Where to Stay in Fort William and near Ben Nevis – A Guide to the the Most Beautiful Nastural Region in Scotland
Fort William is a town located on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe, in the Scottish Highlands. A major tourist site, Fort William is famous as the main gateway to explore incredible natural and cultural sites such as Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, Aonach Mòr and Glenfinnan. In this post, we will discover the best areas to stay in Fort William and near the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area.
Fort William is the largest town in the south of the West Highlands. Its centre, located south of the mouth of River Nevis, is the main tourist and shopping district in the region. Some of the tourist attractions in Fort William Town Centre include the West Highland Museum, The Nevis Centre, Cameron Square, Saint Andrew’s Church, the Old Fort and Fort William train station, where you can catch the Jacobite steam train made famous in the Harry Potter films. Find accommodation in Fort William Town Centre.
Ben Nevis Visitor Centre is only two miles southeast of Fort William. At 1,345 metres above sea level, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and the United Kingdom. Part of the Grampian Mountain range, this mountain, once a massive active volcano, attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. There are two main walking routes up Ben Nevis; The Mountain Track, also known as the Tourist Track or the Pony Track, is the easiest way up and it’s used by most visitors. Meanwhile, the Carn Mor Dearg Arête route is far more challenging and only suited for more experienced hikers. The Nevis Range gondola, located on Aonach Mor, offers excellent views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding mountains. Find Accommodation near Ben Nevis.
Other unmissable tourist attractions in the Fort William area include the Great Glen Way, Neptune’s Staircase, Old Inverlochy Castle, Inverlochy Castle, Glenfinnan Viaduct, Loch Eil, Loch Leven and the Lochaber Geopark.
Due to its position in the Scottish Highlands, Fort William has an oceanic climate with cool temperatures and frequent precipitations. The average temperatures during the winter tend to hover between -1 and 5 ºC. On the other hand, summer temperatures are usually between 11 and 18 ºC. As is to be expected, weather conditions in the mountains are colder depending on the altitude. The best time to visit Fort William is during the late spring and the summer (May through September), when the temperatures are pleasant enough for hiking and sightseeing.
To get to Fort William from outside of Scotland, the easiest way is to fly to Glasgow Airport (GLA). Located around 155 kilometres south of the town centre, this important Scottish airport offers frequent connections to cities in the UK, as well as a wide range of European routes and some long-haul flights. Additionally, Inverness Airport (INV), which offers a more modest selection of domestic and European routes, is located some 120 kilometres away.
Fort William is connected by train. Regional services connect the town to Glasgow and Mallaig three times a day. The Caledonian Sleeper operates six nights per week from/to London Euston, calling at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Preston and Crewe. The stands for local buses and express coaches are on MacFarlane Way adjacent to the railway station. Check train and coach schedules, routes and fares
As with most natural areas and national parks everywhere, Fort William and Ben Nevis are best enjoyed if you have a car. You can rent a cheap car here.
The best area to stay in Fort William is the Town Centre. Fort William’s central district is home to most of the cultural and historical attractions, shopping streets and nightlife areas. Fort William Town Centre is also where the widest selection of hotels and B&Bs are and it offers the best transport connections. Find accommodation in Fort William Town Centre.
Keep reading to learn more about the best areas to stay in Fort William, Scotland.
Set in Fort William, within 12 km of Ben Nevis and 2.5 km of Glen Nevis, The Garrison offers accommodation with a bar and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. The hotel features family rooms.
The Best Areas to Stay in Fort William & Ben Nevis, Scotland
1. Recommended area: Fort William Town Centre
When it comes to the best areas to stay in Fort William, it all comes down to location, location and location.
Fort William’s Town Centre is located on the eastern shores of Loch Linnhe and south of the mouth of River Nevis.
As the area’s main commercial and administrative district, the centre of Fort William is home to the main shopping and nightlife areas in the southwest Highlands.
The town centre is articulated around High Street, a pedestrianised street home to several British retailers, traditional pubs and souvenir shops. Off High Street, there are several important squares including Monzie Square, Station Square (where the old railway station used to be), Gordon Square and the Town Hall Square.
Central Fort William is also home to the most important transit hubs in the region, namely Fort William railway station, located on Belford Road, and the Fort William Bus Station, where many local buses and medium and long-distance coach lines intersect.
The remains of the Old Fort, now turned into a public park, mark the start of The Great Glen Way, a long-distance path in Scotland stretching 120 kilometres, from Fort William to Inverness.
Saint Andrew’s Church, known as “The Queen of Highland Churches” is renowned for its lovely interior and neo-Gothic architecture.
Further south, on Cameron Square, the West Highland Museum focuses on the story of the Scottish Highlands and the Islands and hosts archaeology and wildlife exhibits.
Fort Williams Town Centre offers the widest variety of accommodation options in town. Most of the hotels and B&Bs in the area are small and family-run, and many are set in beautiful refurbished historical houses.
We have chosen the Town Centre as the best area to stay in Fort William thanks to its perfect mix of historic attractions, shopping streets transport connections and beautiful scenery.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Fort William, Scotland:
- Historic and cultural attractions
- Train and bus stations
- Start of The Great Glen Way
- West Highland Museum
- Best area for shopping and nightlife
Accommodation in this area
Lime Tree An Ealdhain
Situated in picturesque Fort William, The Lime Tree An Ealdhain offers spacious accommodation in the Highlands of Scotland. It has its own art gallery, and an award-winning contemporary restaurant. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
This family-run establishment is 5 minutes’ walk from train and bus stations, and 2 minutes’ walk from the High Street and restaurants. Hosts Wilma and Jim have run 6 Caberfeidh as a B&B for 18 years and have many return-customers and friends.
Nevis Bank Inn
The Nevis Bank Inn is a 4-star hotel located on the banks of the river Nevis, 6.4 km from Ben Nevis. Large rooms have en suite bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. Rooms are stylishly decorated using walnut wood furniture and luxury fabrics. They feature flat-screen TVs, work desks and chairs, hair dryers and tea/coffee making facilities.
2. Ben Nevis
With a height of 1345 metres, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland.
Ben Nevis is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains, very close to the town of Fort William.
The Ben Nevis Visitors Centre is situated 3 km southeast of the Town Centre, while the mountain’s summit is about 12 km away.
The Ben Nevis ascent can be done in one day and takes around 8 hours to complete. Keep in mind that if you want to climb Ben Nevis in the winter, the ascent requires a good level of physical fitness and the weather conditions can be very tough.
There are two main hiking paths, The Mountain Track is by far the most popular and easiest, while the Carn Mor Dearg Arête route is a far more challenging climb.
Most of the accommodations in the area are situated around the Ben Nevis Visitors Centre.
Accommodation in this area
Achintee Farm Guest House
Set in Fort William, Achintee Farm Guest House offers accommodation with free WiFi and TV, as well as a garden. A fridge and kettle are also featured.
Glen Nevis Youth Hostel
Situated at the foot of Ben Nevis, the long-established Glen Nevis Youth Hostel is just 4.8 km from the large town of Fort William. It offers easy access to high and low-level walks, mountain biking, kayaking and other adventure sports.
3. Glencoe & Loch Leven
Glencoe is a village located some 25 kilometres south of Fort William.
Set in the Glencoe valley, between River Coe and Loch Leven, the village is famous for its gorgeous natural backdrop and as the main point of departure of many waterfall-dotted hiking trails to the surrounding mountains.
The village centre is also home to the Glencoe Folk Museum, a local heritage museum set in traditional 18th-century heather-thatched cottages.
Considered one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. The village and the surrounding area have been featured in blockbuster films like James Bond’s Skyfall and the Harry Potter franchise.
Apart from lovely Glencoe, Loch Leven is surrounded by other charming villages like Ballachulish and Kinlochleven.
Accommodation in this area
The Isles of Glencoe Hotel
Almost afloat, The Isles of Glencoe Hotel is nestled on the side of a peninsula, reaching into Loch Leven at the foot of Glencoe. This modern hotel has a relaxed atmosphere and spacious bedrooms with breathtaking loch and mountain views.
Cottages at Glencoe Independent Hostel
Cottages at Glencoe Independent Hostel is situated in Glencoe, 29 km from Fort William and 62.8 km from Oban. Free WiFi is featured and free private parking is available on site.
The Ballachulish Hotel
In a stunning location, between the mighty Glencoe Mountains, this baronial Highland hotel offers an irresistible blend of history and style with modern comforts and luxuries.
Glenfinnan is a hamlet located 27 kilometres west of Fort William, next to Loch Shiel.
This lovely village may be small but is packed with historic sites and natural beauty.
Historically, Glenfinnan is famous for being the cradle of the Jacobite rising, an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. The 18 metre-tall Glenfinnan Monument was erected to commemorate the historic event at the head of the loch.
Glenfinnan is also a top-rated destination for Harry Potter fans from around the world. The iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, spanning 21 arches, has been featured in several Harry Potter movies.
Other attractions in Glenfinnan include the Glenfinnan Station Museum and Saint Mary & Saint Finnan Catholic Church.
Accommodation in this area
The Prince’s House Hotel
Situated close to Loch Shiel, award-winning Prince’s House Hotel & Restaurant is 27.4 km from the historic Fort William. The port of Mallaig, with ferries to the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, the beautiful Isle of Skye, and Rúm, is half an hour’s drive away. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property.
5. Spean Bridge
Spean Bridge is a village located 16 kilometres northeast of Fort William, on the banks of the River Spean.
This quiet village is home to the Commando Memorial, commemorating the men of the British Commando Forces during the Second World War.
Spean Bridge is also the site of the first engagement of the Jacobite Rising of 1745.
The village is served by Spean Bridge railway station, which provides services to Glasgow, London and Mallaig.
Spean Bridge is also home to the Spean Bridge Golf Club.
Accommodation in this area
Distant Hills Guest House
Distant Hills is a modern couple-run guest house providing a good quality Bed and Breakfast service. Spean Bridge is set amongst beautiful mountain scenery and is a great location for day trips to Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye.
Smiddy House & Russell’s Restaurant
Located in the small village of Spean Bridge in the Scottish Highlands, the award-winning Smiddy House & Russell’s restaurant is just a 5-minute drive from the banks of Loch Lochy. Local, Scottish produce and freshly baked bread are served in the restaurant at this guest accommodation.
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