Glenfinnan and the Scottish Highlands

Ask anyone about Scotland and they’ll tell you that one of the most beautiful areas of the county is in the Scottish Highlands. They would not be exaggerating. This is a place of spectacular scenery and of ancient battles. Hikers and history buff are drawn here as are movie fans; think Harry Potter and James Bond. It is a place of legends.

Glencoe Valley in the Scottish Highlands
Glencoe Valley in the Scottish Highlands

Glencoe

We drove to Glenfinnan through the area around Glencoe after leaving Callander. Along the way, we made a couple of stops to enjoy the view and to have lunch in the village of Glencoe itself (also known as Carnoch), but our goal was to reach Glenfinnan House with enough time to go for a small hike and enjoy the surrounding area.

Lunch in Glencoe was a random stop at a place called Crafts and Things, which yes, sold local crafts, but also had a surprisingly decent cafe where we had tomato soup and a hunking piece of Millionaire’s Shortbread (shortbread covered with caramel and chocolate, so, so good!).

Lunch in Glencoe at Crafts and Things
Lunch in Glencoe at Crafts and Things
Glencoe Valley in the Scottish Highlands
Glencoe Valley in the Scottish Highlands

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan is now probably best known for the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct (train bridge) which was used in the Harry Potter movies. However, the area has a long history and is in a stunningly beautiful setting so is well worth an overnight stop.

Glenfinnan House, view from Glenfinnan Monument.
Glenfinnan House, view from Glenfinnan Monument.

Glenfinnan Monument

We managed to arrive in time to take a long walk around the area. Our first stop was the Glenfinnan monument with a good view back to where we were staying. The monument commemorates the start of the Jacobite rebellion when “Bonny Prince Charles” raised his standard on the nearby banks of Loch Shiel.

View of Glenfinnan Monument from above the visitor's center.
View of Glenfinnan Monument from the hill above the visitor’s center.

Glenfinnan Viaduct (The Harry Potter Bridge)

Behind the visitor’s center parking lot there is a steep walk up the hillside with a payoff of a spectacular view. Once up there you can see the Glenfinnan viaduct (Harry Potter Bridge) when facing away from the lake and view of the monument and lake in the other direction. It is well worth the short hike uphill.

View of Glenfinnan Viaduct from above the visitor's center.
View of Glenfinnan Viaduct from the hillside above the visitor’s center.

Glenfinnan Church

Our next stop was the petite stone Glenfinnan Church, located on the road toward the train station. The church of St. Mary & St. Finnan, built around 1870, offers a panoramic view of Loch Shiel from the entrance which is on the other side of the church, away from the road.

Glenfinnan Church
Glenfinnan Church
Glenfinnan Church
Glenfinnan Church

Glenfinnan Train Station and Museum

Up the road about half a mile is the Glenfinnan train station and their cute little train museum. We walked up there to take a look, as well as their café in an old dining car (which was unfortunately closed) and the sleeping car they rent out for accommodations. The cute and tiny train station museum was open and worth a look.

Along the road to the train station in Glenfinnan.
Along the road to the train station in Glenfinnan.
Glenfinnan Railway Station Museum
Glenfinnan Railway Station Museum
Glenfinnan Railway Station Museum
Glenfinnan Railway Station Museum

Where to stay in Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan House

Glenfinnan House
Glenfinnan House

For our one night in the area, we chose Glenfinnan House which I booked directly via their web site. We were given a small but gorgeous loch view room (#4) with a 4-poster bed overlooking the lake and the Glenfinnan monument. The house is lovely and feels so historic. There’s a nice cozy bar and restaurant both of which are open to the public. The en suite bathroom was small but fine. The shower took forever to get hot and had poor pressure but it’s an old house so all is forgiven.

Glenfinnan House Bedroom
Glenfinnan House Bedroom
Glenfinnan House View
Glenfinnan House view from our room.
Glenfinnan House Bar
Glenfinnan House Bar
Glenfinnan House Lounge
Glenfinnan House Lounge
Glenfinnan House Dining Room
Glenfinnan House Dining Room

That night we had dinner in the hotel. The meal was decent but if anything, the services needed a little help. Empty glassware was never cleared from the table, for example, and there was a lack of understanding of items on the menu; “What can you tell me about the homemade sausage? Well, it’s sausage and it’s home made…

Glenfinnan House dinner
Glenfinnan House dinner

Our breakfast was included and offered in the same dining room as we’d had dinner the night before. There we ordered off a small hot items menu there was a small buffet. It wasn’t particularly memorable, but certainly had a lovely view of the loch.

Glenfinnan House Breakfast
Glenfinnan House Breakfast; poached egg with haddock or smoked salmon
Glenfinnan House View
Glenfinnan House View

Our plans that morning included a long drive and ferry ride to the Isle of Mull. We noticed that the hotel offered bagged lunches to go, so we ordered some to be ready the next morning. This was a very good decision. The smoked salmon sandwiches and haggis flavored crips were a delicious and a welcome lunch which we ate while waiting for the ferry.

Haggis flavored chips!
Haggis flavored chips!

In all, we had a lovely time in Glenfinnan and at Glenfinnan House and would happily return someday.

Have you been to the Scottish Highlands? Thinking of going?
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24 hours in the Scottish Highlands and Glenfinnan
24 hours in the Scottish Highlands and Glenfinnan

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Alma says:

    Stunning scenery! The food looks delicious even if you didn’t always know what you were eating 😉

  2. Annie says:

    Looks good. I’ll have to stop there next time round.

  3. Your photos are absolutely beautiful!! We spend alot of time Ireland and we’ve been meaning to get over to Scotland. The Scottish highlands are definitely on my bucketlist now and I’ll be sure to bookmark this for when we go! And that caramel biscuit cake is TO DIE FOR!

    1. Thanks, it’s really incredible there.

  4. Tracy says:

    We are heading to Scotland this winter – have pinned this post as I really want to go to these places! Looks stunning – beautiful pics!

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