Neptune's Staircase

Holiday Travel Guide
Neptune\'s Staircase showing boating and a river or creek

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.

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Top Trending Hotels Near Neptune's Staircase

The Garrison
The Garrison
4 out of 5
High Street, \N, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £68 per night from 7 Oct to 7 Oct
Situated in Fort William, this hotel is steps away from West Highland Way, Loch Linnhe and Lochaber Geopark. Lochaber Geopark Visitor Centre and West Highland ...
4.3/5Excellent! (240 reviews)
"Clean hotel, rooms a tad small but were okay for what we needed! Perfect location, and unlimited free coffee machine in the bar / reception area!"

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2021

The Garrison
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
3 out of 5
North Road, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £99 per night from 25 Oct to 25 Oct
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 Great Glen ...
3.5/5Good! (485 reviews)
"Breakfast was good plenty of food, room was clean, didn't use leisure facilities but looked ok, would stay here again"

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2021

Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
Moorings Hotel
Moorings Hotel
4 out of 5
Seanivan, Banavie, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £135 per night from 26 Sep to 26 Sep
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 ...
4.1/5Very Good! (56 reviews)
"We stayed at this hotel twice on our trip round Scotland. The 2nd time was better than the 1st, mainly because the room better dodgy water pressure 1st time round. Staff were pretty good, food was fine. Bit pricey and I'm not really sure how it can be a 4 star hotel. Suited our needs you get a good ..."

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2021

Moorings Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

The Garrison
The Garrison
4 out of 5
High Street, \N, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £68 per night from 7 Oct to 7 Oct
The Garrison
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
3 out of 5
North Road, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £99 per night from 25 Oct to 25 Oct
Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club
Moorings Hotel
Moorings Hotel
4 out of 5
Seanivan, Banavie, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £135 per night from 26 Sep to 26 Sep
Moorings Hotel
Laxdale Cottage
Laxdale Cottage
3.5 out of 5
Banavie Highland, Fort William, Scotland
Laxdale Cottage
2 bedroom accommodation in Fort William
2 bedroom accommodation in Fort William
2 canal side Banavie, Fort William, SCT
2 bedroom accommodation in Fort William
Maclean Guest House
Maclean Guest House
3.5 out of 5
Belford Rd, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £130 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
Maclean Guest House
Chase The Wild Goose Hostel
Chase The Wild Goose Hostel
2 out of 5
Banavie, Fort William, Scotland
Chase The Wild Goose Hostel
Moonfrog Lets - The Old Forge
Moonfrog Lets - The Old Forge
3.5 out of 5
1 Glencairn Villas, Kilmallie Road, Fort William, Scotland
Moonfrog Lets - The Old Forge
Treetops B&B
Treetops B&B
4 out of 5
BADABRIE, BANAVIE, Fort William, Scotland
The price is £105 per night from 11 Oct to 11 Oct
Treetops B&B
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.