Yes, It’s true. You are able to ride The Hogwarts Express.
What’s even more magical is that you’ll journey through countryside made famous by the Harry Potter films.
Buckle up, let’s show you how.
What is The Hogwarts Express?
The Hogwarts Express is a real train that runs across 84 miles of stunning Scottish countryside.
Many consider this route to be the greatest railway journey in the world.
The steam train is named ‘Jacobite’ and was heavily featured in the films.
What is the route?
You’ll board in Fort William and end up at Mallaig, which is near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis.
During the journey you’ll take in two famous lochs, the deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar and then the deepest seawater loch, Loch Nevis.
Make sure you pay close attention when you cross the Glenfinnan viaduct. This was the bridge to Hogwarts. It’s 380 metres long and 31 metres high.
Before you board stop by nearby Glen Coe, which was used in many of the Harry Potter films. It was the set of Hagrid’s hut and also home of the bridge leading to Hogwarts’ entrance.
How about dates?
There is lots of availability during the summer holidays at the time of writing. As always, this can change quickly!
Operating months are between April to September.
Weekend dates are available between June to September.
How much is it?
At the time of writing the price starts at £18.75 for a child and £31.75 for an adult.
What about longer tours?
Viator offer 2-Day Jacobite Experience including the Hogwarts Express. There is a lowest price guarantee and they start from £210. What does this include?
- Overnight trip combining stunning Highland scenery with tales of Jacobite history
- Ride on the famous Jacobite Steam Train, better known as Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films
- Enjoy a scenic drive through the Cairngorm National Park
- Transport by luxury and midi coach
- Choose from B&B or hotel accommodation for your overnight stay
- Group size max 32 on mini coach
What else can I do Harry Potter themed?
If you can’t make it to Scotland, check out our Harry Potter break deals – these include tickets to the Warner Bros studios and hotel. This is a DIY type deal where you book both separately. It’s usually the cheapest option.
Great Video Of The Hogwarts Express
Don’t wish to ruin the surprise for anyone but if you do want a peek at what it’s all about – this video is amazing!
And another from Tessa Netting, a BIG Potter fan showing you Things To Do on the Hogwarts Express. Great job!
Had to include this one. Meet Alec. He was the driver of the Jacobite steam train. He’s worked on the tracks for 60 years.
What a beautiful story.
Hogwarts Express / Jacobite Reviews
Okay, it all looks amazing!
How about the reviews from fellow travellers?
With thousands of reviews (no surprise is it?) it scores very highly with a rating of 4.5. Check these out with some very good tips.
Best seats – choose Harry Potter style
After reading nearly all the reviews on this site and several blogs, I managed to work out the best plan so thought I would share! On the website it says ‘Unfortunately we cannot guarantee which way your seats will be facing, or which side of the train your seats will be on, as sometimes the carriages are turned around without notice’. I worked out that the only way to guarantee forward facing seats on the left hand side of the train is to book window seats in the Harry Potter style carriage – although they do not state it, it always faces the same way. So you want to be in Carriage D in 1f, 4f, 7f or 10f (these are the window seats facing forward) or if there are 2 of you then the second person wants the middle seat facing forward 2f, 5f, 8f, 11f. The people are very kind if you email them to ask to change tickets. Also make sure you book Nov 30/Dec 1 when tickets come out as they sell out quickly. I am sure this would be a wonderful experience wherever you sit, but the only negative reviews I found were from people who ended up on the RHS of the train or those who were in the aisle seats in the HP carriage (avoid seats 3,6,9,12). This is a fabulous train ride whether you love trains, Harry Potter or both! We highly recommend:)
Date of experience: September 2018
Great day out! But book in advance and take cash.
During our recent holiday to Scotland we decided to make a trip on the Jacobite as had read many good things. We tried to make a booking online for a few days in advance and this successfully went through, but upon looking at the tickets that arrived it had unfortunately defaulted to the next available date in October.
We were able to get the refund however upon phoning the helpline (many of the helplines just ring out or go to answer phone. Look at your PayPal records as there is a direct number on the receipt you can call, which was answered first time).
We were recommended that if we were to show up at 8:30am on the day of travel we might be able to buy seats for that mornings journey. We arrived at 8:30Am and were around the 30/35 people in the queue. We however hopeful. The queuing for the train was very chaotic and a little stressful, there was no dedicated way to queue so it formed in a number of places and a few families pushed in head of us.
Once the train arrived we unfortunately didn’t manage to get seats for the morning trip, so headed back for 1pm (train leaving at 2pm) this time we managed to get seats, there was an unfortunate argument from a number of passengers as once the barrier opens, you all head to Coach D for tickets, so if you run along the platform you can bypass the queue that you just waited in, resulting in a few arguments.
But this time we managed to get seats. A private cabin which was originally a first class carriage, so travelled in absolute style and was a very nice reward for almost 6 hours of waiting, unknowing if we would get on the train at all.
The staff were all amazing and very helpful, the poor girl pulling the trolley did look a little deflated at hearing a few Harry Potter jokes from us, but she must have to deal with it 100s times each journey. So kudos for her smiling and playing along.
It was of course raining, but that didn’t dampen our fun and added to the magic. Mallaig was very very busy, but that tends to happen when a train with 400+ tourists arrive all at once. so no complaints, we had a look around and then headed back to the train with fish and chips for the return journey.
Overall it was a fab day out, the queuing was the only criticism, lots of stressed adults and worried looking children.
So my advice is book way in advance if you can, if not get there very early like 7am. Take lots of cash as you can’t use card on the train. So plan how much you will need, you can always get out more in Mallaig if needed. Take a map on the train. Its great to know what’s coming up as the train twists and turns around the mountains and lochs.
Date of experience: August 2018
Images of The Hogwarts Express / The Jacobite
Hogwarts Express / The Jacobite Address
Fort William Railway Station, Fort William, The Highlands, PH33 6EW, Scotland