Depending on your perspective Glenfinnan could be famous as the site where the Jacobite army raised its standard to start the 1745 rebellion. Or it could be the site of the railway viaduct which features in several Harry Potter films. Either way a day trip to Glenfinnan should be part of your holiday itinerary.
Glenfinnan is about 40 minutes drive away – as you enter Fort William turn right at the roundabout following the signpost to “The Road to the Isles”.
Arriving at Glenfinnan there is a National Trust for Scotland visitor centre on the right, from which you can access the Glenfinnan Monument. From the visitor centre a short walk up the hill behind takes you to an outstanding viewpoint, where you can appreciate the famous view along Loch Shiel.
Just after the visitor centre you can leave your car in a small car park on the right (before the road climbs uphill and to the left).Walk or cycle along the road and pass under the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The path continues for some miles up Glen Finnan itself, and is the best place to spot the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William which passes every day from May to October. The steam train also offers a scenic and enjoyable alternative to driving to Glenfinnan, with the local attractions all within a short walk of the station.
A little further along the main road the Glenfinnan Railway Station hosts a small museum and an old train carriage converted into a delightful dining car serving snacks and light lunches. On the way stop into the charming and beautifully located church.
From the village itself Loch Shiel Cruises operate an Eagle Watch cruise along the Loch, where you can look out for eagles and other wildlife along the sheer hills and cliffs which skirt the loch.
A reasonably short and gentle walk can take in some of the best sites. If you have brought your bikes then a wooden walkway leads along the loch shore from the Monument. This leads to a Forestry Commission road along the East shore of the loch which is the only shore route allowing you to follow the loch’s dramatic course.
Before you head back the Glenfinnan House Hotel on the shore of the loch offers an excellent restaurant, and some of the best bar meals you will find anywhere.