The biggest west coast town for hundreds of miles, Fort William’s nightlife spans historic pubs, whisky saloons, cocktail joints and even a nightclub or two. We’ve got the lowdown on all the best bars, pubs and clubs in town.
Activities in Fort William
The highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis is a towering 1,345m above sea level and just 20 minutes by car from our Fort William hotel. It’s a popular tourist destination, with more than 125,000 walkers and climbers taking to the now dormant volcano using either the Mountain Track (best for beginners) and the much more adventurous Carn Mor Dearg Arête climb, which can take around 10-11 hours to complete. Alternatively, get the mountain gondola from the base of the mountain and check out the spectacular 600m cliff drops during the 15-minute ride. There’s a café at the top which provides great views over Aonach Mor (and a cracking hot chocolate).
Be prepared for changeable weather, with summer the best time to make your climb. And should you feel competitive, the record to the top currently stands at just under 90 minutes!
Ben Nevis Distillery
Jacobite Steam Train
Indulge your inner steam train fan with a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train, a 41-mile trip that runs from Fort William to Mallaig, taking in some incredible scenery on the way including Loch Eil, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and Arisaig. Harry Potter fans will immediately recognise the territory – the train and route are the same ones used in the film. You can catch either the morning or afternoon service and even order high tea, champagne or chocolates to your seat.
Ben Nevis Distillery
The west coast of Scotland is prime whisky-making territory, and the Ben Nevis Distillery is a great way to see how the liquid gold gets made. Located at the base of Ben Nevis, the distillery has been using local water drawn from Allt a’Mhuilinn for their whisky for nearly 200 years, with the tour providing a valuable insight into the production process as well as plenty of opportunities for tasting. There’s also an on-site café and well-stocked shop where you can pick up a range of whisky-related products.
West Highland Museum
Founded in 1922, the West Highland Museum in the centre of Fort William retraces the history of the region and its people through the ages. Spread over three floors and seven rooms, the museum covers archaeology, wildlife, the military and Highland life, as well as an extensive collection of Jacobite-era artefacts including a stunning Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait.
Located in Banavie, just four miles from Fort William, Neptune’s Staircase is an incredible feat of engineering that raises the Caledonian Canal by 19m over a quarter of a mile. Built from 1803 to 1822, it’s the longest staircase lock in Britain and takes around 90 minutes for barges and boats to navigate the amazing structure.
While you’re there, hire a bike from the Rockhopper Hire Hub and cruise down the waterways, or even hire a canoe or kayak and get out on the water. A word to the wise, Bodenham Arboretum is not free, and the price of tickets changes with the seasons of the year but at roughly a few pounds for adults it's worth it for a peaceful afternoon outdoors.
Treasures of the Earth
Home to the finest collection of crystals, gemstones and fossils in Europe, the Treasures of the Earth museum is located several miles north of Fort William in the village of Corpach. With dinosaur dung, a life-size T-rex skull and fossils that are nearly one billion years old, there’s plenty to captivate hearts and minds young and old, while the well-stocked shop has plenty of goodies and gifts to take away.