtaking vistas.
The magnificence that extends in every way will leave you speechless if you’re fortunate enough to visit on a clear day. The area is covered in lakes, valleys, coniferous forests, and strewn-about farmers’ fields, and huge granite hills are all around you. To properly appreciate the pure mountain air, run across the fields, climb amid the trees, or ride a bike down the challenging slopes.
3. Steall Falls hike
At the Glen Nevis parking lot, the stroll to Steall Falls is magnificent. The soothing sounds of wind, gushing river, and footfalls on the stony road below help worry go away. The well-traveled trail to the falls is a short but occasionally slippery hike through lush, moss-covered trees that seem ready to start moving and speaking at any second. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why the creators of Harry Potter decided to use this location as the backdrop for a thrilling Quidditch match.
In the majestic Nevis Gorge, you can hear the falls before you see them. A steel rope bridge that dangles precariously over the lake below may be seen as you approach. If you intend to cross the shaky (but strong and solid) wires, it is better to wear hiking boots or a decent pair of running shoes. Your reward: a close-up view of the falls, which are almost 394 feet high and the second-highest in Scotland.
4. Cross Neptune’s Stairs on foot
This amazing feat of engineering may be seen four miles north of Fort William in the small community of Banavie. A quarter-mile-long set of locks called Neptune’s Staircase raises the canal by 19 meters to make room for boat traffic. It is still Britain’s longest staircase lock and a fascinating system to observe, having been constructed by Thomas Telford at the beginning of the 19th century.
You might be able to see the Jacobite Steam Train blowing across a neighboring bridge if you time it just so. Have your camera ready to go! Even better, you’ll be able to observe the locks in action and be in awe of how two bridges swing open to let a passing boat pass through before closing and allowing the lock to fill with water.
5. Time Travel at Old Inverlochy Castle
A trip to Scotland is not complete without visiting a castle. While some are immaculately kept historical structures that exude history, others, like the Old Inverlochy Castle, are little more than the ruins of what they once were. Don’t be deceived by that.
The Old Inverlochy Castle, built in the late 13th century, may be diminutive, but you may learn about its impressive history on the informational boards positioned all around the place. Old Inverlochy Castle, built by the Comyns of Badenoch, has been owned by various people throughout history, most frequently as a result of the conflict.
Although this modest stone structure is in danger of collapsing in many places, roaming around it gives you an idea of what it might have been like to reside near the scene of the first and second Inverlochy wars. It offers a lovely location for a picnic and is worth exploring for at least an hour.
6. Make a trip to the West Highland Museum
For a thorough examination of the history of the West Highlands, visit the West Highland Museum. You’ll find not only fascinating exhibits but also a ton of wonderfully pleasant (and informed) volunteers with whom you can quickly become friends.
The West Highland Museum, one of the Highlands’ first museums, was established in 1922 and is conveniently placed in the heart of the city. The Goldman coin collection, polished stone axes, historic pottery, stonework from a sunken Spanish galleon, and 1,500-year-old antiquities from a crannog site can all be found in this location.
7. The Jacobite Steam Train, board it
Go on the Jacobite Steam Train, er, Hogwarts Express. The Jacobite rumbles along an 84-mile stretch of railway between Fort William and Mallaig, where it is best known for its portrayal of the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.
For the best open-coach views as you pass Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch, and Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch, reserve a first-class seat. The magnificent, 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct, widely famous as the bridge to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, will also be crossed by you. A high tea reservation will add to the authenticity of your experience as you speed along the tracks.
8. Enjoy Glenfinnan Church’s beauty
It would be unfortunate if you missed this charming church on your walk into town from Mallaig if you aren’t paying attention. Easy to accomplish. As you’re driving along, taking in the lovely hillsides and the sun’s reflection off Loch Shiel, something amazing suddenly passes you by. We advise you to go more slowly and keep your eyes alert. The 1873-built church is located about 30 minutes outside of Fort William and is perched right above the lake.
This Gothic structure, also known as the Church of St. Mary and St. Finnan, is compact but striking. An inconspicuous altar is located within, behind a vivid stained-glass window with a special flower pattern. Moreover, there are memorial stones and sculptured columns dedicated to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the MacDonald clan. The view outside is absolutely breathtaking.
9. In the Treasures of the Earth Museum, rock out!
This museum is for you if you love geology. This might be one to skip if rocks are boring you. Treasures of the Earth Museum, which houses a private collection of crystals, jewels, and fossils, transforms the act of looking at rocks into a priceless experience. Where else can you explore a cave where the crystals shine and change color?
Treasures of the Earth, originally constructed as a Catholic church, is small (you’ll probably need a half hour to view everything it has to offer), but it offers an astounding variety of displays, including fossilized dinosaur skulls. It is four miles from Fort William and is located in the town of Corpach.
10. Around Saint Andrew’s Church, stroll
This charming church is located just off Fort William’s High Street on the northern end. Keep an eye out for this antique structure, which is easily missed because it is set back from the street by a churchyard and flanked by shops.
Saint Andrew’s, a part of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has a basic exterior but amazing detailed details, such as the detailing on the organ pipes and magnificent ceiling bosses. The church’s centerpiece is the Caen stone altar, but the prominent choir stalls that line the sanctuary are particularly stunning.
You’ll probably be by yourself throughout the week to enjoy the church’s stained-glass windows in seclusion and serenity. You’ll probably be asked to join the other constituents for tea if you come for a Sunday service. Stay if you’re one of the fortunate ones to get welcomed! The locals are kind, and they have fantastic tales to share.