If you’re a big Harry Potter fan and happen to be in Scotland, then you should definitely make some time to venture out to the viaduct in Glenfinnan to see the Jacobite steam train go past. Or better known as the Hogwarts Express!


So, what should you plan for?

When To Arrive?

Given that you can pay to go on the Jacobite steam train and given that it’s a train, it should come as no surprise to you that it runs on scheduled times.

With one day seeing the steam train chug along the Glenfinnan viaduct twice (the train starts and ends in Fort William), you can choose either morning or afternoon to see the train from this free vantage point.

Before you head out, double-check the train times for the day (they change from season to season).

Plan to arrive at Glenfinnan 15 minutes from the time stated for Fort William. For instance, if the train is leaving Fort William at 2.30pm, get to Glenfinnan for 2.45pm. If the train is arriving in Fort William at 4.30pm, get to Glenfinnan no later than 4.15pm.

This should give you more than enough time to park your car and walk up the small slope to the viewpoint without rushing or missing the train!

Where To Park?

There is a large car park along the main road, which is owned by National Trust. Members can park for free or there’s a small £2 fee if you’re a non-member.


You should search for Glenfinnan Visitor Centre to get the directions for this car park.

You can also take a look in the gift shop after seeing the train or read up on the history about Glenfinnan and surrounding areas in the exhibition centre.

Where To Stand?


Look just to the left of the visitor centre entrance and you should see a small slope winding around the corner. Follow this for a couple of minutes and before you know it, you’ll have a 360 degree view of the viaduct and lake.


At peak times, this vantage point can get quite busy so you might want to arrive a little earlier to get a good spot. In June, there were about a dozen of us waiting for the afternoon train to come past.

Now, just wait for the train and feel a piece of Harry Potter magic shuttle past you. Maybe eat some scones whilst you wait like we did?


Have you been to Glenfinnan before? Are you a Harry Potter fan? Would you look out for this train? Write a little note in the comments…

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5 thoughts on “How To See The Harry Potter Train For Free

  1. I just showed this to my son and he’s now obsessed about going…thanks for sharing and the tips,

    1. Hehe your son has good taste then Vanessa! Well worth a visit! 😊

      1. That’s probably true, he gets it from me ☺️

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