West Highland Line, Glenfinnan

Outdoors

West Highland Line itinerary

The West Highland Line is described as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world.

This train line runs from Glasgow north to Crianlarich. One route then goes west past Loch Awe to Oban, or north through Rannoch Moor to Fort William and Mallaig. Or you can do both!

This itinerary gives you ideas for things to do in the four main locations - Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.

Look out for the Spirit of Scotland Travelpass for your train travel, which gives you 4 days unlimited travel for £149 or 8 days unlimited travel (over 15 days) for £189.

Transport

Train

Days

4

Miles

200

Route

From Glasgow to Oban or to Fort William and Mallaig.

Highlights

Fascinating museums, a ferry journey to an island, the mountain gondola, beautiful Highland scenery

Areas Covered

West

Day 1

overview

Glasgow

Glasgow makes a perfect starting point with its great travel links to the rest of Scotland, the United Kingdom and indeed the world. It's tempting to hop straight on the train and head to the West Highlands but then you'd miss all the wonders of Glasgow! Take a day to see some of the city's highlights before you start your rail adventure. Consider taking the City Sightseeing Bus, which links these great attractions.

Plan a longer trip to Glasgow
  • Miles

    6.2

  • Km

    9.9

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Bus

Glasgow © Kenny Lam

Riverside Museum

Not only is the Riverside Museum one of Scotland's most interesting architectural works, but as Glasgow's Museum of Transport it gives a unique insight into the city's past through hundreds of cars, bikes, locomotives, trams, ship models and more. Hope on board the Glenlee, a striking Tall Ship built in the late 1800s for transporting cargo.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Situated in Glasgow's West End, this gallery and art collection has a vast range of fascinating items. Head inside this beautiful red sandstone building and see exhibits from the natural world, arms and armoury, great masterpieces, ancient societies and much, much more. You might see Sir Roger, an Asian elephant, fresh from careful restoration!

Catch a gig in the UNESCO City of Music

It would be criminal to spend time in Glasgow without checking out the city's legendary music scene! As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow attracts all kinds of talent, from international superstars to hotly-tipped new acts. You're bound to find something on which will tickle your musical taste buds, with dozens of music halls across the city. Find out what's on, or perhaps drop in to King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, one of Glasgow's iconic small venues.

Day 2

overview

Oban

Board an early train and take the West Highland Line to Oban, a journey which reveals Scotland's great geographic contrasts. Along the way you'll travel alongside the River Clyde, through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, passing the hills and glens of Argyll, before finally ending up at this cheery seaside town where the train terminates.
  • Miles

    160

  • Km

    258

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Ferry Bus

McCaig's Tower

The west coast is famed for its dramatic sunsets, and should you be so lucky to catch one, admire it from the coliseum-like McCaig's Tower. Even if it's not the most dazzling of evenings, a walk up the hill to this folly is well worth it - from the viewing platform, views stretch right over the town centre and out towards the surrounding islands. Wander back down to main hub and explore the cosy pubs and restaurants.

Oban Distillery

Situated in the heart of Oban, take a tour and discover the history of entrepreneurial brothers Hugh and John Stevenson who founded the distillery. Choose from two tours, and let the knowledgeable tour guides tell you about the seven men who make the Oban Single Malt. 'Old Teddy' is exclusive to the distillery and was inspired by the unique and personal stories of the Maclean family, who have served the distillery on Scotland's west coast for three generations.

Gateway to the Isles

From Oban you can visit Colonsay, Islay, Mull, Lismore, Coll, Tiree and Barra. Once you're on the islands, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities from cycling to hillwalking, or stay out on the water with boat tours or kayaking. There are ferries between the islands, and day trips and tours to choose from.

Day 3

overview

Fort William

If you want to do both routes of the West Highland line, you can use the Spirit of Scotland Travelpass to take the Citylink bus directly from Oban to Fort William. This Highland town sits in the shadow of the mighty Ben Nevis, the UK's highest mountain.

  • Miles

    57

  • Km

    92

  • Stops

    2

  • Transport

    Bus

Ben Nevis, Fort William

Nevis Range

If you want to get a true sense of why Fort William is known as the Outdoor Capital of Scotland, then take the 41 Stagecoach bus service to Nevis Range. Travel up in the mountain gondola to the north face of Aonach Mor, which lies just two peaks from Ben Nevis, and enjoy splendid panoramic views. The Nevis Range boasts a host of great activities, including walking, mountain biking, cycling, high rope courses and - for the brave - paragliding! It also hosts the Mountain Bike World Cup every year.

West Highland Museum

Back in the town of Fort William, head to the West Highland Museum. It holds a treasure trove of items which reveal fascinating insights into the past. You can discover more about the Jacobite Risings and the legendary Bonnie Prince Charlie - his waistcoat is featured as part of the display. See the weapon thought to be used in the notorious Appin murder of 1752 and uncover Highland life in centuries gone by.

Day 4

overview

Mallaig

Board the train at Fort William and enjoy what is arguably the most spectacular section of the West Highland Line as you venture to Mallaig. The train tracks skirt the A830, fondly known as the Road to the Isles. The views from the train include a mix of rugged landscape and undulating coastline, and the train will traverse the impressive Glenfinnan Viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel.

  • Miles

    43

  • Km

    69

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Bus

Glenfinnan Monument, Lochaber © Airborne Lens

Jacobite Steam Train

In the summer, the Jacobite Steam train travels along a part of the West Highland Line. The steam train had a starring role as the Hogwarts Express taking Harry Potter and friends from platform 9¾ all the way to Hogwarts. Take the journey over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct, whilst enjoying views of Loch Shiel from your window, another key location in the films.

Mallaig Heritage Centre

Mallaig is a small but bustling harbour village, once the busiest herring port in Europe. You could easily while away an hour watching boats and ferries come and go at the port. Pop into the Mallaig Heritage Centre and learn about the surrounding landscape and the fishing community. Feeling peckish afterwards? Then head to a café and order something tasty. For a really delicious treat, order a pint of local prawns or Mallaig kippers, if they are on the menu.

Extend your trip

Hop aboard a ferry to the Isle of Skye and explore the stunning island landscapes, or sail to one of the Small Isles and experience the tranquil remoteness of a rural Scottish island community.

After enjoying Skye, cross the Skye Bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh and take the Kyle Line to Inverness.

Find out more about the West Highland Line.