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Go north on your next visit to Scotland and discover Ullapool. If you are travelling through Scotland’s NC500 route, make sure you leave some time for this charming town. This is one of the main stops on the route and a great base for those that want to travel further north during their visit to Scotland. Our guide looks at the top things to do in Ullapool complete with accommodation.
Get to know Ullapool. We list our top things to do and places to stay in Ullapool below.
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Where is Ullapool?
The picturesque fishing town of Ullapool is nestled on the shores of Lochbroom; the gateway to the Northern Highlands.
If you choose here for your next holiday destination you will have a great base for exploring Scotland. There is also an abundance of things to do in Ullapool itself. Visitors to Ullapool can checkout Wester Ross and the Highlands and Inverness is only an hour’s drive away. Ferries are also available if you want to cross over to Stornoway and Lewis.
If you are looking embrace the outdoors and discover some of the natural settings that Scotland has to offer during your trip Ullapool has lots to offer.
Things to in Ullapool
Tourists visiting are spoilt for choice as there is a wealth of things to do in Ullapool.
Take an adventure while you’re here and climb some of the local mountains, go wild swimming along the town’s coast or experience something completely new!
We list our top things to do in Ullapool below.
One of my personal favourite things to do in Ullapool is Ullapool Hill.
You will find fresh air and wonderful views of Loch Broom during a hike up the Ullapool hill. This climb is suitable for beginners, as it takes roughly two hours to get to the top of the hill and back down again.
If you would like to extend the climb with a circular walk, turn right after leaving the top of the hill to enjoy views around Loch Achall.
Isle of Lewis Day Trip
On a Saturday the first Lewis ferry leaves Ullapool at 10:30 and arrives at Lewis for 13:00. The last ferry leaves Stornaway at 15:30 arriving back in Ullapool for 18:00. This gives you 2h 30m to explore Lewis. Granted, this isn’t much time and I would recommend doing an overnighter and exploring further afield into Harris, but a very short day trip is possible.
During the week this is not possible.
The Seafood Shack
The Seafood Shack is an absolute must. When we stay in Ullapool we are lucky enough to stay literally across the road from this hugely popular local seafood ‘takeaway’*.
My personal favourite has to be the fresh tempura haddock wraps or the ‘spineys’ but everything on the ever-changing menu sounds delish.
Don’t just take my word for it. This local seafood takeaway has won tons of awards:
- Winners of BBC Radio4 Food and Farming Award “Best street food or takeaway” 2017
- Winners of the Scottish Food Awards “Speciality Outlet of the year” 2017
- Winners of the Scottish Food Awards “Highly Recommended Seafood Bar” 2017
- Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards “Best Eating Experience 2018”
*I hate describing the Seafood Shack as a takeaway as nothing about The Seafood Shack is greasy or basic.
Handa Island features Toridonian sandstone cliffs and tens of thousands of seabirds. A day trip here can include spotting otters, Arctic tern, snipe, Arctic skua, oystercatchers and, of course, puffins. Lots and lots of puffins.
The only downside is that the island gets very busy in the summer and when we went there was a large queue to get off the island.
Keep in mind that puffins only nest on Handa May to July.
The bone caves are a geological site. Polar bear, reindeer and lynx bones were found here, hence the name. Another find was a 2000-year-old ivory pin. Bones and pins aside, this is a fantastic walk through a stunning valley. View the route on Walkhighlands.
Another one of my personal favourite things to do in Ullapool is visit Achmelvich Beach. Achmelvich Beach is an hour drive away from Ullapool but is totally worth it. This stunning beach is perfect in Summer and one of my personal favourite. A perfect trip here involves a picnic and a swim in the clear turquoise water.
Corrieshalloch (translated as ugly hollow) is a fantastic example of a deep gorge created by glacial meltwater.
The Carrieshalloch Gorge is just outside Ullapool. If you are driving to Ullapool from the South then you will pass right by the gorge. Make this the last stop on your journey to Ullapool, you will not be disappointed!
One of the interesting things to do in Ullapool is the town’s museum.
The town’s museum is just as interesting outside as it is inside, as Ullapool’s history is kept in a Category A listed building, so get your camera ready.
Interested in Scottish history? Visitors to the museum can learn about the social history of Lochbroom, crofting, fishing and lots more!
This is a great hang out for all the family as there is an exciting children’s activity area inside the museum.
Ullapool Golf Course
If you are visiting Scotland on a golf trip, make a stop at one of the countries most scenic spots.
You can book in advance if you want to play here or simply ‘walk-on’ and play the course without booking a tee time in advance. On the club’s official website it states that its “clubhouse has an honesty box and club hire for visitors.”
While visiting this part of Scotland, take advantage of some of the wonderful boat cruises that are available.
If you are staying in the centre of the town you can take a boat trip from Ullapool Pier. Whether you are looking for something under an hour to a half-a-day ride, providers around Ullapool will find something that will fit your needs.
During your trip, you will take in the sites of some of Scotland’s most natural coastlines and wildlife as seals and dolphins frequent the seas around Ullapool.
On our last visit here, one of the top things to do on our agenda was a boat trip around the summer isles.
We booked a day trip on the Summer Queen around the summer isles. It was a cracking day and we both got sunburnt (yes in Scotland). What made the trip was the knowledge the sailors had. They communicate with local conservation groups and coast guards. This means that if there are sightings of wildlife they know.
On our trip we saw:
- White-tailed eagles
- Loads and loads of rare seabirds that I cannot remember the name of anymore 🙁
No seals, unfortunately, but maybe next time!
When it rains, one of the best things to do in Ullapool is to visit the local pubs. Indeed, one of our favourite pastimes in Ullapool is visiting all of the Scottish pubs. You are spoiled for choice with live music and vibrant atmospheres in the summer months.
The locals are super friendly and nothing beats a pint in the Ferry Boat Inn looking over Loch Broom.
Another favourite of ours is a road-tripping through Sutherland.
This is in my humble opinion some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. Sutherland is made up of vast plains, towering mountains (most surprisingly under the 3000 ft Munro mark) and stunning beaches. A drive to Durness, Achiltibuie (said Ack Ill Ta Boo Ay) or Lochinver is an absolute must!
Wester Ross Coastal Trail
Whilst there are plenty of things to do in Ullapool itself, venturing further afield is always a good day!
Ullapool is perfectly positioned for visiting Sutherland. However, the Wester Ross Coastal Trail is equally well suited for exploring whilst in Ullapool.
This trail takes you around Wester Ross through beautiful scenery and small villages.
A top tip would be to detour into Torridon where bold Liathach and Beinn Eighe stand tall – simply breathtaking. The exposed sandstone in the Torridon hills is some of the oldest on the planet. Beinn Eighe often features in lists of the best hikes in Scotland.
Accommodation in Ullapool
Ullapool is packed with small independant B&Bs and holiday homes. There are a few big hotels; The Royal and The Caledonian to name a few. However, your best bet when visiting Ullapool is to stick to smaller accommodation. We’ve found B&B hosts to be really helpful and knowledgable and it has really made our trips in the past!
Our Favourite: Dunvegan House
This is where we have stayed the last five years in Ullapool. The house is brilliant with the comfiest bed I have ever slept in – seriously!
Big kitchen, 3 bedrooms, powerful showers, a massive garden (perfect for my wee dog Milo) and right across from the seafood shack, near the heart of the town.
Star Pick: The Ceilidh Place
You are guaranteed to have a good night’s sleep at the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool. Guests who have visited here have raved about its comfortable rooms and welcoming staff.
This cosy hideaway is not far from the Ullapool ferry terminal – making it an ideal location for travelling tourists and My Voyage Scotland’s star pick!
What’s more, the Ceilidh Place often treats its guests to live music and art exhibitions and is well known for being a cultural hub for its locals.
The Arch Inn
Ullapool’s ferry terminal, harbour and golf club are all close by to The Arch Inn, making it one of our top picks for places to stay in Ullapool.
The Inn is a great hub for travellers that want to explore the Scottish highlands and location is not its only benefit. While visiting Arch Inn make a stop off at Isle Martin and the Lael Forest Garden.
The food in here is also unreal! Fresh ‘spineys’, scallops and other fish dishes all served with Loch Broom in the background!
Ardvreck House in Ullapool is the perfect spot for those travelling to the town to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and cycling.
After a long day enjoying this scenic part of Scotland you can sit back and relax in Ardvreck House’s shared lounge and garden and enjoy the stunning views from this part of the country.
The Ferry Boat Inn
Located on Shore Street in Ullapool, The Ferry Boat Inn is just a short stroll away from the harbour. If you are travelling during your time in Scotland, you can catch a ferry here to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.
Known for its great food and excellent service, you are in for a treat at The Ferry Boat Inn. The Inn’s Blue Kazoo restaurant is a favourite with seafood fans, as it serves local fish and fresh shellfish.
This is one of the hotels in Ullapool that books up fast, so make sure you secure your place here in advance.
Views from The Sheiling are incredible, This is the perfect getaway location for couples that want to relax and enjoy the wonders of the Scottish Highlands.
The accommodation is highly rated for its excellent breakfast options and its onsite sauna; which guests here love!
Recharge your batteries after a long day of Scottish site-seeing at The Ben.
This beautiful cottage across the water from Ullapool, has stunning views of Loch Broom and it comes with all the extras that you need for a self-catering stay.
Guests have access to an electric oven, ceramic hob, fridge, microwave, washing machine and can even enjoy a home-cooked meal on the outdoor seating area which overlooks the loch.