The HighlandsRegions of Scotland

The Jacobite Steam Train Visitor Guide

The Jacobite steam train has been described as one of the greatest train journeys in the world. Covering 84 miles, the Jacobite travels from Fort William to Mallaig on the northwest coast of Scotland. Passengers can sit back in the historic carriages and experience the best of the Scottish Highlands, from lochs and mountains to forests and glens.

Jacobite Steam Train
Address:Tom-na-Faire Station Square,
Fort William,
PH33 6TQ
Opening Hours:Morning Service:
Running from Monday 4th April to Friday 28th October (seven days per week).

Afternoon Service:
Running from Monday 2nd May to Friday 30th September (seven days per week).
Admission Price:Adult Day Return 1st Class £79.50, Standard £52
Child Day Return (16 or under) 1st Class £57, Standard £30
Private Table For 2 Return 1st Class £180
Parking:Free on-site car park at Fort William train station (max 2 hours stay).
Paid all-day car park in Fort William.
Contact:0333 996 6720
Facilities:1st class - complimentary tea and coffee. All classes have access to the buffet carriage.
Photos:YouTube Video


Craig Neil on The Jacobite Steam Train

The Jacobite Steam Train, affectionately known as the ‘Hogwarts Express’ due to its appearance in the Harry Potter films, is a heritage railway in Scotland. Running from Fort William to Mallaig, it offers an enchanting journey through stunning landscapes including the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, making it a must-visit for train enthusiasts and Potterheads alike.

The 84-mile rail journey across the Scottish Highlands from Fort William to Mallaig has been described as one of the great railway journeys of the world, and with good reason. This scenic route has become a favourite with tourists thanks to the beautiful landscape that whooshes past the carriages of the steam locomotive, and sight-seers can expect to see every facet of the Scottish countryside, from mountains to lochs, forests, rivers, and coastlines.

It’s fair to say that passengers on this special journey will get to experience sights that rival anywhere else in Europe, and possibly the world. There’s Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain), Loch Morar (the deepest freshwater loch), and Loch Nevis (the deepest seawater loch in Europe), to name just a few. Suffice it to say, you won’t get bored looking out the window.

Fans of the Harry Potter movies might recognise the Jacobite from some of the scenes where Harry travels on the Hogwarts Express, and they’ll definitely recognise the scene where the train puffs its way across the Glenfinnan viaduct.

However, there’s much more to this journey than Harry Potter, as it finishes at a Highland gem, Mallaig, where passengers can disembark to hop onto a cruise boat that will take them around the stunning waters of North Morar before heading back for the return train ride to Fort William.

Jacobite Steam Train

The Highlights

1: The Jacobite Steam Train offers a beautiful journey through some of Scotland’s most picturesque landscapes. It travels from Fort William to Mallaig, passing through stunning scenery that includes a variety of mountains, lochs, and the rugged coastline of the Scottish Highlands.

2: The Jacobite Steam Train is famous for appearing in the Harry Potter series as the Hogwarts Express. The iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct that the train crosses is a key highlight as it’s recognised globally from the Harry Potter films.

3: The train itself is a classic piece of history. Riding on the Jacobite gives you a chance to experience a traditional steam train on a preserved steam locomotive.

Visiting Tips

1: The Jacobite Steam Train is a very popular attraction so tickets can sell out quickly, especially during the peak tourist season. It’s advisable to book your tickets well in advance to ensure you secure a seat.

2: For the best views, try to get seats on the right side of the train when going from Fort William to Mallaig. You’ll get stunning views of the coastline, the islands, and the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.

3: The train station can get very busy and parking can be a challenge. Aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure so you have enough time to find parking and get to the train.

Jacobite Steam Train

Tourist Information

Starting at Fort William, you board the train and make your way to your seat in one of the historic carriages. If you’re a train buff, you can take a look inside the engine as it’s prepared for departure, or you can simply sit back and relax and take in the scenery.

The most impressive part of the journey is the crossing of the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct which sweeps around the spectacular shores of Loch Shiel where the Glenfinnan Monument can be seen. The train then stops at nearby Glenfinnan station where you can stretch your legs and explore the West Highland Railway Museum before continuing the journey to the coastal town of Mallaig. Alternatively, you can also ask the guard to stop at the village of Arisaig on the shore of Loch nan Ceall if you’d prefer to explore that area.

Jacobite Glenfinnan Station

Mallaig is a quiet fishing town that has fully taken advantage of the business that comes from the Jacobite train so there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy during the hour-long stopover before you head back to Fort William.

Luckily, this is just enough time to board one of the cruise boats that will take you around the harbour, which is a highly recommended excursion as you’ll get to see seals, dolphins, and maybe even minke whales as you sail around the coast. Please note, though, that the cruises are very popular during peak season, so you should book a month or more before your trip.

Stepping back on board the train for the return journey allows you to take in any sights that you might have missed on your way up while savouring a delicious high tea and artisan cheese board at your private table. Coupled with a glass or two of bubbly and the fantastic views across Scotland, the Jacobite Steam Train is one rail journey you’re unlikely to forget.

Jacobite Steam Train

Things to Do

Train Journey: The Jacobite Steam Train journey is a spectacle in itself. As the train chugs along from Fort William to Mallaig you’ll be treated to stunning views of Scotland’s rugged landscape including lochs, mountains, and the coastline.

Glenfinnan Viaduct: A highlight of the journey is crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous for its appearance in the Harry Potter films. The train slows down to allow you to capture this iconic scene where you’ll enjoy the sight of Loch Shiel and the surrounding hills.

Visit Arisaig: Consider hopping off at Arasaig to visit this quaint wee village which is famous for its viewpoint overlooking Loch nan Ceall. Arasaig is just as pretty as Mallaig but sees far fewer tourists. Buy your lunch from the village Spar shop and sit on one of the picnic benches near the car park.

Explore Mallaig: Once you reach Mallaig, take the time to explore this charming fishing village. Enjoy fresh seafood in one of the restaurants, visit the Mallaig Heritage Centre, or hop onboard a sightseeing cruise around Loch Nevis.

Visit Fort William: This town is known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ due to its location. In addition to being a great base to explore Ben Nevis and Loch Linnhe, Fort William itself is worth exploring as it has several traditional pubs and restaurants as well as shops and lots of picturesque walking trails. For an easy walk with a view, follow the footpath along the A82 which has lovely views across the loch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Jacobite Steam Train worth it?

The journey on the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig is definitely worth doing.

It has been described as one of the world’s great train journeys due to the stunning scenery that it passes through which includes Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain), Loch Morar (the deepest freshwater loch), and Loch Nevis (the deepest seawater loch in Europe).

How long is the Jacobite steam train ride?

The Jacobite steam train travels from Fort William in the Scottish Highlands to Mallaig on the West Coast – a journey of 84 miles (135 km).

Was the Jacobite train used in Harry Potter?

The Jacobite steam train featured in the Harry Potter movies where it portrayed the Hogwarts Express which took Harry from Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross in London to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The actual locomotive used to pull the Hogwarts Express is now located at the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London.

Where does the Hogwarts Express steam train leave from?

The Jacobite steam train departs from Fort William train station in the Scottish Highlands (Address: Tom-na-Faire, Station Square, Fort William PH33 6TQ).

Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.