On Board the Hogwarts Express!

Well, it’s official, this was the most popular instagram photo I have ever uploaded!

This sight should be more than familiar to any Harry Potter enthusiast. Built between 1897 and 1901, the Glenfinnan Viaduct has affectionately come to be known as the route to Hogwarts on board the Hogwarts Express.

The horseshoe curve is what makes the viaduct so iconic and photogenic, with the train conductor even announcing this point in the journey 5-10 minutes prior, ensuring all Harry Potter fans have their cameras at the ready.

So, what was it like to travel on board the Hogwarts Express?

jacobite steam train

The Hogwarts Express (Jacobite Steam Train)

For those looking to make the journey, here’s all the practical information you will need in order to book and make your way to Hogwarts.

WHAT: Jacobite Steam Train (2 hour one way journey)

WHEN: Seasonal, running 12th May – 24th October 2014

WHERE: Departs from Fort William 10:15; 14:30

PRICE: $60 return ($100 return 1st class)



jacobite steam train

Our journey began at 10.00am as we boarded the Jacobite Steam Train in Fort William, ready for our 10.15am departure.

Shortly after the train departed a railway officer that could have doubled as Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) made his way through the carriages selling maps of the journey for a reasonable $1(pound). It was at this point I quizzed him for a little ‘inside information’ on where to be located in order to get the best photo of the viaducts.

If you’re travelling from Fort William, you’ll want to be sitting on the left of the train for the photo opportunity. The train passes over the viaducts at around 10.45am, but with so many Harry Potter enthusiasts on board you should head to the very back of the train at precisely 10.30am in order to secure your spot in prime position. Of course you can still get a good shot anywhere on the train, so long as you are on the left hand side.

jacobite steam train hogwarts express

There is also a souvenier shop located in carriage D, however much to my surprise they don’t have much Harry Potter merchandise. A little further along you can find the carriages used for the filming of the dementor scenes – and given you are able to move about the carriages on the journey, be sure to pop along for a peek.

The train makes one stop for around 20 minutes, and it is here you will have your photo opportunity with the broomsticks (if you fancy).

There are also snacks and drinks available for purchase on board, however I was disappointed to see there weren’t any Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.

The viaduct can be seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Most memorable was perhaps the flying car scene when Harry and Ron flew Ron’s Ford Anglia to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, only to find the Hogwarts Express was right behind them.

jacobite steam train

A big thanks to Highland Explorer Tours for letting me live out my dreams of departing the muggle world – as always, my (very enthusiastic) view is my own.

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    February 4, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Wow! Taking my girlfriend on this for her birthday! Looks great

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    July 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I would very much like to live out my dreams of departing the muggle world as well!

    Thank you!

    July 2, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I’m originally from Fort William and used to see the steam train or ‘The Hogwarts Express’ train go past my house every summer. The Harry Potter film crew used to pick students from the high school to be extras in the carriage scenes. I was fortunate enough to be picked to be an extra for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and again for Harry Potter and and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1. Such an awesome experience!

    July 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Just saw you re-post this on Facebook and my heart stopped! Scotland has always been on my list, but now I think I might need to plan a trip there much sooner! Who doesn’t love the magical world of HP?! Thanks for sharing like always Brooke! Your site, brand, and personality is such an inspiration 🙂

    November 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    This looks so amazing! I’ll have to make sure I do this next year as I need to make the most of living in the UK! Thanks for the great tips! x

    bell santiago
    October 3, 2014 at 5:49 am

    This is great, I adore harry potter! Im gunna put the train ride on my bucket list!!

    August 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    omg how have I not found this earlier? this looks so much fun!

    July 31, 2014 at 3:55 am

    OMG! That looks amazing! I wish I could go onto a train ride with the Hogwarts Express!
    Looks like you had a great time 🙂

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    Vanessa Key
    June 25, 2014 at 4:09 am

    I definitely like your blog very much 🙂 I’m a crazy Harry Potter fan (even I’m almost and this picture is awesome. I will need to go there next time visiting UK.

    Glamourous Traveller
    June 6, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Cute trip! I love how you asked for the best place to view/ take pictures; perfect for all travel bloggers who are interested in checking it out now too

    June 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    First time I visit your blog and REALLY, REALLY love it!

    Elizabeth Coleman
    June 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Seems like it would be a interesting train ride.

    June 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I got a packet of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans at the Warner Bros Studio tour in the UK. I’m sorry to say that they’re just regular jelly beans! But the packet is exactly the same as you see it in the movies so I guess its still awesome. Just don’t expect to get an earwax-flavoured one hahaha

    bakeca Rieti
    June 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    nice post

    Glen Moyer
    June 1, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Just did the Hogwarts Express myself on May 13 – end of a 3 week stay in Scotland. It’s a wonderful ride and it’s worth noting your tip to be on the left is correct, not only for the famous viaduct shot, but as that side is also the more scenic side of the ride – as the right is – for some of the trip – the road side.

    I traveled in the First Class coach and it’s quite comfy.

    Betty J. Ogburn
    June 1, 2014 at 1:32 am

    …This is probably the closest to Hogwarts one could get (besides the Harry Potter Experience in Florida)!!…

    May 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Amazing that is possible! Would feel like you’re really heading to Hogwarts with those scenes!

    May 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I’m not surprised that this is your most viewed photo, what a trip!!

    May 29, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Wauw, what a wonderful view!

    May 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Ahh this is so cool! I love how you see al the people hanging out the window to take pictures on the first photo.

    May 29, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    No photos inside the train?

    May 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Ahhh! This is breathtaking! Seriously living a fantasy!

    Adding to my bucket list.. Now!

    May 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    There is no wonder why it has been your most like photo on insta! Now I cannot wait to get on that train myself, and thanks for the tips 😉

    May 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    It looks like you had lots of fun and it’s just a fantastic idea to try out the Hogwarts Express. Your pictures are really beautiful as well.