We headed for Fort William after an amazing time in Isle Of Skye. In this post:
- See the Harry Potter Hogwarts train and Jacobite Monument at Glenfinnan
- Take the Nevis Mountain Range Gondola
- Visit the Glencoe Visitor Center
- Check out the ruins of Inverlochy Castle, home of the Comyns
- Have a special dinner at Inverlochy Castle Hotel
- Drive through Glencoe to get to Stirling
Our next stop in Scotland was a one-night stay in Fort William. Read on to find out some of the great things to see in that area!
We drove from Portree on Skye towards Fort William, and decided to stop on the way at Glenfinnan. The parking lot of the museum was incredibly crowded with tour buses and cars, and we had to park up the road around half a mile away at a small church. We didn’t do it, but many people climb the small hill behind the museum to get a good viewing spot to watch the Hogwarts Train cross the cool viaduct bridge. We just went across the street to see the Jacobite Monument (lovely!), and while we were there, the train with lots of steam, chugging and whistles crossed the huge long viaduct bridge. It was pretty cool to watch, and part of me regretted not jostling with the rest of humanity to get a closer view from the hill, but from our vantage point it was good enough. You can purchase tickets to ride the train here. And if you hate crowds, just do like we did and watch from across the street!
The Nevis Range Gondola will take you to the top of the 8th largest mountain in Great Britain. Along the way and at the top you can experience incredible views of the mountains and beautiful landscape in the area. It is also cool to see the mountain bike track down the mountain and imagine being good enough on a mountain bike to take that crazy track down! We had a meal at the top (not great), and walked around a bit for the views. It was very, very windy and a bit cold. We went to the little hut that is the starting gate for the Fort William Downhill World Cup for mountain biking—and looking down, I had no regrets about not trying it!!
We next went to the Glencoe Visitor Center, a little out of our way as we were planning to drive past it the next day, but figured we had time and could go ahead and do it that day and save travel time the next day. There really wasn’t much at the visitor center, just a small museum, gift shop and cafe. We had a snack and enjoyed the view from there, but if you aren’t hiking and need advice, I would skip it. We did, however, enjoy reading about the Glencoe Massacre of the MacDonalds. For Game of Thrones Fans, this is supposedly the inspiration for the Red Wedding.
Back in Fort William we passed a sign for the original Inverlochy Castle, so left the main road to check it out. It is a romantic set of ruins along a beautiful small river. There are some educational signs to help you picture the castle in its glory days. This was the home of the powerful Comyn family. John Comyn was a rival to the Scottish Throne with Robert the Bruce, and was killed by him and Robert’s allies. It is worth a stop and a look around!
We stayed at Factors Inn, which is much cheaper than Inverlochy Castle Hotel, and you are still able to eat breakfast at the Hotel and use its amenities. Our room was fairly basic, but comfortable. As we were still celebrating our anniversary, we had booked a special dinner at the Albert and Michel Roux Jr. Castle Restaurant. It is a very small restaurant but very elegant. The food was really good and the service was outstanding. I highly recommend it for a special dinner.
We had a great breakfast at the castle, and then drove through the jaw-dropping beautiful mountains of Glencoe. Everywhere you looked it was absolutely beautiful, despite a bit of a murky day with lots of clouds. I would love to drive through again on a clear day, but even so, it was a beautiful drive.
Have you visited the Fort William area? I know I skipped mentioning hiking Ben Nevis (the highest summit in the UK). I wish we had the energy and time to do so, but that is something you may be interested in adding to your time in Fort William. Check back soon for a post about our next destination of Stirling!