Wild, breathtaking landscapes, mysterious legends and heaps of long-standing traditions – yep, we’re off to the Scottish Highlands in 2020! A brand-new destination on our classic 16 Day Britain & Ireland trip, we’ll spend an epic two nights in the historic and picturesque Scottish town of Fort William. With so much to see and do in this outdoor-enthusiast haven, here is our guide to some of the best!
#1 Jump on board the Jacobite Steam Train
All aboard the Hogwarts Express! Jump on board this famous railway journey and prep allll the heart eye emojis as you travel through some of the country’s most stunning scenery. Departing twice a day from Fort William, you’ll venture past mountains, lochs and rivers as you make tracks to the busy fishing village of Mallaig. The return journey takes about six hours and includes a brief stop in the quaint Scottish village of Glenfinnan. Whether you choose the morning or afternoon service, this experience is a must for the wannabe-Highlanders out there!
#2 Get snap happy at the Glenfinnan Viaduct
Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan (sharp intake of breath), the Glenfinnan Viaduct is still a stunning spot surrounded by rich Scottish history. About a 30 minute drive from Fort William, join the assembly of Potterheads gathered to catch a glimpse of the Jacobite Steam Train (aka the Hogwarts Express) steaming over the scenic aqueduct. If you’ve got time, make sure you pay a visit to the Glenfinnan monument – a tribute to the highlanders who fought in the Jacobite Risings. Framed by the breathtaking Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel, this is the perfect place to expand on your knowledge of Scottish history (aside from those few episodes of Outlander, that is).
#3 Take to the trails around Ben Nevis
Fancy yourself as a bit of an explorer? Well lucky for you, Fort William delivers all the outdoor adventuring goods! Located just west of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the British Isles (just sayin’), this place is a hub for adventure activities, mountain ascents and walks for all capabilities. Our fave? The three to four-hour Cow Hill circuit walk. A mere 15 minute walk from Fort William town centre, this loop delivers views of Loch Eil, Loch Linnhe, Glen Nevia and its surrounding mountains. Want a challenge? Lace up those hiking boots and tackle the mighty Ben Nevis! Just excuse us if we watch from the valley floor…
#4 Get cruise-y on Loch Linnhe
Sit back, put your feet up and soak up all the ah-mazing scenery surrounding Fort William with a cruise on Loch Linnhe. Departing at various times from Fort William Town Pier, a loch cruise is a great option to see the area, soak up all the incredible views of Ben Nevis and learn more about the rich history of the Highlands. If you’re lucky, you might even see the resident seals, porpoises and dolphins. Cameras at the ready!
#5 Explore Fort William High Street
After a full day checking out the stunning scenery surrounding Fort William, make sure you save some time to explore the buzzing centre of this historic town. The cobbled high street boasts a great selection of traditional pubs where you can grab a hearty Scottish meal and throw back a whisky (or two) with your fellow #Topdeckers. Also, there’s plenty of shopping around where you can buy the ‘rents a cute souvenir or head on over to the West Highland Museum and check out the world-famous Jacobite exhibits – the best part, it’s totally free! Oh yeah, what a place!
Ready for more glens, mountains and lochs than you can shake a sporran at? Check out our 16 Day Britain & Ireland adventure and start packing those bags!