Glenfinnan Sleeping Car

Quirky hostel accommodation in a comfortable, homely vintage railway carriage

A hostel in an original, 1950s railway carriage?

Yes, when you book with us you will be staying in a real, repurposed, vintage coach

How cool is that? Each of the 'rooms' is in an actual  compartment, with an original sliding door.

The Sleeping Car is right opposite Platform 1, so if you arrive by train you only have a few steps to take to get to your acommodation!

It even 'rocks' ever so slightly when folk walk about inside, as it is a genuine carriage and still has all of its original suspension, and sits on a wee bit of track. 

Railway memorabilia and posters decorate the walls inside, and you will feel as if you are travelling back in time as you relax on the original sprung carriage seats in the (communal) seating area. 

NB: please don't expect a huge room, the compartments are very compact! But there is storage under the bottom bunk

We are proud to be an independent hostel, and as such we are members of Independent Hostels UK and Scottish Hostels.

Glenfinnan Station, the Station Museum, Signal Box and Dining Car

Lots to see and do right on your doorstep at Glenfinnan Station

The Sleeping Car is just one of a 'family' of interesting things to see and do at Glenfinnan Station. 

The Sleeping Car and the Dining Car are part of the Station Museum’s rolling stock collection , and give visitors a hands-on railway heritage experience. 

With the Museum exhibition right next door in the Edwardian Station building, spending a night in the Sleeping Car is almost like spending 'A Night at the Museum’!

The Glenfinnan Station Museum

The Glenfinnan Station Museum (which tells the history of the West Highland Line, including the building of the Glenfinnan Viaduct) is housed in the original Station building. 

Entry to the Museum (usually open April to end October) is FREE for Sleeping Car and Dining Car guests.

Opening hours: 0900-1700 daily, out of hours by arrangement, see notice on door when closed)

The Signal Box

The Signal Box is open by arrangement. You can have a guided tour, ask questions, and even pull some of the 15 levers yourself!

You can email to book a tour of the Signal Box, and see more about it here

(Some pics here are courtesy of The Flying Fluskey, and Kirstyn Alex)

The Station Dining Car

Sitting right next to the Sleeping Car is the Dining Car - also a 1950s carriage - which is the Station Museum’s tearoom.

It serves wholesome, home-made breakfasts and lunches in a unique railway setting. Breakfast (including Full Scottish Breakfast) is from 0830 to 1100, lunch starts at 1130.  

Look out for the Daily Specials, Platters of Home Smoked Produce and High Teas. The Dining Car is licensed, so you can enjoy beer or wine with your meal.

The Dining Car closes at 1700. (2024: open 15th March to 28th October).

Open Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Sat (0830-1630, last kitchen orders 1600); Fri 0830-1600 (last kitchen orders 1500); Wed evening 1730-2000 (last kitchen orders 1900). 

*Open Mondays too in July and August*

NB: The Dining Car also does a pre-cooked Takeaway Menu for you to heat up in the Sleeping Car, and you can pre-order, BUT ONLY ON THE DAYS THEY ARE OPEN! see here

Glenfinnan

Where history and magnificent scenery come together

The Sleeping Car is in the the hamlet of Glenfinnan, in the rugged western Highlands of Scotland. On the beautiful 'Road to the Isles', Glenfinnan is about 14 miles west of Fort William, the 'Outdoor Capital of the UK'.

Glenfinnan has always attracted a lot of visitors, mainly due to its central place in Scottish history, as the place where the third, and final, Jacobite rising began in 1745.

The Glenfinnan Monument, built beside Loch Shiel in 1815 to commemorate the '45 (as it is called), is world-famous. You can book to climb to the top for the most amazing views of Loch Shiel and the surrounding mountains (click here to make a booking to climb the monument). 

Harry Potter fans will recognise Loch Shiel as the 'Black Lake', and from the top of the monument you can try to guess where Hogwarts might be.

The majority of today's visitors come to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct (aka the 'Harry Potter Bridge'), preferably when the Jacobite Steam Train (aka the 'Hogwarts Express') passes over it (April-end October)

Glenfinnan Viaduct is about one kilometre to the east of the station, and there is a lovely hillside footpath - the Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail - along the side of the mountain, starting right beside the Sleeping Car. 

The Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail (you can download the app here for about £1) takes you to the Viaduct Viewpoint after a 30-45 minute walk.  This is the most popular place to view the Jacobite Steam Train cross the Viaduct as you can see the classic full arc of the structure. 

The Trail was completed in 2013 by the Station Museum, whose volunteers are responsible for most of its upkeep. The boardwalks at the Viaduct end of the path were made from timber felled to make way for the car park at the bottom of Station Road.

You can walk back from the Viaduct through the village to the Station, making this a lovely circular walk of about 1 hour. 

Those doing the Cape Wrath Trail or on National Cycle Route 78 will probably pass through Glenfinnan. Although if you are on NCR 78 we would suggest you take the train instead of the stretch along the A830 as it is a very fast, dangerous road to cycle. 

Eating and drinking in Glenfinnan

The Dining Car is right next to the Sleeping Car, plus there are other places to eat and drink here in Glenfinnan within a few minutes' walk

The Dining Car

Pop in for a snack or a meal to eat in or take out, or a sweet treat. There is also a terrace with lovely views of the surrounding mountains.

(Closed Sundays and Mondays; Open Sundays in July and August)

Dogs allowed on the terrace (not inside)

Find them on Instagram here

The Dining Car also does Fish and Chip Fridays from their horse trailer, beside the Dining Car, on certain dates - check here on their catering  Instagram.

Usually from 1800-1930 (best to book a time slot by messaging them through Instagram here for pick up, it gets very busy!). 

Absolutely delicious, made by Duncan the Dining Car chef and the team. Don't miss the home-made tartar sauce. 

Glenfinnan Coffee Co

If you're looking for great coffee, try the quirky coffee bar in a horse trailer.

You can usually find Jamie and Iain, aka Glenfinnan Coffee Co, parked up by the beautiful church of St Mary and St Finnan.

They also use compostable cups :) Go check them out, you won't be disappointed!

They are a pop-up, so they  are more likely to be there regularly between April and October.

Find them on Instagram here

The Prince's House Hotel

A former coaching inn dating to the 17th Century, the Princes House still has a very warm welcome for weary travellers, serving meals from locally-sourced ingredients in its Stage House Bar & Bistro or restaurant. 

This small but very friendly hotel offers fine dining as well as bar meals, and there is an amazing seasonal tasting menu for a real treat. 

(NB: As the PHH is a small hotel, they cannot take dinner reservations for large groups)

Dogs are not allowed inside

Booking is essential, click here

Glenfinnan House Hotel

Right beside Loch Shiel, with views of the Glenfinnan Monument and mountains, this country house hotel welcomes visitors to feast on locally-sourced food in its lounge or dining room. 

It also has a Whisky Bar (pictured above; other drinks are available!) and seating in its hall by a log fire.

There are daily specials, and vegetarian and vegan options, plus afternoon teas.

 
Dogs are allowed inside

Online booking for lunches, afternoon teas and dinner here

NTS Glenfinnan Monument Visitor Centre

The NTS Centre has two wee cafés on its site opposite the Monument and Loch Shiel. 

From spring to autumn, the outdoor 'Viaduct View Café' (find it in the NTS' car park) serves take-away fayre including skin-on fries, panninis, toasties, pizza twists, porridge pots, crisps, and salads, plus tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cold drinks and ice-cream tubs.

The indoor 'Monument View Café' takes over in winter, serving hot and cold drinks. soups, pasties, sandwiches and cakes, to eat in or take away.

Dogs are not allowed inside the centre

Find NTS Glenfinnan Monument Visitor Centre online here

Travel connections

Glenfinnan is a very well-connected place, great for the start - or the end - of an adventure

FERRIES

Mallaig

Onward ferry connections operated by Caledonian MacBrayne (known in Scotland as CalMac - click here) are available from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye, to the small isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck, and Canna, and to South Uist

There are also ferries from Mallaig to Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, contact Western Isles Cruises for the timetable/fares.

Oban

From Oban ferries sail to the islands of Lismore, Kerrera, Colonsay, Coll, Tiree, Barra, Mull and South Uist.

RAIL

In Scottish Gaelic the line is called Rathad Iarainn nan Eilean (Iron Road to the Isles). Guests can travel from London Euston Station overnight on the Caledonian Sleeper to Fort William, and then travel on by train to Glenfinnan, and to  Mallaig if they wish. 

For train times and fares, click here

For Caledonian Sleeper times and fares, click here

BUS

There are also bus connections via CityLink from the north and south of Scotland to Fort William. The Fort William Bus Station is next to the Train Station. Click here for CityLink times and fares.

The local bus company is Shiel Buses (Busaichean Seile in Gaelic). For buses from Glenfinnan to Mallaig and Fort William, and further afield, see their timetable here

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