From Edinburgh: How to Ride the Harry Potter Train

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Anyone in love with steam train rides and romantic landscapes must go on an Edinburgh Harry Potter train ride while visiting the city. This incredible experience is not reserved only for Harry Potter fans, everyone can enjoy beautiful scenery through the Highlands while having the unique experience of a ride on a Jacobite steam train.

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What Is Harry Potter’s Connection to Edinburgh?

Somehow it is hard to avoid connecting Harry Potter to Edinburgh, even though it is not filmed there and there is not exactly a mention of Edinburgh in the books or a movie series. The connection comes primarily through its author, J.K. Rowling. While Rowling was living in Edinburgh, she wrote many of the early Harry Potter books, and the city played a significant role in inspiring various aspects of the series. 

She began writing the first Harry Potter book in Edinburgh, while she was sitting in her favourite cafe The Elephant House. The city’s charming and historic streets, as well as its atmospheric and sometimes mysterious ambience, influenced the setting of the wizarding world. Elements of Edinburgh’s architecture and culture can be seen in the fictional locations of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

Greyfriars Kirkyard, a cemetery in Edinburgh, inspired the names of some Harry Potter characters, such as Tom Riddle and McGonagall. There’s also a headstone with the name Thomas Riddell, which might have influenced the creation of Voldemort’s real name. Also, Edinburgh Castle may have served as inspiration for aspects of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

J.K. Rowling has held book launches and events in Edinburgh, making it a significant location for Harry Potter fans. The city has hosted midnight book releases and other Harry Potter-related festivities. However, the really special place for all the fans is just outside of Edinburgh, and it is the Edinburgh Harry Potter train.

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Why Should You Take the Edinburgh Harry Potter Train Ride?

The Edinburgh Harry Potter train ride, also known as the Jacobite Steam Train, is a popular and unique experience for Harry Potter fans. A trip via West Highland Railway is memorable because of the incredible scenery as well, so even if you are not a huge fan of the series you should consider this trip. Here are the main reasons to book this trip:

It Is an Excellent Trip for Harry Potter Fans

The train journey includes a ride over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was featured in the Harry Potter films as part of the Hogwarts Express route. It allows you to relive a piece of the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and ride over the spectacular Harry Potter Train Bridge.

You Will See Amazing Scenery

The train ride takes you through the beautiful and dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. You’ll see mountains, lochs, forests, and other natural wonders, making it an excellent opportunity for photography and enjoying the splendour of Scotland’s wilderness.

You Get the Opportunity to Ride on a Steam Train

The Jacobite Steam Train is a vintage steam locomotive that offers a nostalgic and historical travel experience. It’s a step back in time and a departure from modern train travel.

It Is an Easy Day Trip From Edinburgh

While the train ride is not located in Edinburgh itself, it’s relatively accessible as a day trip from the city. Many visitors to Edinburgh choose to make the journey to Fort William to embark on the Harry Potter train adventure.

It Is Filled With Film Locations

Besides the viaduct, the train ride also passes by other locations that serve as film locations in various movies and TV shows, adding to the cinematic appeal.

What Tours Can You Take on the Harry Potter Train Scotland?

Read More: 7 Best Harry Potter Tours in Edinburgh

There are many Jacobite steam train tours from Edinburgh that you can take. You can organise an Edinburgh Harry Potter train ride yourself or go on a guided tour which you can pre-book in advance. Here we are bringing a couple of tours with great ratings that you can book today:

1. Glenfinnan, Fort William, and Glencoe Day Tour from Edinburgh

Explore the enchanting landscapes of Glencoe, Fort William, and the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct with a guided day trip departing from Edinburgh. Immerse yourself in the magical world of Harry Potter as you visit the actual filming locations for numerous memorable scenes. 

Marvel at the rugged beauty of Glencoe, where dramatic mountain ranges and valleys create a breathtaking backdrop. Discover the serene charm of Loch Shiel, a shimmering loch that played a role in the movies.

2. Isle of Skye and Hogwarts Express 4-Day Trip from Edinburgh


Embark on a captivating 4-day guided journey departing from Edinburgh, brimming with opportunities to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature, rich historical sites, and captivating tales. Hop aboard the iconic Jacobite Train for a scenic ride to Fort William, where you’ll be greeted by the charm of this Highland town. 

Continue your adventure by venturing to the enchanting Isle of Skye, shrouded in mystical mists and showcasing breathtaking landscapes at every turn. Along the way, you’ll also have the chance to explore the Glen Coe Visitor Centre, delving into the intriguing history and natural beauty of this iconic Scottish glen. 

3. 2-Day Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express from Edinburgh

Immerse yourself in the enchanting Scottish Highlands during a 2-day adventure, highlighted by a captivating journey aboard the Jacobite steam train, famously recognized as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter series. 

Delve into the intriguing history of the Jacobites, a significant chapter in Scottish history, as you traverse stunning landscapes and iconic locations. This immersive tour offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cinematic nostalgia, and historical insights, promising an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Highlands.

What Are the Alternatives to Hogwarts Express in Scotland?

Read More: The 7 Best Harry Potter Tours in Scotland To Add To Your Bucket List in 2023

If you’re looking for train journeys or experiences in Scotland that offer scenic beauty and a unique atmosphere similar to the Hogwarts Express but without the direct Harry Potter connection, there are several alternatives to consider:

The West Highland Line

This is the railway line that the Jacobite Steam Train operates on. You can take a regular ScotRail train on the West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig to enjoy the stunning Highland landscapes without the Harry Potter theme.

The Royal Scotsman

The Royal Scotsman is a luxury train that offers various itineraries throughout Scotland. While it may not have a Harry Potter theme, it provides a luxurious and scenic way to explore the Scottish countryside.

The Caledonian Sleeper

The Caledonian Sleeper is an overnight train service that connects Scotland with London. It offers a comfortable way to travel while enjoying the picturesque landscapes of Scotland. You can take this train to various destinations in Scotland, including Edinburgh, Inverness, and Aberdeen.

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Harry Potter Train FAQs

Is the Harry Potter Train in Edinburgh?

Unfortunately, there is no Edinburgh Harry Potter Train. Also known as the Jacobite Steam Train, runs in the north of Scotland, several hours drive from Edinburgh. The train journey is famous for its scenic route through the Scottish Highlands, particularly the section that crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was featured in the Harry Potter films as the route taken by the Hogwarts Express. 

Can You Go on the Harry Potter Train in Scotland?

Yes, you can go on the Harry Potter train experience in Scotland. The train that is often associated with the Harry Potter films is the Jacobite Steam Train, which runs between Fort William and Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands. Many Harry Potter fans and tourists take this train ride to experience a bit of the magic from the films. 

Is the Jacobite Express Worth It?

The Jacobite Express is worth it if you’re a fan of breathtaking scenery, Harry Potter, or nostalgic steam train journeys. The train offers a picturesque ride through the Scottish Highlands, including the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct from the Harry Potter films. 

How Long Is the Harry Potter Train Ride in Scotland?

The Harry Potter train ride on the Jacobite Express in Scotland is approximately a 2.5 to 3-hour journey each way. Keep in mind that the total duration of your trip may vary slightly based on the train’s schedule and any stops along the way. 

How Far Is the Harry Potter Train From Edinburgh?

The Edinburgh Harry Potter train operates in the Scottish Highlands, approximately 160 kilometres to the northwest of Edinburgh. You can travel to Fort William from Edinburgh by car, train, or bus, but it’s not a short journey, typically taking around 3 to 4 hours by train or car. 

Where Is the Harry Potter Train in Scotland?

The Harry Potter train, also known as the Jacobite Steam Train, operates in the Scottish Highlands, not far from Fort William. The primary route of the Jacobite Steam Train runs from Fort William to Mallaig. This scenic train journey takes you through the beautiful landscapes of the Highlands, including the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was featured in the Harry Potter films as part of the route taken by the Hogwarts Express.

Was Harry Potter Filmed in Edinburgh?

While some scenes from the Harry Potter film series were indeed filmed in various locations in Scotland, including Edinburgh, the majority of the filming took place at studios and on-location sites in England. However, Edinburgh did serve as an inspiration for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, as she wrote much of the series while living in the city. 

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