fun things to do with kids fort william scotland   Travel for Kids
Scotland
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Fort William

Fort William, situated on Loch Linnhe, stretches along High Street, where there are restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, shops with any outdoor gear, and kids might see a high school band with bagpipes and drums marching along. Fort William easily accessible by train or car, and is centrally located for exploring the magnificent Highlands scenery in all directions. Here's our favorite things to do with kids in and around Fort William.
Fort William Photo Album
harry potter steam train play video
  The Jacobite "Harry Potter" steam train – A great day trip is to take The Jacobite, steam train filmed in the Harry Potter movies – kids can ride the train to Hogwarts! From Fort William, the train passes over the Glenfinnan viaduct, along the lochs, to Mallaig on the coast. Click here for the schedule.
Tip: In summer, you'll need a reservation for The Jacobite steam train. If the steam train is fully booked on the day you want to ride, the regular rail line from Fort William to Mallaig runs on the same track (and is cheaper).
 

Loch Linnhe cruises – From Fort William town pier, take a boat cruise on Loch Linnhe, April to October.

On the hour and half boat trip down Loch Linnhe, there are stellar views of Ben Nevis. Look for porpoises (they're shy), mother ducks leading a line of baby ducks, golden eagles gliding high, gannets swooping in the air and diving into the loch. At Black Rock, the cruise stops to see a colony of gray and harbor seals lolling in the water.
  West Highland Museum – A small but fascinating museum, filled with life in the Scottish Highlands. Check out an array of weapons, dirks, broadswords, pistols, flintlocks, "hand cannon" musket, powder horns, blunderbuss, studded wooden shields, a 19th century wedding dress, baby clothes, tartan kilts, jacket worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden and a locket with his hair, and dolls showing Highland life – crofter with horse and plough, shepherd, fishwife, shoemaker, spinning wool. The museum is free.
Along High Street on the grassy "Parade" is a statue of Donald Cameron of Lochiel, who valiantly supported Bonnie Prince Charlie.
  Rent bikes – On High Street, rent bikes (kid's bikes with helmets are available) and take the bike paths around town. Bike south along Loch Linnhe, bike up the Great Glen Way to Old Inverlochy Castle, go along the Caledonian Canal, or follow the bike paths up Glen Nevis.
 

Old Inverlochy Castle –Walk or bike to Old Inverlochy Castle, excellent crumbly ruins of a medieval castle, and site of Highland battles.

The 13th century castle, situated along the River Lochy, had four big roundtowers, connected by crenelated walls, and an entrance defended by a portcullis gate. The Comyn family lived in private apartments at the top of the strongest tower. In 1307 Robert the Bruce conquered the castle and stamped out the Comyn family. The medieval castle fell into ruins.
In 1645, the Marquis of Montrose, on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie, launched a battle against the Earl of Argyll (allied with the English), and trounced them.
  Great Glen Way Walk – The Great Glen Way is the long distance trail, marked by blue signs with the thistle symbol. Here's a fun walk from old Fort William to Old Inverlochy Castle
From High Street, head toward the train station, and walk down the water and the Old Fort (original fort for which the town is named). The Old Fort is small, but there's grass and picnic tables.
Following the blue Great Glen Way sign posts, go around the roundabout; at McDonald's turn onto a paved path and head west. The path follows along the River Lochy, through fields with sheep grazing, wildflowers in summer, until you reach the castle. To return to Fort William, you can walk on Lochiel and Wades Road, to Camanachid Crescent, and the roundabout and Old Fort, where you started.
  Caledonian Canal - Neptune's Staircase (Banavie) – Our kids are fascinated by locks, all those gates opening and closing, the water rising up or gushing out. Stop at Neptune's Staircase to see 8 successive locks on the Caledonian Canal, a 19th century engineering feat. It took 20 years to build and when completed in 1822 allowed boats to pass from the North Sea to the Atlantic.

Watch pleasure boats and tall ships going through lock, up or down. Morning is when boats go down, afternoon is when boats go up. It's also fun to watch the two swing bridges, railroad and road bridges, pivoting around.

From the locks, take a walk along the canal, toward the town of Corpach.

 

Mountain gondola (Nevis Range)Ride the gondola to the top of Aonach Mor, for panoramic views of Ben Nevis (the tallest mountain in Britain), lochs and glens. At the top are easy walking paths, fine for little kids, to viewpoints of the glens and lochs, mountain biking, and high ropes course. In winter, skiing and snowshoeing.

  Tip: Spend a day exploring Glen Nevis and hiking to Steall Falls.
family hotels fort william scotland

Travel for Kids has many fun things to do with kids in the Fort William area, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels all styles and price ranges, with conveniences for families:

Fort William family hotels
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