Scotland’s Harry Potter Train: A Spectacular Potter Adventure

glenfinnan viaduct

So you’ve been on the Harry Potter Studios Tour and you’re wanting to expand your Potter experience, then look no further, Scotland’s Harry Potter train is for you.

We boarded our carriage at Arisaig, Scotland’s western most train station, with excitement. Whilst officially known as the ‘Jacobite Steam Train‘, it has been lovingly renamed the ‘Harry Potter Train’ by many, after the track was used in several of the movies. The Potter fans were particularly excited and had been waiting for this moment the whole trip. The non Potter fans, were just as excited, anticipating the beautiful scenery that lay ahead on what is one of the world’s famous train journeys and one of the best things to do in the Scottish Highlands.

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Jacobite steam train

Setting off on the Harry Potter Train

It didn’t take long before we were met with the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands, in my opinion, one of the best places in Scotland. The journey is unique as it passes by mountains, streams, expansive lochs and rocky outcrops. The landscape was so stunning that despite the cold, we opened the windows and poked our heads out in order to take photos and get the best views. This was a fabulous idea until we went through a tunnel and ended up getting covered in coal. It seems the windows were a little tricker to close than open and we didn’t quite make it in time

READ | Our 5 Day Scottish Highlands itinerary

scottish highlands

Look out for the hints at Harry Potter

Whilst the train itself isn’t Harry Potter themed (the posh amongst us can sit in plush first class, however us mere muggles sat back in 3rd class) there are a few throw backs from the movie to look for. When you reach Glenfinnan station, if you look carefully, you’ll find a broomstick very similar to a Nimbus 2000 resting up against an arch at the station.


Glenfinnan station

Travelling over the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct

The most exciting part of the ride, and the most memorable from the films, is the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct. Made famous when Ron and Harry take Ron’s enchanted Ford Anglia to school instead of the Hogwarts Express and nearly have an accident!


Thankfully riding across on the train is a little less hectic, although nonetheless exciting! At 100 feet high and around 1000 feet long, this gently curving viaduct is simply majestic. We all vied for a spot by a window to film the train as it negotiated the viaduct. The train was certainly abuzz with enthusiasm! The scenery around the viaduct is also spectacular, so it was hard to know where to look. All in all the beauty of the location, uniqueness of the viaduct and connection to the Harry Potter Films made it an iconic and unforgettable experience.

READ | Our guide to Harry Potter in Melbourne and seeing the Cursed Child play!

Scottish highlands

Journeying on to Mallaig

Whilst the viaduct certainly is a highlight of the trip, the change in scenery as the train steams on to Mallaig keeps your eyes firmly focussed out the windows. Slowly green hills are replaced with rockier outcrops and large lochs.

With heavy hearts we pulled into Mallaig. What a spectacular experience.


Scottish highlands

What you need to know about riding the Harry Potter Express

If you’d like to ride the Jacobite train, its best to book in advance. The train runs from May to October. An adult first class ticket is £59.00 return or £54.00 one way. An adult third class ticket is £35.00 return or £30.00 one way. If you’re feeling fancy, you can book a private table for two in first class for £121.00.

​Several locomotives run the route and you can learn a little more about them here. If you would like to book to sit in the traditional compartments like what the children in Harry Potter did, make sure to book well in advance!

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Harry Potter train


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23 thoughts on “Scotland’s Harry Potter Train: A Spectacular Potter Adventure”

  1. My daughters and I are huge fans of the films and the books! It would be awesome to be able to ride this train and relive the movie scenes!

  2. The scenery in Scotland is just beautiful, I’ve actually never been there at any other time of the year but Winter when it was covered in snow and freezing but these photos are so beautiful! I loved these scenes of the Flying Ford Anglia in Harry Potter! So funny!

  3. Debra @ Traveling Well For Less

    The Jacobite train looks fun. I confess, I haven’t seen the Harry Potter movies. I’ve seen snippets of a couple, but have never watched one all the way through.

  4. Mustard Seed Money

    Wow that looks like so much fun. Visiting Scotland is on my bucket list. I look forward to reading more of your posts!!!

  5. I have to be honest I am one of those weird people who never got into Harry Potter. However, it looks like an incredible journey!

  6. RaW | Ramble and Wander

    I love, love, love Scotland! Used to live there for 2 years but never really got the chance to travel around by train there apart from between London and Edinburgh, and Edinburgh and Glasgow. Did however manage a road trip around the Scotland and it’s just amazingly beautiful! So I can imagine how it’s like if taking the train too. Would have loved to try out this train ride even if it’s just for the view of and around the viaduct.

  7. My Harry Potter-obsessed son would LOVE this! How long is the journey and did you get a round trip ticket? Scotland is so beautiful that any train journey would be spectacular but this scenery here really does look stunning. I also love the little nods to HP like the broom at the station.

  8. I didn’t know about this particular Harry Potter Train ride. My family and I would love to take this ride and imagine we were starring in the films.

  9. I’ve never read the Harry Potter books and I haven’t seen the movies. But the scenery on this train ride looks gorgeous!

  10. Trisha Velarmino

    Everyone surely loves a steam train. Added with the beautiful West coast scenery and a splash of sunshine. Oh this Terrific! I think its a trip of pure nostalgia. Were you taken back to the days of steam as soon as you step aboard?

  11. danielle hambuckers

    I am so, so jealous about this, I’m such a harry potter geek and I would love to do this sometime!

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