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Things to do in Glenfinnan, Highland

Glenfinnan Monument
Glenfinnan Monument © Cayetano via Flickr

Glenfinnan is a small village situated in the north-west Highlands of Scotland, 17 miles from Fort William.

Church of St Mary and St Finnan
Church of St Mary and St Finnan © Dave Fergusson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Surrounded by mountains and on the banks of the freshwater Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan is a very beautiful and peaceful spot.

The Road to The Isles near Glenfinnan
The Road to The Isles © Dave Fergusson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The population is usually approximately 120 at any one time, and it's a really welcoming and high spirited little community.

Loch Shiel near Glenfinnan
Loch Shiel © By Ingo Wölbern (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Most of the village is off the main road, and tourists sometimes don't think there is a village here at all!

Site of Glenfinnan
Glenfinnan Panorama © By J. Drevet (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History states that, on the banks of Loch Shiel, Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Standard here for the Jacobites on August 19th 1745. The monument now stands in it's place to remind us.

Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan Viaduct © By Christoph Strässler from Oberdorf BL, Schweiz (Glenfinnan Viaduct) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

To commemorate this, the village holds the Glenfinnan Games around this date, a popular event which brings in hundreds of visitors every year.

The Highland Games usually has many competitions and fun activities for all including the hill race, tossing the caber and highland dancing to name a few.

Glenfinnan has two hotels - both of which have brilliant on-site restaurants, with pub meals and a bar.

Glenfinnan Railway Station
Railway Station © By A1personage (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are two cafes - one is situated in the Glenfinnan Monument Visitor Centre at the bottom of the village, and the other is beside the train station, aptly named "The Carriage".

Other small businesses include a candle shop and two self-catering accommodations.

Claims to Fame

The village has been featured in quite a few films over the past couple of years, most famous of all being 'Harry Potter'.

Glenfinnan looking up Glenfinnan
Glenfinnan looking up Glenfinnan © Richard Webb [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The most famous shots include the train going over the Glenfinnan Viaduct (built in the early 1900s, by Robert MacAlpine) and the Hogwarts school is situated further down the loch.

Also seen in 'Highlander', as this is the village that the main character was "banished from".

'Espedair Street' by Iain Banks, a Scottish writer who has connections to the village, is dedicated to "the People's Republic of Glenfinnan".

Description by Kirsty Powell

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