Guide Glenfinnan Viaduct – Harry Potter Hogwarts Express
For all Harry Potter fans going to Scotland: this is a must-see. You can watch the Hogwarts Express ride over the viaduct just like in the movies. Read how below.
The filming location for the scene where the Hogwarts Express passes over the viaduct is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The viaduct was designed in 1897 by Sir Robert McAlpine and is built entirely of concrete. It has 21 arches and a height of 30m above the valley. Nothing has changed about it since its construction.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is located near Fort William.
If you want to go to the viewpoint, it is about a 20-minute walk from the parking lot. It is advisable to arrive at the parking lot well in advance as there is not a lot of parking available. Especially around the time that the train crosses the viaduct, it can be crowded.
The parking is also chargeable (£3.50) but you can easily pay with your bank card. There is also a small store, cafe, and toilets.
If you don’t have a car: no problem, there are also trains (Scotrail service from Crianlarich to Mallaig) and buses (Bus 500) to Glenfinnan from Fort William. You can easily plan your trip via Google Maps.
To see the train effectively run over the viaduct, you’re going to have to plan a visit well in advance. The Hogwarts Express is actually the Jacobite steam train and runs from May through the end of September. On the West Coast Railways website, you can find a schedule of when the train will run over the viaduct.
There is a morning and an afternoon ride each time. The train crosses the viaduct about 30-40 min after leaving Fort William. So if the train leaves Fort William at 10:15, the train should cross the Glenfinnan viaduct around 10:45. So in the afternoon, this is 13:20 from Sunday to Friday and 15:00 on Saturday.
To be sure of a seat, it is best to be at the viewpoint at the time the train leaves Fort William.
How to see the Hogwarts Express?
You can’t see the Hogwarts Express from the road, unfortunately. You really have to park and go to a viewpoint to see it.
From the visitor center, there is a viewpoint from where you can see the train from a distance. Perfect for persons who cannot do the hike.
The best way is to walk to the viewpoint via the viewpoint trail (20-30 minutes). From the parking lot, there is now a well-marked trail that takes you to the viewpoint. Walk under the gate that says “Footpath to Viaduct” and follow this path to the viaduct.
After crossing the wooden bridge you eventually come to a junction. Here you go straight ahead and under the viaduct. Then there is a wooden gate that you can easily open to continue the walk. The next bit is a fairly steep one but the path is easy to follow. At the viewpoint itself, there are improvised seats on rocks if you are on time.
Try to find a nice spot and then the wait is on.
Is it worth it?
I found it a very enjoyable experience as a Harry Potter fan. But keep in mind that you will never be alone here.
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