You Can Take a Magical Ride on the Harry Potter Train — For Just $43
On my last trip to the UK, I tried to make stops at any Harry Potter travel destinations that I could. One of the experiences I absolutely had to make time for was a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland. The journey begins in Fort William and travels up the coast of Scotland for about two hours before making a stop in the waterside town of Mallaig. Passengers are welcome to leave the train and enjoy lunch — and buy Harry Potter-themed souvenirs because of course you can find them there — before getting back on the train for the return trip. During the ride, the train crosses over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is the famous crossing that the Hogwarts Express uses in Harry Potter.
This train ride is a must for any Harry Potter fan who finds themselves in Scotland. It's a scenic route through the mountains and along the water that is extremely reasonably priced — only about $43 round trip. If you wear your Harry Potter gear or bring your wand, you'll be in good company, as many others will do the same. And if you're lucky and you have beautiful weather, you'll be able to capture photos of the train rumbling over the viaduct from the movies and feel like you're really part of it all. Keep reading to see my pictures from the most magical train ride I've ever taken.
The train leaves from Fort William, Scotland
During peak season, there are two trains a day. In October when I went, there was just one a day.
It's highly advised that you buy tickets in advance
We were told there were no same-day tickets available the day we were there, but sometimes there will be. However, employees highly recommend buying tickets in advance.
It is literally a steam train
Which means there is plenty of soot to be had. I had it everywhere by the end of the day.
Wearing Harry Potter gear is highly recommended
Of course I had my Slytherin scarf.
The train runs to Mallaig
You get time to spend in the seaside town before boarding the train back to Fort William. Or you can stay in Mallaig for a while! You don't have to take the same train back to Fort William.
Seats are assigned to ensure everyone gets all the views
Your seat will be the same in both directions, but before you panic thinking that means you only get one view (like I did), know that the train turns around and you'll get the opposite-side view on the return trip.
The ride goes over the viaduct shown in the movies!
If you take this trip, rest assured that you will have ample notice as to when the train will be on the viaduct so you can have your cameras ready. If you don't have easy access to a window, there are doors with windows that you can also use, but you have to stake your claim early.