Psst! This blog post probably has affiliate links in it, which earn us a small amount of money if you use them... at no extra cost to you.

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 (a superb Harry Potter filming location) to see the Jacobite steam train go past. Or better known as the Hogwarts Express and amazing Harry Potter train! 

This super speedy blog aims to equip you with info on how to see this awesome train go past, where you should stand to see it from a great angle and what times the train crosses Glenfinnan viaduct. I hope you find it useful!

Harry Potter train crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland

When should you arrive at Glenfinnan Viaduct?

TLDR: Plan to arrive at the viaduct 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.

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 crosses 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!

Need advice for a Scotland road trip? Check out my 4 day itinerary! >>

Where should you park at Glenfinnan Viaduct?

There is a large carpark along the main road, which is owned by the 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 carpark – here’s the address info you need:

Glenfinnan Monument
PH37 4LT

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 on-site exhibition centre.

Where should you stand to see the Harry Potter train?

Standing near Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland after seeing the Harry Potter train

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 landscape.

From here, you’ll be in an excellent position to see the viaduct and Harry Potter train go past in front of you. And whilst you wait, the view behind is pretty damn good too!

Views across the Scottish lakes when standing near the Glenfinnan Viaduct

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?

Eating scones whilst looking at Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland

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

Are you looking for more inspiration for a road trip in Scotland? Check out this unique itinerary or read my mini-story!

Like this? Pin it!

How To See The Harry Potter Train For Free - including info on where to stand, where to park and what times the Jacobite steam train goes along Glenfinnan Viaduct

14 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 ☺️

  2. Bhalo Haytham says:

    Beautiful photos. I think this is a must for a photographer such as myself.

    1. Thanks so much! Oh yes, most definitely somewhere you need to visit if you get the chance!!

  3. The scenery is gorgeous! I’m a Harry Potter fan, and I would definitely find time to see the Hogwarts Express if I was in Scotland!

    1. Most scenery in Scotland is gorgeous to be fair – such a beautiful place if you ever get a chance to visit! 🙂

  4. kikiinteriors says:

    WOW!! I love Harry Potter – this is amazing – thank you so much for sharing!! My husband is going to love this #bucketlist

    1. Me too – big, big, big Harry Potter fan!! I hope you get to go here someday! 🙂

  5. Jennifer says:

    Going in May and I will be trying this. Thanks for writing about it.

    1. That sounds great, Jennifer! I hope you enjoy your trip… and fingers crossed you’ll see the train! 🙂

  6. Anna says:

    Hi Justine. Thanks very much for this detailed post! I see that the morning train will be leaving Fort William at 10:15 am. If we make sure that we’re at the viaduct no later than 10:30 am as you suggest, how shortly thereafter is the train likely to cross? Hoping you can clarify, as we’re trying to perhaps catch a ferry and I’m wondering if our timeline will be doable.

  7. Hi Anna,
    I’m pleased you like the post! And even better that you’re going to give it a go!
    The train should arrive by about 10.45am but it may end up being a little delayed. In our case, we were waiting for about 25 mins before the afternoon train came along as it had gotten slightly held up.
    But being something of an early arriver, I always prefer to ensure I’ve got plenty of time, which is why really I suggest aiming for 10.30 just in case. But still you should have about 15mins leeway from there anyway.
    I hope this helps and good luck trainspotting! 🙂

  8. Ray says:

    Thanks I really wanted to see such a view.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *