Do you plan to ride the Harry Potter train in Scotland and want to know how to book, what to expect and tips to ensure you make the most of this once in a lifetime experience? Read on to discover everything you need to know in our guide to this magical train journey.

If you want to take a trip on the Harry Potter train in Scotland, don’t make any plans until you’ve read this post. In it we cover all you need to know when you want to ride the ‘Hogwarts Express’ in Scotland, immortalised in J. K. Rowling’s world-famous series about the boy wizard.

It may be that you’re keen on the actual journey you’ll undertake on the Jacobite train in Scotland, or are more concerned with spotting the famous Harry Potter viaduct in Scotland, as seen on screen when the steam train heads towards Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Whichever applies, getting on board is a must for all fans of the books or film franchise!

This guide takes you through all you need to know, from frequently asked questions about the Hogwarts train in Scotland to how to book your journey via the official website, or as part of a day trip or longer tour. 

The Hogwarts Express train in Scotland has rapidly become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, allowing you to take in the stunning scenery of the landscape while hurtling along at speed. Just as Harry, Ron and Hermione did at the start of several movies, as they anticipated the start of another action-packed school year. 

Don’t miss out. Taking a trip on the Jacobite steam train in Scotland is an unforgettable experience, and this guide will help make sure you plan the best trip possible. 

Harry Potter train in Scotland 2

The Harry Potter train in Scotland – FAQs & Tips

The Harry Potter train in Scotland (the Jacobite) crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct.
The Harry Potter train in Scotland (the Jacobite) crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct.

Where is the Harry Potter train in Scotland?

The Jacobite train goes from Fort William to Mallaig, and is a return trip by steam locomotive. At 84 miles in total, the round trip takes you via Glenfinnan and Arisaig. Here’s a little more about each of those destinations.

Fort William

Fort William can be found to the south of the Great Glen and is famous for being at the foot of the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. It’s an incredibly photogenic spot and a popular place to use as a base while touring the Highlands. 

Glenfinnan

Crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland is one of the most spectacular parts of any journey aboard the Harry Potter train from Fort William. From the 21 arch viaduct, the Jacobite monument and Loch Shiel can be seen.

When time permits, the train driver will stop while traversing the viaduct so passengers can fully appreciate and photograph the panoramic views. While at Glenfinnan station, there is time to explore the on-site West Highland Railway Museum if you wish. 

View over the Glenfinnan monument in Scotland.
View of a Scottish lake and mountains and a train line.

Arisaig

The steam train from Fort William to Mallaig can also stop at Arisaig upon request. This small place plays host to the Highland Games every July, and is positioned on the shores of the Loch of the Cells. During the summer season, visitors can also take the Shearwater boat from here to the Small Isles.  

Mallaig

Mallaig is the station at the end of the line, and those who ride the Harry Potter steam train in Scotland have over an hour-and-a-half to spend at leisure here. A lunch of fish and chips is the traditional choice in this bustling ferry and fishing port. Services also run from Mallaig to Skye and the Small Isles. 

En route to Mallaig you may also spot Rum, Luck, Eigg and Canna – the Small Isles –  and the Isle of Skye. The train also passes Loch Morar and the river of the same name, plus the beaches that were used when filming Highlander.

Can you ride the Harry Potter train in Scotland?

The steam train trip aboard The Jacobite is also known as the Hogwarts Express, and it’s possible to take an 84 mile round trip on this while visiting Scotland. It departs from Fort William, the largest town in the Scottish Highlands.  

The Glenfinnan Viaduct.

How much is the Harry Potter train ride in Scotland?

The Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig is only sold as a return ticket. At the current time the cost per adult is £52 in Standard and £79.50 in First Class. You can also book a private table seating two for £180, or a compartment accommodating six for £180. Booking fees may also apply. 

How long does The Jacobite train journey take?

The full Fort William to Mallaig steam train trip takes around two hours each way, with a stop of around 90 minutes for lunch in Mallaig. 

Is The Jacobite train worth it?

Is it worth taking this Harry Potter train ride in Scotland? Oh yes. One of the world’s most scenic train journeys takes you from stunning Fort William to the Glenfinnan Viaduct before heading on to Mallaig at the end of the West Highland Line.

Along the way, you’ll pass by Loch Eil’s shoreline as well as see Scotland’s deepest lake, Loch Morar. You can also explore the West Highland Railway Museum at Glenfinnan station if you like before heading to Mallaig, where a lunch break is taken before the return trip. 

The Harry Potter train in Scotland (the Jacobite)

Is The Jacobite train wheelchair accessible?

As it’s a restored steam train, the coaches of The Jacobite are not designed to allow wheelchair access. A ramp may be provided, but often wheelchairs are too wide to fit through the door. It’s best, therefore, if mobility-impaired passengers can step up aided or unaided and walk at least a short distance. 

Can you take your own food on the Jacobite train?

There is absolutely nothing to stop you from taking your own food on the ‘Hogwarts Express’. Do bear in mind that a lunch stop of around 90 minutes is taken in Mallaig, however.

Insider tip – If you do want to take a light snack, try to pick up a bag of ‘Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans’ made by Jelly Belly so you can relive Harry and Ron’s journey to Hogwarts. They are widely available to buy online

Harry Potter train in Scotland

How to buy tickets for the Harry Potter train in Scotland

You can buy tickets from the official site operated by West Coast Railways, or purchase them as part of a day or a longer tour. 

The Harry Potter train in Scotland (the Jacobite) crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct.

Harry Potter train tickets only

Harry Potter train tickets from the official website

  • Pros

Buy from the official West Coast Railways website, where you can buy tickets and find further information all in one place. 

  • Cons

If you need to change the date, a £15 amendment fee applies. There is also a booking fee of at least £3.75. 

  • Cost 

Standard adult return fares cost from £52 via the official site. 

  • How to buy

You can buy tickets from West Coast Railways here

Day trips including the Harry Potter train

Glenfinnan, Mallaig and Glencoe day trip from Edinburgh

  • Pros

This 13 hour Jacobite steam train tour from Edinburgh includes Glencoe as well as Glenfinnan and Mallaig. A full refund can be obtained as long as you cancel up to 24 hours in advance. 

  • Cons

This trip doesn’t include a ride on the steam train. Instead, you can see and photograph the iconic scene as it crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct.  

  • Cost 

This day tour costs from £57 for an adult. 

  • How to buy

You can buy your tickets for this day trip from Edinburgh here

Insider tip – If you do spend time in Edinburgh, the place to visit was The Elephant House cafe on George IV Bridge in the Old Town. It’s where J. K. Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately, there was a fire next door to the cafe in August 2021 which damaged the building and some contents. Hopefully, the building will be repaired and the cafe up and running again soon.

Hogwarts Express and Scottish Highlands day tour from Edinburgh

  • Pros

This 13 hour trip includes a ride on the Hogwarts Express from Edinburgh, and your guide will also provide commentary as you pass the Forth Bridge, Fife, Perth and Glencoe. A full refund can be obtained as long as you cancel up to 24 hours in advance. 

  • Cons

Only a one-way ride on the steam train is included.   

  • Cost 

This day tour costs from £139 for an adult. 

  • How to buy

You can buy your tickets for this day tour from Edinburgh here

Jacobite steam train and Scottish Highlands tour from Inverness

  • Pros

This 12-hour trip includes a ride on The Jacobite and departs from Inverness. Your guide will also commentate as you pass Loch Ness, home of the legendary Loch Ness Monster as well as Urquhart Castle and the Commando Memorial. A full refund can be obtained as long as you cancel up to 24 hours in advance. 

  • Cons

This is primarily a coach tour including a trip on the steam train.   

  • Cost 

This day tour costs from £139 for an adult. 

  • How to buy

You can buy your tickets for this day tour from Inverness here

The Harry Potter train in Scotland (the Jacobite) crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct.

Multi-day tours including the Harry Potter train

3 day Highlands tour with Skye and The Jacobite steam train from Edinburgh

  • Pros

This 3 day trip includes 2 nights on the Isle of Skye with a free day to explore the island. You will also take in Loch Ness and the steam train trip between Mallaig and Fort William. A full refund can be obtained as long as you cancel up to 24 hours in advance. 

  • Cons

The steam train trip is an optional extra and only available between May and October, so do check when booking.   

  • Cost 

This day tour costs from £479 for an adult. 

  • How to buy

You can buy your tickets for this 3 day tour from Edinburgh here

6 day Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides tour from Edinburgh

  • Pros

This 6 day trip includes overnight accommodation in Inverness, Stornaway and on the Isle of Skye. You will also take in Loch Ness, the Isle of Lewis, the Isle of Harris and much more – as well as the steam train trip between Mallaig and Fort William.

A full refund can be obtained as long as you cancel up to 24 hours in advance. 

  • Cons

The one way steam train trip is only a small part of this 6 day tour.   

  • Cost 

This day tour costs from £985 for an adult. 

  • How to buy

You can buy your tickets for this 6 day tour from Edinburgh here

How will you take a trip on the Harry Potter train in Scotland?

If you want to see the Harry Potter train bridge in Scotland made famous by the movies, then taking a trip on the ‘Hogwarts Express’ from Fort William to Mallaig is a must for your UK itinerary. 

Whether you opt for a stand-alone ticket or go for a day trip or longer tour taking in The Jacobite, this is one of the most visually stunning train journeys available anywhere on earth.  Riding by steam train is also like stepping into the past at the same time. 

Read more about train travel in the UK and travel in Scotland