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How To Ride The Harry Potter Train In Scotland


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Fernandina Macklin



Welcome to Scotland, a land of rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and, of course, magic. If you’re a fan of the beloved Harry Potter series, there’s an enchanting experience waiting for you: riding the Harry Potter train in Scotland.


Scotland has its own special connection to the Wizarding World, and the iconic Harry Potter train journey is a must-do for any Potterhead visiting the country. The train, known as the Jacobite steam train, takes you on a magical ride through some of the most stunning scenery in the world.


As you board the train, you’ll instantly feel the excitement and nostalgia of stepping into the world of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The journey takes you on the same route that was featured in the movies, showcasing the dramatic landscapes that served as the backdrop for the Hogwarts Express scenes.


But this experience is not just for Harry Potter enthusiasts. The train journey itself is a mesmerizing adventure, offering a unique perspective on the Scottish Highlands. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking an unforgettable travel experience, riding the Harry Potter train in Scotland will undoubtedly leave you spellbound.


In this guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan your Harry Potter train adventure, from booking your tickets to understanding the train route and what to expect along the way. So grab your wand and let’s dive into the magical world of the Harry Potter train in Scotland!


Planning Your Trip

Before embarking on your Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, it’s important to do some careful planning to ensure a smooth and magical experience. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Timing: Scotland’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to choose the right time of year to visit. The train operates from April to October, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful landscapes in full bloom. Keep in mind that certain months, such as July and August, tend to be busier, so book your tickets well in advance to secure your spot.
  • Duration: The Harry Potter train journey lasts around five to six hours, including a short stopover. Plan your day accordingly and allow some extra time for exploring the destination at the end of the journey.
  • Comfort: While the train ride itself is filled with charm and nostalgia, it’s important to ensure your own comfort. Dress in layers, as the Scottish weather can change rapidly. Also, consider bringing a cozy blanket or scarf to keep warm, as the vintage steam train can get chilly.
  • Accessibility: If you have any mobility concerns or require special assistance, it’s advisable to contact the train operator in advance. They will be able to provide you with the necessary information and ensure a comfortable journey for you.
  • Packing: Pack light, but don’t forget your camera to capture those picturesque moments. There will be plenty of opportunities for breathtaking photos along the way, so make sure your camera is ready to go.
  • Itinerary: Consider incorporating the Harry Potter train journey into a broader Scottish adventure. Explore the nearby attractions and destinations, such as the Glenfinnan Viaduct, where the Hogwarts Express crossed in the movies, or the enchanting town of Fort William.

By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your trip to ride the Harry Potter train in Scotland is memorable and hassle-free. Now that you have your trip planned, it’s time to move onto the next step: booking your tickets!


Booking Tickets

Booking tickets for the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland is an essential step in ensuring that you secure your spot on this magical adventure. Here are some important factors to consider when booking your tickets:

  • Online Booking: The easiest and most convenient way to book your tickets is through the official website of the train operator. They have a user-friendly online booking system that allows you to select your preferred date, departure station, and class of travel. Make sure to book well in advance, as tickets can sell out quickly, especially during peak season.
  • Flexible Tickets: If your travel plans are subject to change, it’s advisable to opt for flexible tickets. This will give you the freedom to modify your travel dates or cancel your booking with minimal hassle.
  • Class Options: The Harry Potter train offers different classes of travel to suit various budgets and preferences. The standard class provides comfortable seating and stunning views, while first class offers enhanced comfort, more spacious seating, and complimentary refreshments. Choose the class that best fits your needs and budget.
  • Group Bookings: If you’re traveling with a group of friends or family, check if there are any group booking discounts available. Some train operators offer special rates for larger groups, making it more affordable and enjoyable to experience the journey together.
  • Children and Family Discounts: Families traveling with children can benefit from discounted rates for young passengers. Check if there are any age restrictions or special fares for children, as this can help save money while creating lasting memories for the whole family.
  • Consider Package Deals: To make the most out of your Harry Potter train experience, look for package deals that include additional attractions or activities. Some operators offer combined tickets with access to nearby landmarks or even the opportunity to dress up in Hogwarts-inspired costumes.

Remember to double-check all the details before completing your booking and make sure to keep your e-tickets or confirmation email handy on the day of your journey. With your tickets secured, you’re one step closer to embarking on this extraordinary Harry Potter train adventure in Scotland.


Choosing the Departure Station

When planning your Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, one of the exciting decisions you get to make is choosing the departure station. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the most convenient and magical starting point for your adventure:

  • Fort William: Fort William is the most popular departure point for the Harry Potter train journey. This scenic town, located in the Scottish Highlands, offers stunning landscapes and easy access to iconic Harry Potter filming locations, such as the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Choosing Fort William as your departure station allows you to immerse yourself in the magical world of Harry Potter from the very beginning of your journey.
  • Mallaig: Another option for departure is the picturesque village of Mallaig. Located on the west coast of Scotland, Mallaig is known for its charming harbor and beautiful views of the Isle of Skye. Choosing this as your starting point will provide a unique perspective on the Scottish coastal scenery, as the train travels along the wild and rugged coastline.
  • Glenfinnan: For those seeking a shorter journey, Glenfinnan can be a convenient departure station. This small village is famous for its historic Jacobite monument and, of course, the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films. Boarding the train from Glenfinnan allows you to experience the thrill of crossing the viaduct just like Harry and his friends.
  • Other Stations: Depending on the specific train operator and schedule, it’s worth checking if there are any additional departure stations available. Some operators may offer departures from other towns or cities, providing more flexibility and accessibility for travelers.

Consider your itinerary, the duration of your trip, and the attractions you wish to explore when choosing the departure station. Each station offers its own unique charm and scenic views, so take the time to research and decide which location aligns best with your travel preferences.


Whichever departure station you choose, embark on your Harry Potter train journey with excitement and anticipation. The enchanting landscapes of Scotland await, and the magic begins as soon as you step onto the platform.


Understanding the Train Route

Before embarking on your Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, it’s essential to understand the train route to fully appreciate the breathtaking landscapes and iconic landmarks along the way. Here are the key details to know about the route:

  • Glenfinnan Viaduct: One of the highlights of the journey is crossing the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. This stunning feat of engineering is a marvel to behold, with its 21 arches spanning over 100 feet high. The viaduct is instantly recognizable from the Harry Potter films and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Scottish Highlands.
  • Loch Shiel: As the train travels through the picturesque Scottish countryside, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the beauty of Loch Shiel. This freshwater loch stretches over 17 miles and is surrounded by rolling hills and ancient woodlands. Keep your camera ready to capture the reflections of the mountains in the calm waters.
  • Ben Nevis: As the train approaches Fort William, the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis, comes into view. Standing at over 4,400 feet, this majestic peak is a sight to behold. Its towering presence adds a sense of grandeur to the already awe-inspiring journey.
  • Beautiful Landscapes: Throughout the entire train route, you’ll be treated to a panorama of Scotland’s stunning landscapes. From rolling green hills to deep purple heather-covered moors, every turn of the bend reveals a new natural wonder. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

As you ride the Harry Potter train, take the time to soak in the scenery, appreciate the craftsmanship of the historical railway, and embrace the magic that surrounds you. The train journey not only transports you physically but also immerses you in the enchanting atmosphere of the Wizarding World.


Keep in mind that the train journey is a round trip, so you’ll have the opportunity to experience the same breathtaking scenery on the return journey. This allows you to enjoy different perspectives and capture any missed photo opportunities.


Now that you have a clear understanding of the train route, the landmarks you’ll encounter, and the natural beauty that awaits, it’s time to prepare for your departure. Get ready to embark on a truly spellbinding adventure through the heart of Scotland.


Departure Times and Frequency

When planning your Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, it’s important to be aware of the departure times and frequency of the train. Here are some key details to keep in mind:

  • Seasonal Schedule: The Harry Potter train operates from April to October, offering a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Scotland’s landscapes during the warmer months. It’s important to note that the train does not operate during the winter season, so plan your trip accordingly.
  • Departure Times: The train typically departs from the chosen departure station in the morning. The exact departure times may vary depending on the specific day and season. It’s advisable to check the official website or contact the train operator for the most up-to-date departure times for your chosen date.
  • Journey Duration: The Harry Potter train journey, including the return trip, usually lasts around five to six hours. This includes a short stopover at the final destination before making the return journey. Plan your day accordingly to ensure you have enough time to fully enjoy the experience.
  • Frequency: The frequency of the Harry Potter train varies depending on the season and demand. During the peak months of July and August, the train tends to operate on a daily basis, allowing for more flexibility in choosing your preferred travel date. However, during the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October, the train may have a reduced schedule, with fewer departure options. It’s recommended to book your tickets well in advance to secure your preferred date and departure time.
  • Other Considerations: Take into account any additional events or special occasions that may impact the train schedule. For example, there may be certain days when steam train enthusiasts gather for special steam locomotive events, which could affect the availability of the Harry Potter train. Stay updated on any known schedule changes or disruptions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

By familiarizing yourself with the departure times and frequency, you can plan your itinerary accordingly and ensure that you have ample time to fully immerse yourself in the magic of the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland.


Now that you have the details regarding the departure times and frequency, get ready to step aboard the train and experience the wonders of the Scottish Highlands.


What to Expect on the Train

As you embark on the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, you can look forward to a truly magical and unforgettable experience. Here’s what you can expect when you step aboard the train:

  • Vintage Steam Train: The Harry Potter train is a vintage steam train that has been meticulously restored to its former glory. As you step onto the platform, you’ll be transported to a bygone era, immersing yourself in the charm and nostalgia of train travel from a different time.
  • Comfortable Seating: Whether you’re in standard class or first class, you can expect comfortable seating throughout the train. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey as the train chugs along the scenic route, providing beautiful views of the Scottish landscapes.
  • Stunning Views: The train journey takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Scotland. From rolling green hills to rugged coastlines, every window offers a picturesque view. Keep your camera handy to capture the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.
  • Friendly Staff: The train staff is known for their warmth and hospitality. They will ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience on board. Don’t hesitate to approach them if you have any questions or need assistance during your journey.
  • Refreshments: Depending on the class of travel you choose, you may have access to complimentary refreshments on board. First-class passengers often enjoy a selection of snacks and beverages, adding an extra touch of luxury to the journey. However, it’s also advisable to bring some water and snacks of your own to keep you energized throughout the trip.
  • Fellow Travelers: The Harry Potter train journey attracts visitors from all around the world who share a love for the Wizarding World and a sense of adventure. Prepare to meet fellow Harry Potter fans and create lasting memories together as you embark on this extraordinary journey.

As you travel on the train, take the time to soak in the atmosphere and embrace the magic that surrounds you. Whether you’re a Harry Potter enthusiast or simply seeking a unique and enchanting travel experience, the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland is sure to leave you in awe.


Now that you know what to expect on the train, get ready to embark on a journey filled with wonder, beauty, and a touch of magic.


Scenic Highlights along the Way

As you embark on the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, you will be treated to an array of breathtaking and unforgettable scenic highlights along the way. Here are some of the standout locations and landmarks that you can expect to witness:

  • Glenfinnan Viaduct: One of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks along the route is the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct. This 21-arched railway bridge is nestled amidst the stunning Scottish Highlands and featured prominently in the Harry Potter films. Get your camera ready as the train crosses this engineering marvel, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and lochs.
  • Loch Shiel: As the train travels through the picturesque countryside, you will be treated to the breathtaking views of Loch Shiel. This beautiful freshwater loch stretches over 17 miles and is surrounded by rolling hills and ancient forests. Keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the serene beauty of the water reflecting the surrounding landscapes.
  • Ben Nevis: The highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis, adds a majestic touch to the train journey. As you approach Fort William, you’ll catch glimpses of this towering peak standing at over 4,400 feet. The stunning backdrop of Ben Nevis enhances the already awe-inspiring natural splendor of the Scottish Highlands.
  • Glencoe Valley: The train passes through the legendary Glencoe Valley, known for its dramatic and haunting beauty. With its towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and rugged terrain, Glencoe is a sight to behold. This glacial valley offers a glimpse into the raw and untamed landscapes of Scotland, immersing you in its wild beauty.
  • Isle of Skye: If you’re departing from Mallaig, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning coastal views of the Isle of Skye. This mystical island is renowned for its rugged landscapes, fairy-tale-like castles, and enchanting seascapes. Keep an eye out for the famous Old Man of Storr and the majestic Cuillin mountain range.

Each of these scenic highlights adds a layer of beauty and wonder to your Harry Potter train journey. From the magnificent viaducts to the tranquil lochs and majestic mountains, Scotland’s natural landscapes will leave you in awe at every turn.


Get ready to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Scottish Highlands as you embark on this magical train adventure.


Insider Tips and Recommendations

To make the most out of your Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, here are some insider tips and recommendations to enhance your experience:

  • Book in Advance: The Harry Potter train journey is a popular attraction, so it’s advisable to book your tickets well in advance. This will help secure your preferred date, departure station, and class of travel, ensuring a seamless and stress-free experience.
  • Arrive Early: To make the most of your journey, arrive at the departure station early. This will give you time to explore the surroundings, take photographs, and soak in the atmosphere before boarding the train.
  • Choose the Right Side: If possible, choose a seat on the right side of the train when facing the direction of travel. This will offer the best views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct and other scenic highlights along the way. However, don’t worry if you can’t secure a seat on the right side, as the views from both sides are still breathtaking.
  • Be Weather Prepared: Scotland’s weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket, especially if you plan to step outside the train at any point. It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun on sunny days.
  • Keep an Eye out for Wildlife: The Scottish Highlands are home to a diverse range of wildlife. While on the train, keep an eye out for red deer, eagles, otters, and other fascinating creatures that may make an appearance along the journey.
  • Bring Snacks and Drinks: While the train may offer refreshments based on the class of travel, it’s recommended to bring your own snacks and drinks for the journey. This ensures you stay nourished and hydrated throughout the trip.
  • Engage with Fellow Travelers: Strike up conversations with fellow travelers and share your love for Harry Potter. You never know who you might meet and the connections you can make during this shared magical experience.
  • Respect the Environment: As you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands, remember to respect the environment. Dispose of any waste properly and avoid damaging or disturbing the fragile ecosystems you encounter.

By following these insider tips and recommendations, you can enhance your journey on the Harry Potter train in Scotland and create lasting memories that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.


Now, armed with these insights, prepare yourself for an enchanting adventure aboard the magical train through the captivating landscapes of Scotland.


Things to Do at the Destination

Once you reach your destination after the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland, there are various exciting activities and attractions to explore. Here are some recommendations for what to do at the end of your magical adventure:

  • Explore Fort William: If you departed from Fort William, take the time to explore this charming town. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shores of Loch Linnhe, visit the West Highland Museum to learn about the region’s history, or take a hike up Ben Nevis, if you’re up for a challenge.
  • Visit Glenfinnan: For those who departed from Glenfinnan, make sure to visit the Jacobite monument and learn about the area’s rich history. Take a walk to the shores of Loch Shiel for a serene and picturesque experience. Additionally, visit the Glenfinnan Railway Station Museum to dive deeper into the history of the iconic train line.
  • Discover Mallaig: If your journey ended in Mallaig, explore this charming fishing village. Wander along the waterfront, indulge in fresh seafood at the local restaurants, or take a boat trip to the nearby Small Isles for a unique island-hopping adventure.
  • Take a Boat Tour: Consider taking a boat tour or ferry ride to explore the nearby islands, such as the Isle of Skye or the Small Isles. These islands offer stunning landscapes, ancient castles, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and wildlife spotting.
  • Visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct: If you didn’t have the chance to marvel at the Glenfinnan Viaduct from the train, plan a visit to the area. Take a hike to viewpoints that offer stunning panoramic views of the bridge, or even book a guided tour that allows you to walk on the viaduct and experience the magic up close.
  • Seek Other Harry Potter Connections: If you’re a dedicated Harry Potter fan, seek out other Harry Potter-related attractions and connections in the area. Visit the Hagrid’s Hut replica in the nearby village of Glencoe, which was used as a filming location, or explore the magical world of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in nearby London.

Remember to check opening hours, availability, and any necessary reservations for the activities and attractions you plan to visit. Also, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the local culture and cuisine, as Scotland offers a wide array of traditional dishes and beverages to indulge in.


By taking advantage of the various activities and attractions at the destination, you can extend your Harry Potter experience and make the most of your time in Scotland.



The Harry Potter train journey in Scotland is a truly enchanting experience that transports you into the magical world of Harry Potter while showcasing the breathtaking landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. From the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct to the stunning Loch Shiel and the majestic Ben Nevis, every moment of the journey is filled with wonder and beauty.


By carefully planning your trip, booking your tickets in advance, choosing the right departure station, and understanding the train route, you can ensure a seamless and memorable adventure. Keep in mind the departure times and frequency, and be prepared for the stunning scenic highlights that await you along the way.


During the journey, embrace the nostalgia and charm of the vintage steam train, enjoy the comfortable seating, and capture the stunning views through your camera lens. Engage with fellow travelers, respect the environment, and be prepared for the unpredictable Scottish weather.


After reaching your destination, make the most of your time by exploring Fort William, Glenfinnan, or Mallaig, depending on the chosen departure station. Discover the local attractions, indulge in the culture and cuisine, and consider exploring nearby islands or other Harry Potter connections in the area.


Whether you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan or simply someone who appreciates natural beauty and unique travel experiences, the Harry Potter train journey in Scotland is an adventure not to be missed. So, grab your wand, don your Hogwarts scarf, and get ready for a magical journey through the stunning landscapes of Scotland.