Who doesn’t remember as a 13 year old reading Harry Potter and wishing you were entering platform 9 and 3/4 waiting to board the Hogwarts Express?
Even as an adult, I am still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter! Any time I am lucky enough to go to London, I scout out places there were used during filming of the movies and riding the “Hogwarts Express” has been on the top of my bucket list for the longest time.
The Jacobite Steam Train
In Fort William, a town in the Scottish Highlands, is the steam train called the Jacobite Steam Train. The Jacobite Steam Train departs from Fort William and heads to its final stop, Mallaig. The 84 mile round train journey is through some of the most beautiful parts of the Scottish Highlands.
The Jacobite Steam Train runs from April until October for the morning service and, May until September for the afternoon service.
All prices are based on one passenger, with the exception of the private table for 2
Getting to Fort William
The address for the station is; Tom-na-Faire, Station Square, Fort William, Highland, PH33 6EN.
From Edinburgh take the M9 to Stirling then the A84, A85 (to Crianlarich) and A82 to Fort William.
From the south, take the M6 and M74 to Glasgow. Follow the A82 from Glasgow.
From Aviemore take the A9 and A86
From Inverness, take the A82.
There is plenty of parking near the railway station in Fort Willaim. I suggest you allow 20 minutes for parking, and you are not permitted to part in the supermarket car park.
If you are planning on travelling by train you are advised to arrive in Fort William the day before. The regular train from Glasgow arrives after the 10.15 departure. Check out the Scot Rail Sleeper service as this may arrive in time. Check the train time tables for most up to date travel information
The Jacobite Steam train returns to Fort William in time to catch a service train to either Glasgow or Mallaig.
Our experience on the Hogwarts Express…..
We booked our tickets months in advanced and, the first time I tried to book tickets, the website said the tickets were booked out. I am not sure how we managed to get our tickets. I suggest you book well in advance because the tickets do sell out.
We drove from Edinburgh to Fort William the morning of our train trip. The drive from Edinburgh was beautiful, it would have been nice if arrived the day before so we could enjoy the drive, especially through Glen Coe.
When booking your tickets you cannot choose your seats. They are randomly assigned and we were not lucky enough to be seated on the side viaduct side of the train…..on either of the journeys. On the way back we spent most of the trip standing in between the carriages by a window to get a good view of the viaduct.
As we were travelling in October the weather was not fantastic, especially when we arrived in Mallaig. Due to the inclement weather, the pubs, cafes and restaurants were very busy, many were booked out. I recommend booking before you go.
Mallaig is a very beautiful but small fishing village, it can appear very crowded when the train arrives. There are also many visitors in the village who do not take the train!
As you are travelling in Scotland, don’t forget to take an umbrella or rain jacket with you.
Overall, if you are a huge Harry Potter fan (or even if you’re not!) it is well worth a trip to Fort William and well worth the money to ride the “Hogwarts Express”.
If you are not seated on the viaduct side of the train (the left hand side) find a window to stand by before you get to the viaduct!!
Approximate passing times for the viaduct are: Morning Train 10:58 outbound and 15:00 return / Afternoon Train 15:20 outbound and 19:30 return.