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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

The railway from Glasgow to Fort William and on to Mallaig is rightly regarded as one of the world’s great railway journeys. From the moment the train climbs out of the Glasgow suburbs to give views over the Clyde, it is a scenic delight, taking in Loch Lomond, the wilds of Rannoch Moor, Ben Nevis, Loch Linhe, the famous concrete viaduct of Glenfinnan (featured in Harry Potter films) and culminating in glorious sea views.

The railway offers a unique perspective on many of the roadless landscapes en route. The wild landscapes have hardly changed since the railway was built in the late 19th century.

Price from: £15
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around
Duration: 4-5 hours

Getting there & doing it

Glasgow Queen Street is a short walk or bus ride from the better-connected Central station. A refreshment trolley is wheeled up and down the train throughout the journey.

The route runs from Glasgow to Fort William (3h 45mins, 123 miles) and then on to Mallaig on the northwest coast (a further 40 miles, 1h 30 mins).

When you get off at Mallaig, head to The Fishmarket Restaurant (Station Road, Mallaig) for big portions of fish straight off the boats that work from the adjacent harbour.

When to do it

Trains run all year round, seven days a week, with four services Monday-Saturday and two on Sunday.

The railway has been marketed as a ‘line for all seasons’, but the heather is at its best in late summer and autumn. Clear winter days can be among the most spectacular.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

The Magical Highland Tour Including the Jacobite Steam Train Journey

The Magical Highland Tour Including the Jacobite Steam Train Journey

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5-Day Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and the Jacobite Steam Train from Edinburgh

5-Day Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and the Jacobite Steam Train from Edinburgh

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Explore the Highland beauty of Scotland's west coast and the Isle of Skye on a 5-day excursion from Edinburgh. This in-depth tour of Scotlan...

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom (UK)

Magnificent mountain scenery slashed by silvery lochs and peppered with brooding castles: all laden with rich Scottish heritage, history and tradition.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Climb Ben Nevis

Fort William, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[6.8 miles]

The highest mountain in Britain, ‘The Ben’ is a challenging but rewarding Munro ‘to bag’.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | Full day

Glencoe

Ballachulish , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[16.6 miles]

A magnificent brooding glen that was the scene of Scotland’s bloodiest historic massacres – the slaying of the unarmed MacDonald Clan.

Best for ages: 13+ | £6

Round-ups that include this experience