Ullapool is a village on the shores of Loch Broom in Ross and Cromarty in the Scottish Highlands. With a population of 1500 in 2020, it's a ferry port and most visitors are just passing through on the way to and from Stornoway on Lewis. Reasons to stay are for hill-walking and exploration of the wild mainland scenery.
Ullapool is 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Inverness, which has the nearest airport and railway station. Follow A835 and allow 75 min.
By bus: Scottish Citylink Bus 961 takes 80 min from Inverness. It's timed to meet the ferries, running twice M-Sa and once on Sunday. An adult single in 2022 is £16 and in summer you'd best book ahead. There are no through-buses from Edinburgh or Glasgow, but with connections to join the 961 it might take six hours and cost £35.
Stagecoach Bus 61 also runs twice M-F from Inverness via Dingwall, Strathpeffer, Contin and Braemore. This is mostly a school bus, so its times vary between term and holidays.
On schooldays only, Bus 890 runs to Ullapool from Kinlochbervie in the morning, taking 2 hours via Laxford Bridge, Kylesku and Elphin, and returning north in the afternoon. An earlier Bus 891 continues from Ullapool to Dingwall, starting back around 14:45.
By boat: Calmac ferries sail from Stornoway on Lewis, taking 2 hr 30 min. They sail year-round, with two sailings M-Sa, one on Sunday Nov-March and two April-Oct - see Stornoway#Get in for fares. These ferries often sell out in summer, so even foot passengers should book in advance. Be at the pier at least 45 min before sailing.
1 Ullapool ferry pier on Loch Broom is the bus and ferry terminus.
Ullapool is small and easily seen on foot, but you need your own wheels to get around the countryside.
Taxi operators are Ullapool Taxis (+44 7517 612619 or +44 1854 612619) and Ewen's (+44 1854 612966).
- Town centre is attractive early Victorian low-rise. Any walk that gains height is quickly rewarded by great views over Loch Broom.
- 1 Ullapool Museum, 7 West Argyle Street IV26 2TY, ☏ . Apr-Sep Th-Tu 11:00-16:00. Museum in a Thomas Telford church built in 1829. Adult £5, child free.
- 2 Corrieshalloch Gorge is a deep ravine, where the Abhainn Droma thunders over the 150 ft Falls of Measach. There a viewing bridge below the waterfall, accessible free 24 hours, and the area is a nature reserve maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. The gorge demonstrates how our idea of "beauty" was transformed in the 19th century: Coire Shalach is Gaelic for "unattractive gorge" and to anyone herdng cattle it was a confounded nuisance. It's 12 miles south of Ullapool on A835, by the junction with A832 to Gairloch.
- 3 Rhue Lighthouse is more correctly a beacon, marking the entrance to Loch Broom towards Ullapool. It's a short walk from the lane off A835 north of town.
- 4 Isle Martin is a nature reserve administered as part of the Summer Isles, but so far from the main group that it makes for a separate boat trip. A flour mill here worked until 1948, but from the 1960s the island was depopulated and turned into a reserve.
- 5 Dùn Canna is the rubble of an Iron Age fort, maybe from 500 BC. You just come for the coast hike and views.
- Clear night skies: you need to go a mile or so out of town to get clear of skyglow, then the Milky Way and other celestial objects swim into view. It's a lost cause May-July when the nights never get truly dark, just a brief "simmer dim".
- What's on? Read Ullapool News or listen to Loch Broom FM on 102.2 and 96.8 FM.
- McPhail Centre is a performing arts venue east side of town on the main road north, Mill St.
- Ullapool Hill is a 258 m outcrop of Meall Mòr. There are clearly marked trails east side of town. See Ullapool Walks for this and other routes.
- Golf: Ullapool GC is north side of town, white tees 5228 yards, par 70, visitor fee £30.
- The Summer Isles are visited by boat trips on the sedate Summer Queen or on a bouncy RIB. Trips also sail from Achiltibuie, a shorter crossing.
- The pipe band parade in town on Thursday evenings in summer.
- Highland Games: Ullapool no longer holds its own, though they hope to restart. The closest are in Achiltibuie in late June or in Lochinver in August.
- Ullapool Book Festival is held in mid-May. The next is probably 5-7 May 2023, tbc.
- The Guitar Festival is 3 days of acoustic guitar music in early October at the Macphail Centre. The next is 7-9 Oct 2022.
- 1 Lael Forest Garden (10 miles south of Ullapool on the A835). An arboretum with some trees grown from seed by 19th century tree hunters. Run by Forestry and Land Scotland, it has car parks and walks.
- Banks: Bank of Scotland is on West Argyle St, one block back from the ferry pier, open M W F 10:00-14:00. Royal Bank of Scotland is 100 yards east of it, open M-F 09:30-15:30. There's also an ATM in Tesco.
- 1 Tesco, Latheron Lane IV26 2XB. M-Sa 08:00-22:00, Su 09:00-20:00. Well stocked medium sized supermarket.
- Saturday market is held along Quay Street April-Sept, Saturdays 09:00-17:00. Crafts and local produce, with organic vegetables, seafood, smoked cheese and fish, bakery.
- Fuel: Lochbroom filling station, 400 yards east of the ferry pier, has 24-hour pumps. The shop is open M-Sa 07:30-20:00 and Su 08:30-19:00.
- Ullapool Bookshop, Quay Street IV26 2UE, ☏ . M-F 09:00-21:00, Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 10:00-17:00. Great selection of general and Scottish titles.
- Arts and crafts: there's half a dozen shops near the ferry pier, and see also Ceilidh Place bookshop.
- West Coast Deli at 5 Argyle St is open daily 09:00-17:00 and does takeaway but the cafe remains closed in 2022.
- The Seaforth, Quay St IV26 2UE (next to ferry pier), ☏ . Daily 11:30-21:00. Reliable trad Scottish fare. Cash only.
- The Dipping Lugger, 4 West Shore Rd IV26 2UR (next to ferry pier), ☏ . Th 19:00-23:00, F-Su 12:30-14:00, 19:00-23:00. Upmarket modern Scots cuisine, great reviews. They also have rooms.
- Seafood Shack, 9 West Argyle St IV26 2TY, ☏ . Summer daily 12:00-20:00. Excellent seafood takeaway trailer, there's always a queue.
- Essence Of India, West Lane IV26 2UT, ☏ . Daily 17:00-21:30. Actually Bangladeshi but serving all the Indian classics. The erratic quality may be part of the authenticity.
- The Arch Inn, 10 West Shore Street IV26 2UR (100 yards west of ferry pier), ☏ . Daily 14:00-23:00. A nice atmosphere, often has live bands. Food decent if you can wait for the slow service. They may have rooms.
- Others in town centre are Ferry Boat Inn and Waterfront Bar within Royal Hotel.
- Distillery: Highland Liquor Company makes gin. The shop is at 26 West Argyle St a block back from the ferry pier, open daily 10:00-18:00.
- 1 Broomfield Holiday Park, West Lane, Ullapool IV26 2UT, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Camping and caravan site open April - Sept, close to town and ferry pier on the shore of Loch Broom. Tent £20, caravan £24.
- 2 Ullapool Youth Hostel, Shore Street IV26 2UJ, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:30-22:30, check-out: 10:00. Great hostel on the sea front open April-Oct. Clean and safe, a few minutes walk from the ferry pier and the bus stop. Good kitchen and internet access. Guests can use the lounge till 12:00, then you need to be out until 16:30. Dorm £22 ppn, breakfast £7.
- Over a dozen small guesthouses and B&Bs in town, with various rules on dogs, children and minimum stays.
- 3 The Ceilidh Place, 14 West Argyle Street IV26 2TY, ☏ , email@example.com. Open all year, it's a hotel, restaurant, bookshop, café, pub and arts venue. Comfy rooms, live music in the bar, the food gets mixed reviews. B&B double £110.
- 4 Riverview, 2 Castle Terrace, Ullapool IV26 2XD, ☏ . Clean and welcoming, all rooms en-suite. No children or pets. 2 night minimum stay so it doesn't work as a stopover for the ferry. B&B double £100.
- Caledonian Hotel, Quay Street IV26 2UG (One block north of ferry pier), ☏ . 83 room hotel in turretted old building, often used by coach parties. Under refurbishment, the completed rooms are comfy (though many are small), the others are tatty and worn. B&B double £110.
As of July 2022, Ullapool has 4G from EE, O2 and Vodafone, and a basic mobile signal from Three. The approach road A835 only has a signal from EE. 5G has not reached this area.
- Ferries ply to Stornoway on Lewis: not the most attractive spot in the Western Isles, but the obvious base for exploring.
- North to Achiltibuie, The Summer Isles and Lochinver.
- South to Gairloch, via the Arctic Convoy Museum and Inverewe Gardens, then Torridon.
- North West Highlands Geopark extends from Torridon through Ullapool up to Durness. The gneiss is nice.
- North Coast 500 is a motoring itinerary that swings through Ullapool.