Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Trip type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Search over 1 million properties and 550 airlines worldwide

Members save 10% more on select hotels, cars, activities and holiday rentals. Sign up.

Free cancellation on most hotels. Because flexibility matters.

Neptune's Staircase

Bring the kids to watch these canal locks at work and marvel at the machinery dating back to the 19th century.

Neptune’s Staircase is a fascinating early 19th-century engineering treasure on the Caledonian Canal. It is Britain’s longest staircase lock, with a complex design that allows boats to pass. Embark on a family walk along the steps of the staircase and inspect the impressive machinery.

The highlight for children and adults alike is watching the locks at work, permitting boats to pass between lakes. Note the eight locks that lift vessels a height of 64 feet (20 meters). Stroll alongside the machinery to see the entire process, which takes roughly 90 minutes. Enjoy a close-up view of a boat traversing each stage. Read the information boards to learn how the locks work using hydraulic rams. Its initial operation used many cables and took half a day to complete a lifting.

Stroll along the elegant paths on the flanks of the canal and enjoy the serene atmosphere. Listen to the flowing water and the calls of wildlife in the dense surrounding forest. Meditate on life as you look into the canal from one of its bridges.

The patches of grass on both banks are ideal for picnics. Relax with your family and eat with a backdrop of the Ben Nevis mountain rising over the forest. Snap photos of the eight locks that are 180 feet (55 meters) long. Stay for the sunset, when the hues of the water and sky change with brilliant colors.

Learn about the history of the locks, which were constructed by engineer Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822. They went through several periods of crisis, notably in the 1990s when the walls leaked.

Dine at the restaurant and the tearoom in the hotel beside the canal. Check the online schedule for the Jacobite Steam Train, which passes nearby.

Neptune’s Staircase is in Banavie, a small village 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Fort Williams. Visit the Ben Nevis Distillery, Loch Linnhe and the Old Inverlochy Castle on the way. Take a bus or drive to the site in about 10 minutes from the city. Leave your car at the free parking lot.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 289 Properties near Neptune's Staircase
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club £94
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club

Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club

North Road, Fort William, Scotland
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in the historical district, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Lochaber Geopark and Loch Linnhe. Ben Nevis Distillery and Belford Hospital are also within 2 miles (3 km). Fort William Station is 22 minutes by foot.

    Moorings Hotel £110
    Moorings Hotel

    Moorings Hotel

    Seanivan, Banavie, Fort William, Scotland
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated on the waterfront, this hotel is steps away from Lochaber Geopark and Neptune's Staircase. Loch Linnhe and Inverlochy Castle are also within 6 mi (10 km).

      Laxdale Cottage
      Laxdale Cottage

      Laxdale Cottage

      Banavie Highland, Fort William, Scotland
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Fort William, this cottage is steps away from Neptune's Staircase and Lochaber Geopark. Loch Linnhe is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away. Banavie Station is only a 3-minute walk and Corpach Station is 26 minutes.

        Chase The Wild Goose Hostel
        Chase The Wild Goose Hostel

        Chase The Wild Goose Hostel

        Banavie, Fort William, Scotland
           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated by the sea, this hostel is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Ben Nevis Distillery, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Inverlochy Castle and Aonach Mor Ski Resort. West Highland Museum and Ben Nevis are also within 9 mi (15 km). Banavie Station is only a 5-minute walk and Corpach Station is 22 minutes.

          Mansefield House £75
          Mansefield House

          Mansefield House

          Hillview Drive, Fort William, Scotland
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Fort William, this guesthouse is within 3 miles (5 km) of Lochaber Geopark, Neptune's Staircase and Ben Nevis Distillery. Belford Hospital and Lochaber Geopark Visitor Centre are also within 6 miles (10 km). Corpach Station is 6 minutes by foot and Banavie Station is 26 minutes.

            Moonfrog Lets - The Old Forge
            Moonfrog Lets - The Old Forge

            Moonfrog Lets - The Old Forge

            1 Glencairn Villas, Kilmallie Road, Fort William, Scotland
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in a rural location, this cottage is within 1 mi (2 km) of Neptune's Staircase and Lochaber Geopark. Ben Nevis Distillery is 1.2 mi (2 km) away. Banavie Station is only a 3-minute walk and Corpach Station is 19 minutes.

              Culacrick Guest House £70
              Culacrick Guest House

              Culacrick Guest House

              Old Banavie Road, Banavie, Fort William, Scotland
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Fort William, this guesthouse is within 1 mi (2 km) of Neptune's Staircase and Lochaber Geopark. Ben Nevis Distillery is 3.1 mi (5 km) away.

                21 Blar Mhor Road
                21 Blar Mhor Road

                21 Blar Mhor Road

                21 Blar Mhor Road, Caol, Fort William, Scotland
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Fort William, this holiday home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Lochaber Geopark and 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Loch Linnhe. Ben Nevis Distillery and Neptune's Staircase are also within 3 miles (5 km). Banavie Station is 6 minutes by foot and Corpach Station is 21 minutes.