Are you thinking about a trip to Scotland but you are not sure where to go to have the most fun?
Fort William can be just a small village, but there is always something fun to do here.
This is a paradise for cyclists, walkers, skiers, foodies, and Harry Potter’s fans.
We’ve looked for the most fun things to do in Fort William and came up with these 19 incredible experiences.
1. The Jacobite Steam Train
Described as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world, the Jacobite Steam Train’s 84-miles round trip will take you back to a different era!
Starting from Fort William, the train travels through some of Britain’s natural wonders, including the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
While crossing the 21-arched bridge, you can feel like Harry Potter boarding the Hogwarts Express for the first time!
Here, the train will stop for a few minutes to allow you to take in the bird’s eye view of Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument.
The itinerary runs from the Ben Nevis and proceeds through Arisaig, the most westerly station inland.
Best of all, expect magnificent views of Loch Morar, River Morar, and Loch Nevis.
Lastly, the Jacobite will pull in to Mallaig, but remember, it’s all about the journey, not the destination!
To arrive in Fort William, travel by train from Glasgow the day before the booked Jacobite ride.
Here you can stay in one of the characteristic cottages that will help you set the right magical atmosphere for your upcoming journey.
If you have a higher budget, book yourself in the traditionally decorated first-class compartment carriage to get a real Hogwarts Express experience!
The Jacobite Steam Train details
- Services: Morning and Afternoon services are available between April and September. Timings vary during weekdays.
- Tickets: Single and Day Returns are available. Entire compartments can be booked.
2. Caledonian Canal Cruise
The Caledonian Canal stretches across the Great Glen valley and connects Fort William to Inverness.
Getting on a cruise on the canal is the best way to admire the scenery and explore the nearby inland locks of Loch Ness and Loch Lochy.
This is also a relaxing way to experience the Canal’s calm water.
Double or single ensuite cabins are available onboard and you can add outdoor activities to your trip such as hiking, cycling or canoeing.
Among the many attractions in the area, head to the impressive Neptune’s Staircase, just off Fort William, to enjoy a great view of the Ben Nevis.
This is a construction of 8 interlocking locks finished during 1800 by the Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.
Moreover, the staircase is over 19 meters tall and almost 500 meters long and can be reached by car or hiking, as well as via the Jacobite Steam Train.
Lastly, 7-days full-board cruises can be booked to explore the entire area between Inverness and Banavie through the numerous canals.
Meals and optional outdoor activities are also included in the price.
Caledonian Canal Cruise Details
- Availability: departures are available every day from May to October.
- Options: You can pick daily cruises or week-long journeys.
- Neptune’s Staircase address: Banavie, Fort William, Highlands, Scotland, PH33 7NG (Signposted off the A830)
3. Group Walk Up Ben Nevis
Take up the challenge and walk up the highest point in the UK with a group of like-minded travelers!
While led by a knowledgeable local guide, you will hike up Ben Nevis and get to know all the endemic plants and geology of the place.
The Mountain Path that starts in Glen Nevis is 16km long (round trip) and to reach the 1,344m summit can take up to 8 hours.
Everybody can try the trek, but some training beforehand is recommended.
Moreover, remember that you will be quite high up and the weather can change quickly.
Even in May, you will need winter boots and good equipment since the temperatures can be up to 10C lower than in Fort William.
Consequently, crossing snow patches is not unusual, even in July or August.
Walking poles, axes and sturdy boots are recommended during certain months, but they can be hired just off Fort William, in Ellis Brigham.
The expert local guides will be able to lead you and your group up to the summit of Ben Nevis and all the way back down in all safety.
Best of all, they know where the best pub is for a rewarding pint at the end of the fun trek!
Group Walk Up Ben Nevis details
- Availability: From Wednesday to Sunday, from May to September.
- Duration: 8 Hours
- Departure point: Achintee Road, Achintee Rd, Fort William PH33, UK
4. Steall Falls Guided Hike
This is considered one of the best short walks in Scotland and cuts through the enchanted Glen Nevis valley.
The 3.5km long path can take up to 2.5 hours to complete, but it can be personalized if you are an expert hiker.
Detours, hidden paths, and a suspended bridge can be crossed on the way back to add an adventurous feeling to the hike.
If you are after a more relaxing experience, just walk the trek slowly and allow time to take in the spectacular views.
Best of all, the path will take you through the landscape all the way up to the Steall Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Scotland.
Don’t forget to bring your camera with you to capture the perfect shot of this suggestive view.
Lastly, while the path is well-walked and fairly clear, don’t forget to bring hiking boots and enough layers to keep you warm in the cool weather.
Steall Falls Guided Hike details
- Departure point: Lower Falls Car Park, Fort William PH33 6SY, UK
- Duration: 3 to 5 hours
5. Canyoning Adventure
Fort William is one of the best natural playgrounds in the UK, so you can’t miss out on the opportunity of climbing and sliding through the many canyons of the area.
The mountainous landscape creates courses for any climber, from beginner to expert.
In fact, the 3 hours hike of the Inchree Canyon is suitable for families, kids, and beginners alike.
If you are looking for a real adrenaline rush, head for the Grey Mares Tail.
This one requires a higher level of fitness and can take up to 5 hours.
Ultimately, if you are an expert climber and hiker, you can try the 4-hour session at the Dundonnell Canyon.
Be aware that this is UK’s most technical Canyon.
It requires previous canyoning experience, and it is only suitable to groups of 5b people and above.
It really has got it all, right!?
But it does not end here!
Here you can experience a range of outdoor experiences such as cliff jumping, swimming under the waterfalls, sliding down rivers, and abseiling.
Keep in mind that the Canyons are staggered around Fort William so you might have to drive to the meeting point.
Bring swimwear and food for the day, then just let the experienced instructors guide you through the adventure!
Canyoning Adventure details
- Availability: Daily throughout the year, water level permitting. The most challenging canyons can be closed during winter.
- Duration: 3 to 6 hours (depending on the tour)
- Address: Inchree Falls, Onich, Fort William, Scotland. PH33 6SE
6. Cycling around Fort William
Cycling around Fort William is one of the fun ways to explore its surroundings.
Among the highlights of your day, expect to see The Old Fort, Old Inverlochy Castle, and the Caledonian Canal.
You will be able to stroll through the green scenery and stop for the included refreshments or coffee along the way.
The guided tour is led by a local guide that will cycle ahead of you though the recognized Path.
The route is fairly flat and accessible by all cyclists, but the views of the Ben Nevis and the Jacobite Steam Train in the distance are impressive.
Starting from the Old Fort that names Fort William, the leisurely ride will take you across the Caledonian Canal and the Neptune’s Stairway.
Lastly, you will head towards the Moorings Hotel for a well-deserved coffee and cake refreshment.
- Availability: 10 AM daily
- Duration: 3 hours
- Address: (starting point) Off Beat Bikes, 117 High St, Fort William PH33 6DG, UK
7. Old Inverlochy Castle
Scotland, especially Fort William, boasts an intricate and rich history.
If you are after a bite of this, head for the Old Inverlochy Castle, just a few minutes outside of the town center.
The castle has seen two of the major historical events of the country, the first and second battles of Inverlochy.
While today everything that is left of this strategically located castle is its ruins, it can really give you an idea of the ancient Scottish culture.
The 31 by 27 meters quadrangular courtyard and the green surroundings make it the perfect destination for a sunny and relaxing day out.
Bear in mind that the castle is often confused with the nearby baronial mansion of Inverlochy Castle Hotel.
Leaving the castle, take the next left turn and find a parking space to admire the view of the Ben Nevis towering in the distance behind the ruins.
Alternatively, you can cycle around the castle following the Great Glen Way.
- Availability: Open 24 hours.
- Duration: 1 hour
- Address: Fort William PH33 6TF, United Kingdom
8. Corpach Shipwreck
Built during 1975 and in use until 2011, the abandoned Corpach Shipwreck lays towards the end of the Caledonian Canal.
After a raiser chain failure during a heavy storm, she has been stalled sideways on the Loch Linnhe beach since December 2011.
From here, you can admire the stunning views of Ben Nevis on the background that frames the wreck.
This is a hotspot for photographers visiting Scotland as sunrises and sunsets over the towering mountains make the scene unique.
- Availability: Open 24 hours.
- Duration: 1 hour
- Address: Corpach, Fort William PH33 7LP, UK
9. Lochaber Geopark
By visiting the Lochaber Geopark, you can have a look at the westernmost area of the Highlands and descend the deepest pothole in Scotland.
The hidden beauty of this park is all in its geology, considered some of the best in the world.
A local expert geologist will lead you through the valleys and mountains and explain the formation of the landscapes.
Here you can learn first-hand about continental collisions, volcanic activity, the effects of ice on rocks, and folding.
The views are incredible throughout, with the Ben Nevis in the background giving an extra touch to the already enchanted valley.
Head to the 48 meters deep pothole, the Cave of the Skulls, to have a look in a different dimension.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you don’t have to choose only one activity as some tours will take you through the UK’s highest mountains and deepest lochs.
You can take part in full-day, half-day or multi-day tours, either on walking-only paths or driving up to the destination.
Bespoke and custom tours are also available upon request.
Lochaber Geopark Details
- Availability: 10 AM to 4 PM
- Duration: whole, half or multi-day tours available.
- Address: 55A High Street Fort William, PH33 6DH
10. Whisky Trails
If you are a whisky connoisseur or aficionado, you can’t miss out on the opportunity of visiting the motherland of this drink.
The Highlands Whiskey trail will take you through the distilleries of Glenmorangie, Dalmore, and Balblair, some of the most famous whiskeys of Scotland.
This private tour includes transport and a visit to the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar, where 450 types of whiskey are waiting for you to be tried!
Moreover, the itinerary can be customized and you will be able to swap one of the named stops for Clynelish or Glen Ord distilleries.
Between sips, don’t forget to look out of the window for some of the most beautiful views of Scotland!
Alternatively, the Speyside Whisky trail will allow you to visit The Macallan, Glenlivet, and Glenfiddich distilleries.
This tour is perfect for whiskey novices as well: here you can learn all about the production process and properties of the drink.
These trails are perfect to explore the more traditional side of Scotland and the Highlands while tasting its most famous product.
Whisky Trails details
- Availability: Daily (times can be arranged)
- Duration: each distillery’s visit will take up to 2.30 hours.
- Address: Pick up points can vary, there are options across Scotland.
11. Ben Nevis Distillery
Established in 1825 and situated at the foot of Ben Nevis, this is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland.
Due to the strategic location, the distillery benefits from the highest water quality sourced from two pools near the Ben Nevis summit, Coire Leis and Coire na’Ciste.
Before heading for the distillery, head to Fort William’s visitor center and meet Hector McDram “the giant man” while getting familiar with the “Legend of the Dew”.
Afterwards, head for the distillery to try the unique Ben Nevis 10 Years Old and Ben Nevis 21 Years Old whiskeys produced here.
The knowledgeable guides make the distillery and visitor center tours fun and informative.
Get ready to start loving whiskey (if you don’t already)!
Don’t forget to capture a shot of the distillery against the mountains in the background!
Ben Nevis distillery details
- Availability: Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM, Sunday 12 AM to 4 PM
- Duration: 1.30 to 2 hours.
- Address: Lochy Bridge, Fort William PH33 6TJ, United Kingdom
12. West Highlands Museum
Located in the town center of Fort William, this historical building is hard to miss!
The museum showcases an overview of the turbulent history of the West Highlands and displays memorabilia from the Jacobites.
The seven rooms spread across three different floors will take you through different historical periods, battles, and fascinating objects.
Founded in 1922 by Victor Hodgson, this independent museum boasts various exhibitions showcasing archeological, military, and Victorian era’s objects.
Here you will be able to examine axes, coins, and portraits that tell the story of this culturally rich country.
Best of all, the museum allows for free admission for any visitor.
However, since the museum is independently run, donations are appreciated.
The collections let you explore different subjects, such as archaeology, modern industry, and the Jacobite risings of the 18th century.
This is the perfect place to spend a fun afternoon in Fort William and gain an understanding of the local culture and history.
West Highlands Museum details
- Availability: Closed on Sunday, Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM
- Duration: 2 to 3 hours
- Address: Cameron Square, Fort William PH33 6AJ, United Kingdom
13. Great Glen Cycle Route
The Great Glen Cycle Route is a 108km-long path that runs between Fort William and Inverness across the Great Glen valley.
The best way to enjoy this fun journey is to take it slowly, allowing for a three-day trip.
The traditional towns of Fort William at the start, Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit make for perfect overnight stops to restore some energy.
This area is where the 234 miles-long Route 78, or Caledonia Way, merges with the Great Glen Way.
The path will lead you through the shores of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Ness, and you will be able to enjoy stunning views of Ben Nevis in the background on this route.
The Route is often divided into three sections.
Fort William to Fort Augustus is often the first stretch and is ideal for beginners.
This is the easiest and most relaxing section of the three and follows the towpath of the Caledonian Canal.
From Fort Augustus, set off early to complete the 19 miles ride to Drumnadrochit.
The second half of the journey has an elevation of almost 300 meters above sea level and the off-road ride can be quite challenging.
However, you will be cruising through Glen Moriston and Lewiston, which offer some of the best views of the trip, including the famous Loch Ness.
Lastly, the 15 miles journey that connects Drumnadrochit and Inverness, is the most difficult one and will require a higher level of fitness.
The elevation can be as much as 360 meters and it runs along with the River Ness.
Keep in mind that you will need to travel with minimum luggage and proper equipment, as the ride can get tough!
Great Glen Cycle Route details
- Availability: Daily
- Duration: 3 days for the whole itinerary, but individual daily sections can be cycled too.
- Address: Great Glen Way, Fort William
14. Nevis Range Mountain Experience
While visiting the Nevis Range Mountain is every skier’s dream, this location offers much more than that.
The Scenic Mountain Gondola boasted by the camp is unique in its kind and can reach the elevation of 650 meters.
While today this is the best way to enjoy a panoramic view of the landscape, it was originally built to transport skiers to the slopes of Aonach Mòr, the 8th highest mountain in Britain.
Bear in mind that the gondolas’ opening times depend on the weather and it can shut without prior notice.
For the most adventurous visitors, paragliding, skiing, and snowboarding activities are available here.
The snowsport runs over the winter season from December to April, but they are subjected to the mountain’s weather conditions.
Alternatively, through gliding and Paragliding sessions, you will be able to fly between the best peaks of Britain.
If you are visiting the mountain range with your family or kids, head for the hidden Tree Adventure.
Built within the forest, this suspended playground is perfect for children and young adults to explore the green surroundings during summer.
If you prefer, book your ticket in advance for the Mountain Biking World Cup that has been held here since 2002 to see professionals mastering aerials and biking tricks!
Lastly, if you enjoy a relaxing hike better, head for one of the baths that the Range offer such as Sgurr Finnisg-aig and Meall Beag.
- Availability: Each activity’s availability changes according to the season. Check the official website for updated timetables and opening times.
- Duration: whole day or multiple days.
- Address: Torlundy, Fort William, Inverness-shire, PH33 6SQ (for Nevis Range Mountain Resort)
15. Nevis Centre
If you are looking for a fun evening or day out in Fort William, head for the Nevis Centre!
This recreation and event center offers a number of activities for everybody!
Aside from the more famous ten pin bowling, the multi-storey children’s soft play area is loved by families and kids alike.
Kids can be left loose and play with softball cannons, ball pit, slides, zip wires, and go-karts.
The parents’ area is equipped with cafes, chairs, and tables.
The gymnastics, roller skating, canine, table tennis, and badminton clubs homed by the center offer some entertainment to everybody.
Head to the Nevis Center during a rainy afternoon and don’t let the bad weather stop the fun!
- Opening Hours: Daily, 12 PM to 10 PM (last entrance at 9 PM)
- Duration: 4 to 5 hours
- Address: The Nevis Centre, An Aird, Fort William, PH33 6AN
16. Golfing at Fort William Golf Club
This Golf Club is one of the most scenic grounds of Scotland.
Established in 1976, the 18 holes course is located at the foot of Ben Nevis and overlooks the green scenery.
The Courses measure 6217, 5464, and 4850 yards depending on the tees you are challenging yourself with.
While the course of the White tees is the longest, the yellow and ladies’ paths are incredibly charming.
All abilities and experiences are welcome here and visitors can easily get a one-day pass to enjoy the course without a longer commitment.
If you are not into golf but you would like to admire the breathtaking landscape, check whether one of the gents, ladies or open competitions are happening.
Clubs and trolleys can be hired at reception.
If you are willing to buy a useful souvenir from the area, the Bar is stocked with all golfing necessities such as balls and gloves.
Lastly, while a relaxed dress code is allowed, clean and tidy attire is required on the grounds and club.
- Availability: Monday 9 AM to 5 PM; Tuesday & Thursday 9 AM – 10 PM; Wednesday 9 AM – 6 PM; Friday 9 AM – 7 PM; Saturday & Sunday 8 AM – 8 PM.
- Duration: Whole day
- Address: Fort William Golf Club, North Road, Torlundy, Fort William, PH33 6SN
17. Indoor Ice & Rock Climbing at Ice Factor
This fun center is the home of the largest indoor ice climbing facilities, but offers more than that!
If you are planning on rock climbing in many of the mountainous areas of Scotland, head here first!
In fact, the extensive indoor climbing wall was designed in cooperation with the Mountaineering Council, to which many of the guides and instructors belong.
Moreover, the Ice Factor aerial adventure offers a completely different experience to anybody looking for a real adrenaline rush.
The course is located 10 meters above the ground and is 250 meters long.
Ice Factor is one of the best climbing facilities globally and holds up to 500 tonnes of real snow and ice.
The wall is 12 meters high but offers different grades to supply entertainment to beginners and experts alike.
Lastly, meet the other climbers for a coffee and cake at the Ice Factor Cafe and enjoy the stunning view over the Mamore mountains.
If you are planning a longer stay in Fort William or you are returning often, you can buy a membership pass and have access to exclusive offers.
- Availability: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 6 PM; Tuesday and Thursday 9 AM to 10 PM.
- Duration: Whole day
- Address: Leven Rd, Kinlochleven PH50 4SF, United Kingdom
18. Treasures of the Earth Museum
Set in the heart of Fort William, this family-run museum is a little surprise!
The private collection of gemstones, fossils, and jewelry is today one of the most extensive ones in Europe.
Funded over 20 years ago, the museum has been growing and today is one of the main attractions in Fort William.
Moreover, the Ultra-Violet cave is filled with color-changing crystal which makes it incredibly magical.
This three-dimensional experience allows visitors to touch the 7 feet tall towering amethyst geodes which are over 200 million years old.
The fossils formed over 500 million years ago are also displayed in the collections, and you will be able to see petrified wood and ancient amber.
Easily reachable if you are staying within the town, this museum is a great starting point for your Fort William trip.
Don’t forget to visit the furnished gift shop to bring an ancient gemstone home with you!
- Availability: Daily, but opening times change depending on the season
- Duration: 2 to 3 hours
- Address: Fort William PH33 7JL, United Kingdom
19. The Lime Tree Restaurant & Gallery
This sophisticated restaurant is situated only a few minutes’ walks from the Fort William Ferry landing.
If you are a bit of a foodie and really can’t renounce getting a high standard local meal, this is the best place for you!
The restaurant only serves raw, seasonal and locally sourced products including Loch Fyne oysters, Loch Awe trout and Ardnamurchan venison.
The venue has been listed in the Michelin Guide 2019 and nominated Scottish Restaurant of the Year 2019.
The restaurant’s unique concept includes an art gallery within the premises since 2006.
Among the most famous pieces of art here, works by Goya, Matisse, Hockney, Goldsworthy, and collections from the National Geographic Society and the Royal Scottish Academy were housed by The Lime Tree restaurant in the past.
This culinary institution is also attached to a boutique hotel, perfect to relax after a good meal!
The 9 rooms offer a unique view over the nearby Loch Linnhe and they are uniquely decorated.
This multi-award-winning location should definitely be on your itinerary if you are aiming for a relaxing but stylish getaway!
The Lime Tree Restaurant & Gallery details
- Facilities: Free parking, Bar, breakfast included in the price of the room.
- Attractions Nearby: the Ben Nevis and the Nevis Range Mountain Experience are at around 20 minutes’ drive from the hotel.
You really can’t reduce the many attractions of Fort William to only 19 as there is a lot more to do in the area!
However, check these ones out to leave Fort William with the best impression of the place.
If you want to see what else is on offer, check out our other tours.