The village and port of Mallaig on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands is the terminus for the West Highland Railway as well as affording the opportunity to go “over the sea to Skye”, since with the opening of the Skye Bridge in 1995 it’s now the only terminal with a year-round ferry service from the mainland to the Isle of Skye. The latter for many will be the reason for arriving in the port, in order to continue their tour to Skye and perhaps beyond to the Western Isles. However, Mallaig and its surrounding areas have much to offer for the travelling tourist, in particular some of the most wild and spectacular scenery in the Highlands.
Two miles down the road from Mallaig for instance you will find yourself at the famous and beautiful white sands of Morar, used in scenes for the 1983 film ‘Local Hero’. Further south and you can head to explore the wilds of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, whilst to the east lies Glenfinnan and its famous Jacobite monument – an area steeped in Scottish history. Meanwhile a passenger ferry service out of Mallaig is available to Knoydart, a large estate accessible only by foot or sea, often described as “Scotland’s last wilderness”. Knoydart’s main population centre, the village of Inverie, is also host to a biennial music festival.
But whether you’re looking to explore the area or require somewhere to stay over before continuing your journey to the Inner or Outer Hebrides, there are a number of accommodation options to explore.
In Mallaig itself is the 4 star West Highland Hotel, which comes well recommended by guests and is noted for its excellent service. A little further down the road, and sporting breathtaking views across Morar’s silver sands towards the Inner Hebridean Isles of Rhum and Eigg, is the Morar Hotel. A few miles further on is the Arisaig Hotel, a 3 star hotel noted for great service and a fantastic bar.
Glenfinnan boasts the very highly regarded Glenfinnan House Hotel, which is nestled in the wilds of the local estate, and enjoys excellent loch and garden views. The hotel and its rooms are very traditionally adorned, with old mahogany and oak furniture. Also located in the village is the Prince’s House Hotel, a 3 star privately owned former coaching inn with a real charm and relaxed atmosphere.
Towards the Ardnamurchan peninsula is the picturesque township of Acharacle which boasts a few accommodation options. Loch Shiel House Hotel is a former hunting lodge with good local produce on the menu and a very friendly bar. A few miles on, Rockpool House is a B&B very highly regarded by guests and boasts stunning views out towards Loch Sunart.
There’s little doubt this is a fantastic area to explore and well worth taking a detour for even if your original intention was to head on to the islands.