Day Trip from Edinburgh to Fort Williams
Road Trip Travel
We love Scotland and return there as often as we can. Hiking is always on the agenda— we have completed the West Highland Way, The Great Glen way, walks along the fishing villages in Fife, and numerous day hikes. On our most recent visit in 2022, we were traveling during a train strike. Although we did utilize the excellent bus system quite a bit, we decided upon a private driver to get us from Edinburgh to Fort William, the beginning of The Great Glen Way. This is to share out itinerary for making a fun day out of a travel day.
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Where to stay
Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
Stylish resort in the heart of the city, with views of Edinburgh Castle and a renowned urban thermal spa experience.
Nevis Bank Inn & Browns Restaurant
Modern hotel with comfortable rooms and a popular local restaurant on the banks of the River Nevis in the West Highlands of Scotland.
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Stop 1: Falkirk Wheel
The Falkirk Wheel connects the Forth and Clyde canals, lifting boats up 115 feet with the world’s only rotating boat mover. You can arrange to ride in a boat to experience the lift, but we chose to watch from the ground.
A short drive away, you can also visit the Kelpies.
Stop 2: Inveraray Castle
The home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, the Inveraray Castle open to visitors and features impressive rooms and a beautiful garden. A must stop for anyone claiming connections to Clan Campbell. The castle has an extensive display of arms, and allows you to see the dirk and sporran used by Rob Roy MacGregor in the 17th Century. The tearoom offers a nice break, with homemade treats. Lerner and Loewe visited the castle and composed songs for the musical My Fair Lady at their piano. And with a bit of planning, you can see the Highland Games at this location.
Stop 3: Luss
The beautiful village of Luss was our next stop. xWhile we had planned to have lunch here, we opted for a snack from the food trucks near the parking lot so that we would have more time to wander the flower filled streets and walk along the water.
Stop 4: Cladich Fold Highland Cattle
You are in for a treat during your visit to the working ranch of Cladich Fold Highland Cattle (reservation required). When we arrived at the ranch, we were met by owner, Queenie, who oriented us to the world of Highland Cattle Breeders and the story of her restoration of this area that included renovating homes and making them affordable to locals working on the ranch and associated businesses.
We then jumped onto a four by four vehicle to tour the ranch, where we got to be up close to these beloved animals. Queenie knows her herd well and provides a safe opportunity to get photos. At the end, she allows you to comb one of the bulls that she is preparing for showings—this helps her, as the animals become used to strangers, and therefore have better reactions at the events. And, before you are sent on your way, hot tea is offered, along with homemade goodies as you take in the expansive fields of green dotted with cattle.
Final Drive to Fort William
The final leg of our journey took us along the road through Glencoe, with some of the most majestic scenery in the Highlands. Be sure to keep your eyes open for sightings of red deer and eagles. And, you will pass a castle or two, with the ruins of Kilchurn Castle on a rocky point on the northeastern edge of Loch Awe being particularly picturesque.
Another short photo stop allowed for a view of the “Three Sisters” in Glencoe. The incredible nooks in the mountains seem to be calling you to venture in.
Our final stop ends in Fort William after a full day of sightseeing.
Need to Know
To explore more of Scotland, try adding Edinburgh and surrounding areas to the start of your trip, and Highlands travel at the end!
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Scotland.