• Menu
  • Menu
Harry Potter Train, Scotland

How To See The Harry Potter Train For Free

Psst! This blog post probably has affiliate links in it, which earn us a small amount of commission if you buy or book something through 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 a Fort William departure.

For instance, if the train is leaving Fort William at 2.30pm, get to Glenfinnan no later than 2.45pm. You can also see the train on its way back from Mallaig — aim for 60 minutes ahead of the time the train is due to arrive back in Fort William.

But as with anything, promptness is key — if you’re unsure, always err on the side of caution and arrive a little earlier in case you have issues with parking or finding the viewing spot mentioned below.

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 usually seeing the steam train crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct twice (the train starts and ends in Fort William), you can often 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 a Fort William departure. For instance, if the train is leaving Fort William at 2.30pm, get to Glenfinnan no later than 2.45pm. You can also see the train on its way back from Mallaig — aim for 60 minutes ahead of the time the train is due to arrive back in Fort William.

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, although you may still need to wait around for a bit before seeing the train.

As with anything, promptness is key — if you’re unsure, always err on the side of caution and arrive a little earlier in case you have issues with parking or finding the viewing spot mentioned below.

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 Might Also Like:
41 Quotes About England & The British Culture

You should search for Glenfinnan Visitor Centre to get the directions for this carpark – here’s the address info you need:

Glenfinnan Monument
Glenfinnan
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

Subscribe to Wanderers of the World

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.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

18 comments