Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Fort William
There are some excellent outdoor activities to enjoy in while visiting Fort William. However, with an average yearly rainfall of 1,883 inches (74.133 mm) occurring in Fort William, the chances of your walking plans being rained off makes it worth having a backup plan for your outdoors itinerary.
For that reason, it is always a good idea to have some rainy day activities up your sleeve should the weather become too inhospitable. While the activities covered here on this list are perfect for bad weather days, they can also serve as a list of things for your companions to do when you are off trekking through the glens and peaks of the area.
See the Sights from a Steam Train
While this might not be a very active way to spend a day, it will keep you out of the wet and windy conditions on a day when your hiking plans have been called off. As well as keeping you dry and warm, you will still get to see some of the stunning views on offer in this part of the country.
Setting off from near Ben Nevis, The Jacobite steam train runs an 84 mile roundtrip from near the highest mountain in Britain, past Loch Morar through to Loch Nevis while taking in some breath-taking sights along the way. Although The Jacobite is only in operation during the summer months, the West Highland Line, which it travels on, can be explored by regular service trains which run all year round.
Fans of steam railways and Harry Potter (in which this train and line starred) will love this activity, while others can’t help but being impressed by the amazing scenery on show.
Indoor Ice and Rock Climbing
The Ice Factor centre offers both indoor ice climbing and rock climbing near Fort William, both of which are a great way to spend a rained off day. The indoor climbing walls and boulders on offer here have been designed to suit climbers of all abilities, from beginners to advanced, so all the family should be able to have a go. Instructors are on hand to get you started and equipment is available onsite.
If you’ve ever wanted to give indoor climbing a try, on real ice and snow, then a visit to the Ice Factor might be your only chance to do so.
Skipinnish Ceilidh House
Located on Middle Street in Fort William, this Ceilidh House offers respite from the rain and the chance to dance off some unexpended energy. While reviews of this place are mixed, with claims of it being little more than a tourist trap, competing with reviews from visitors who loved it, it still remains a chance to experience a traditional Ceilidh band and show in a town that gets more than its fair share of outsiders made up of hill walkers and steam railway enthusiasts. For more information and show times visit the website.
Fort William Mountain Festival
If you happen to be in town in February and can’t get out into the great outdoors, the Fort William Mountain Festival could provide you with a few rainy day activities to remember. Highlights of the festival include films that celebrate mountain culture, a night in with biking legends and a chance to meet some of the key figures in the climbing scene.
West Highland Museum
When it starts to rain, ducking into the West Highland Museum, located just off Fort William High Street is a great way to acquaint yourself with the history of the local area. Highlights in this eight roomed fount of knowledge include treasure from the Spanish Armada, famous bagpipes from 1314, unfortunately no longer in active service, and historical items documenting the military heritage of the area including the tools of warfare and assorted weaponry.
Fort William Leisure Centres
While the area is best known for its outdoor activities such as trekking around Ben Nevis, the Lochaber Leisure Centre in Fort William has plenty of indoor activities to let you blow off some steam on a rainy day. Activities on offer include the fitness room, classes in the exercise studio, two squash courts and the six lane, 25 metre swimming pool.
The Nevis Centre is home to a Superbowl bowling alley which is open from midday to 10pm. As bowling is technically a sport, a day at the Superbowl is a great way to experience an active day in Fort William despite the rain.
There is also a sports hall at the Nevis Centre which can be pre-booked by the hour for indoor sports such as badminton, table tennis and other activities. A nursery for children from three months to five years can also be found at the centre for those who perhaps overestimated their toddler’s abilities at tackling the walks and paths of the area. For those that don’t want to drop their kids off the Spectrum soft play centre might be more suited to them and also welcomes children from birth to five years of age.
As you can see, while most of the activities on offer in Fort William are dependent on good weather, there are a few great ways to spend rainy days while in the area, ranging from the cultural, historical, educational and action packed.