A weekend in Fort William
Rated picks for a memorable Highlands getaway
With the magnificent Ben Nevis looming just behind it, the popular Highland town of Fort William deserves its reputation as a walkers’ haven.
But Fort William is much more than just a base – it boasts its own delights, including shops, restaurants and a museum that celebrates the area’s history. Planning a visit to this scenic favourite? Don’t miss our rated recommendations for things to do and places to eat and stay.
Things to do in Fort William
In Gaelic, Fort William is known as ‘An Gearasdan’, or the Garrison. The name hints at what is undeniably one of the most appealing things about Fort William: its incredible location. Strategically placed where the Great Glen meets the sea, the town has been a strongpoint for centuries – to get a sense of Fort William’s fantastic setting, take the Peat Road to Cow Hill. This well-made path rises over the moor and treats walkers with breathtaking views both down to Fort William an up to Ben Nevis.
Located just seven miles to the north of Fort William, Ben Nevis is arguably the town’s greatest asset – a stroll around the town centre will reveal many a business that’s named after Britain’s highest peak. Many travel to Fort William with the aim of reaching the summit – if, however, you’re looking for a gentler option, the Half Ben Nevis route will unveil the mountain’s great northern crags and the rocky hollow of Coire Leis.
To get a sense of the region’s diverse history, stroll down Fort William’s High Street where you’ll find the West Highland Museum. The unique collections here give a fascinating insight into well-known historical figures such as Bonnie Prince Charlie, while also illuminating less well-known aspects of the lives of West Highlanders. Inverlochy Castle – the medieval stronghold that dominated the southern end of the Great Glen – is just a short drive from the town centre. The ruins here are well worth a wander round.
If you’re able to travel further afield, a half-hour drive to the south will see you come across the stunning, otherworldly landscape of Glencoe, home to both an array of wildlife and some of the Highlands’ most challenging walks and climbs.
Recommended things to do in Fort William
Places to stay in Fort William
From luxury glamping at the foot of Ben Nevis to historic castle stays, Fort William offers an array of top-rated places for you to rest your head.