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About Fort William
Fort William sits at the base of Ben Nevis and at the head of Loch Linnhe, the self proclaimed 'Outdoor Capital of the UK'. Indeed many of the best places to stay in Fort William are geared up to cater to just such a clientele. But Fort William isn't just for hikers, bikers, climbers and sailors. Glen Nevis, the glen below the mountain, has been a movie star several times over, in Braveheart, Rob Roy and the Harry Potter films, and this is a remarkable setting for simply relaxing and drinking in the view.
If you've ever dreamt of tackling Ben Nevis you'll have heard of Fort William. This is where walkers set out from - with warm clothing and waterproofs, please! Despite a couple of challenging stretches near the peak, Ben Nevis is a pretty popular summit. For a quieter mountain hiking experience try the Mamores, a range running southwards from Glen Nevis. And if you're here in winter you can also ski and snowboard in the Nevis Range.
If you're more mountain biking than hiking this region has hundreds of routes to offer you.
For something more sedate see the Loch from the deck of a cruise boat. The main boat leaves Fort William's pier at two hour intervals and takes a 90 minute jaunt around the loch. For added relaxation there's a bar.
Fort William's spectacular surroundings possibly weren't appreciated properly by town planners. The town itself is cut off from the beautiful loch by a busy road. So you do need to get out of town to make the most of it.
In town there's a pretty Hight Street where you can buy all manner of Scottish bits and bobs, the West highland Museum, always worth a look in, especially 'cause it's free, and the Ben Nevis distillery, where you can try a dram of the local single malt.
For a Harry Potter style experience, catch the 'Deerstalker' from London, the overnight sleeper leaving from Euston. The name comes from its popularity with shooting parties.
For lochside views
- For style and loch views the best place to stay in Fort William is The Grange. On the western fringes of the town, this lovely Victorian townhouse is set in lush gardens. Beautiful, luxurious and peaceful.
For super luxury
- Inverlochy Castle is just that, a castle. This is your chance to experience the wonderful old-school luxury of castle living and undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Fort William, if not the whole of Scotland. The 'hotel car' is a Rolls Royce Phantom, the clientele is A-List and royalty and the food is Michelin starred.
- Slightly further from Fort William than our Guru's other recommendations, Glencoe House is the perfect place to stay if you're looking for a wonderful country house hotel in a Highlands setting. Family, and dog, friendly, this hotel has all the mod. cons. plus all the outdoorsy ones. Take a bracing walk, do some fishing, or relax in your freestanding bath.
Still undecided? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Fort William, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice. Alternatively take a look at all our recommendations in the Highlands and Islands.
Best Hotels in Fort William
The Lime Tree 9 rooms from $86Fort William
This stylish hotel is situated in the heart of the North West Highlands. Being the 'outdoor capital of the UK' there are a plethora of activities on offer. The in-house gallery has contemporary art on show and the award winning restaurant serves seasonal, locally sourced food. A great country escapeKayaking - The coast offers a number of paddling areas to get up close to natureSailing - Can be booked nearby.Great walks - Good for walkers.Fishing - Excellent fishing nearby.
Smiddy House 4 rooms from $92Fort William
Set in the quiet village of Spean Bridge just 11 miles from Fort William and close to Loch Lochy. The four rooms are comfortable and tastefully decorated in a Scottish highland style. The restaurant serves up locally produced fare and the garden room offers the perfect spot for a quiet drink.Great walks - Fort William is at the base of Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis and is also the gateway to walks in the picturesque Glen NevisFishing - The surrounding areas offer excellent wild brown trout, northern pike lochs and wild Atlantic salmon rivers
The Grange 3 rooms from $159Fort William
Victorian townhouse turned luxury guesthouse on the western edge of Fort William. Stunning views over Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour Mountains and more activities in the area than you can possibly imagine. Traditional yet stylish bedrooms with sumptuous bathrooms and views to die for.Views - Stunning views over Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour HillsGreat walks - Plenty of Munros around or even attempt Ben NevisSights nearby - Just outside Fort William in the heart of GlencoeRestrictions on children - Adults only establishmentRecommended by - Sawdays
Inverlochy Castle 17 rooms from $410Fort William
Elegance, romance and old-school service in sublime surroundings at the foot of Ben Nevis. Imposing rooms with heavy curtains, chintz wallpaper, antique paintings and four poster beds. The bathrooms are the height of modernity. A multi award winning restaurant. The perfect country getaway.Families - Plenty of kit for the kids indoors including games rooms, DVDs, playstation plus endless outdoor activities.Foodies - This fantastic restaurant has been awarded one Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosettes- utterly delicious!Fishing - Fishing in Loch Na Marag in the Castle grounds or salmon and trout fishing further afield.Great walks - Stunning scenery to be explored starting straight from the property.Recommended by - Johansens, Relais & Chateaux
Glencoe House 7 rooms from $416Fort William
Once the home of Lord Strathcona, this handsome country house is set in ravishing Highlands scenery overlooking Loch Leven. Family and dog friendly, comfortable, spacious suites, some with open fires and superb in-suite dining. There is plenty to entertain the hearty from fly fishing to walking.Suites - The elegant suites with high celings and stunning views have separate sitting rooms and free standing bathsPrivate dining room - Exquisite meals are served in the comfort of the guests suites, including afternoon teaViews - Wonderful views over the stunning countryside and lochsBack to Nature