Scotland Staycation: Exploring Fort William

On our second day of our Scotland Staycation we headed to the nearby town of Fort William. In stark contrast to the sunshine on our first day when we headed up the Pap of Glencoe (take a little read here), it absolutely poured with rain for our second day. In true British spirit, this did not put us off and we headed through a very rainy Kinlochleven to Fort William.

We parked up and decided to shelter from the rain by going to a museum. We went to the West Highland Museum which is situated in the High Street and tells the story of the region and its history. There was a particularly interesting collection relating to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause- a great stop for rainy days.

We had hoped that the rain might have stopped whilst we were venturing around the museum but if anything, it began to rain even more heavily so we headed to a little cafe called The Wildcat. This was possibly my favourite coffee shop stop of our mini road-trip. We shared a date slice and brownie between us and also enjoyed a coffee each. There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options and they are very environmentally conscious as  a cafe- charging 10p extra for a take away cup but also giving a discount if you bring your own cup in.

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From the coffee shop we made a quick visit to the Highland bookshop and I ended up picking up a couple of books. It’s a really lovely bookstore and worth a visit if you are a fellow book lover like me.

After a quick dash back to the car, we went onto the Glenfinnan Monument which was brilliant (despite the rain) for two reasons. Firstly, the Glenfinnan Monument is a really striking tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings- it’s 18m-high and has a lone, kilted highlander at the top. On a nice day, I’m sure the views would be breathtaking but when we visited it was so misty that it was hard to see very much! There’s a modern exhibition in the visitor centre, which was very interesting and tells the story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the 1745 Jacobite Rising. (It’s also free for National Trust members!)

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The second reason to visit is the opportunity to spot the Harry Potter film locations, including the Glenfinnan viaduct and the island where the Triwizard Tournament was held. Even in the fog, it was amazing to see the viaduct where the Jacobite train passes through. Riding on the Jacobite train is something else I’d like to add to my re-visit list as we were a week too early and it wasn’t yet running!

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Our final stop for the day was Crannog Seafood Restaurant in Fort William. We booked a couple of days in advance and got a table no problem. The service was excellent and the food was so delicious and they had a great range of specials. Everything was fresh, beautifully dressed and tasty- it was the perfect end to our day in Fort William. Whilst it was slightly more expensive, it was absolutely worth paying a little bit extra for the quality and tastiness of the food.

Have you visited Fort William? Where are your top places to visit?

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