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Fort William

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom Scotland Scottish Highlands Fort William

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Introduction

Fort William

Fort William

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Fort William is the largest town in the Scottish Highlands and after Inverness one of the biggest in the north of Scotland. It's a major tourist town with some extemely scenic nearby drives and trainrides, as well as a stunning landscape as a backdrop. Fort William has about 10,000 inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

Drummuir Castle

The Drummuir Castle lies in a wooded glen between Dufftown and Keith in the heart of Speyside, Scotland's whisky country. Drummuir Castle was built in 1847 by Thomas Mackenzie for Admiral Archibald Duff, whose distinguished career included service with Lord Nelson. The Castle is a splendid example of the Scottish Victorian architectural style. The romantic roofline with its battlements, turrets and chimneystacks is dominated by the 60 feet high central lantern tower, notable for its Gothic tracery.

Outdoor Activities

Fort William marks itself as the outdoor capital of the UK, with nearby Ben Nevis helping a bit. Activities include walking and climbing, as well as mountainbiking. The famous Downhill Mountain Bike Track is nearby. It is also connected to the West Highland Way from Glasgow and the Great Glen Way, which is a walk/cycle way from Inverness to Fort William through the Great Glen. See Fort William's walk and outdoor guide for more information.

Others Sights and Activities

  • If you are a film enthusiast, you can find some great locations in or near Fort William, used in movies like Highlander, Brave Heart and Harry Potter.
  • Take the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig.
  • Daytrip to Loch Ness along the road to Inverness.

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Getting There

By Plane

The airport near Inverness is the closest one with regular connections to a few other cities in the UK and Ireland. It is served by British Airways (in the form of Logan Air, a franchise partner), Easyjet, BMI, Eastern Airways, Aer Arann, Ryanair and Highland Airways.
Glasgow and Edinburgh are further away, but with more flights. For more info:

By Train

The West Highland Railway stops in Fort William, on its way from Glasgow to Mallaig. On from Fort William to Mallaig, part of the journey goes by special transport on the Jacobite Steam Train.

Steam train leaving Mallaig for Fort William

Steam train leaving Mallaig for Fort William

© All Rights Reserved macgillivr

By Car

The A82 connects Fort William to places north and south of the town and the A830 connects with Mallaig in the (north)west. The latter is also called the Road to the Isles. Loch Ness is along the A82 road to Inverness.

By Bus

Megabus is the main operator for connections througout Scotland. Several buses a day run to and from Glasgow, Oban, Kyle of Lochalsh, the Isle of Skye and Inverness. One a day goes to Mallaig and in summer a couple of buses also go to Kingussie and Aviemore. Local buses mainly serve Kinlochleven via Glencoe.

By Boat

The Caledonian Canal connects the eastcoast of Scotland (near Inverness) with the westcoast at Corpach, near Fort William.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

In summer, there are buses to the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel.

By Foot

Fort William is small enough to navigate on foot.

By Bike

The surrounding trails are extremely suited for mountain biking (see above).

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Eat

Fish, meat and vegetarian dishes are all available. Try the Scottish haggis here if you want.

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Drink

Pubs enough for a good pint or single-malt whisky.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Aite Cruinnichidh1 Achluachrach By Roy BridgeHostel79
Bank Street LodgeBank Street Inverness-shireHostel80
CallunaHeathercroftHostel80
Chase The Wild Goose HostelGreat Glen Way Lochiel Crescent, BanavieHostel78
Farr Cottage LodgeFarr Cottage CorpachHostel78
Fort William BackpackersAlma RoadHostel84
Glen Nevis Youth HostelFort William Glen NevisHostel78
Roy Bridge Hostel & Grey Corrie LodgeRoy Bridge Inverness-shireHostel72
Smiddy Bunkhouse & Blacksmiths Backpackers LodgeStation Road CorpachHostel75
Inchree CentreOnich Near GlencoeHOSTEL-
InverNevis B&BInvernevis B&B Achintore RoadGuesthouse90
Ossians HotelHigh StreetGuesthouse67
The Corran InnOnich Fort WilliamHOTEL-
Hollytree Hotel and Swimming PoolKentallen Pier Kentallen PierHOTEL-
Loch Ossian Youth HostelLoch Ossian Youth Hostel, Corrour, By Fort William Inverness-shireHOSTEL-

B&B

Top End

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet caf├ęs can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.

Post

The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 56.818798
  • Longitude: -5.109657

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This is version 14. Last edited at 13:20 on Aug 26, 13 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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