The Jacobite Steam Train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct with Loch Shiel in the background

Take a Ride on the Jacobite Steam Train

A trip on the Jacobite Steam Train is an experience of a lifetime and is sure to be one of the highlights of your Scotland tour. Travelling along the famous West Highland railway line,  you’ll pass Britain’s highest mountain, deepest loch and shortest river. It’s no wonder that travel experts rate this as one of the greatest railway journeys in the World!

Of course, Harry Potter fans will recognise this steam-hauled train as being the Hogwarts Express in the movies. Just like Harry and his chums, the real-life train will cross the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, or the “Harry Potter Bridge” as it’s popularly known.

Join us as we explore all 41 miles of Scotland’s most historic and picturesque rail route.

Who Were the Jacobites?

Before we journey along the tracks, let’s find out about how the Jacobite steam train came to be with a quick history lesson.

The name ‘Jacobite’ originated from the Latin for ‘James’ as Jacobites supported King James VII of Scotland and II of England.  

A black and white drawing of Bonnie Prince Charlie wearing a wig and pointing at sailing ships in the distance

After King James VII of Scotland (a Catholic) was overthrown in 1689 in favour of his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange (both Protestants), a cocktail of religious views, cultural differences and sovereign powers fuelled an independence movement known as the Glorious Rebellion.

When the crown fell onto the head of the King’s Protestant daughter, Mary II, and his son-in-law, William of Orange, the Catholic Jacobites weren’t pleased and set off on a one-track mission to restore King James to power.

Thirty years later, the second Jacobite Uprising took place in 1745 and looked to place James VII's grandson Prince Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, one of Scotland's most famous and romantic characters, on the throne. King James died in exile in 1701, but support for the Jacobite cause continued until the first Jacobite Rebellion erupted in 1715. The first Jacobite Rebellion took place to support King James’ son James Francis Edward Stuart (known as the Old Pretender).

So, Why Call It the ‘Jacobite’ Steam Train?

The 41-mile route between Fort William and Mallaig winds its way through some of the most important sites from the Jacobite Rebellion. The Western Scottish Highlands were once home to thousands of Jacobite supporters during the rebellion and played an important role in Scotland’s rich history.

Bonnie Prince Charlie landed near Glenfinnan during the second Uprising and you can view the towering monument that commemorates this important event as you cross the famous viaduct.

Panoramic view of the Glenfinnan Monument standing by the banks of Loch Shiel

Hop aboard the Jacobite Steam Train to embrace centuries of history while you journey through this breathtaking corner of the world.

In 2018, the West Highland Railway Line was voted the best rail route in the world by Wanderlust magazine for its unique charm and out-of-this-world scenery.

Discover the Railway’s More Recent Claim to Fame

For the Harry Potter fanatics out there, a ride on the Jacobite steam train is a no-brainer.

Do you remember the scene in the Philosopher’s Stone where Harry and the rest of the gang hop aboard platform 9 ¾ before winding their way through beautiful countryside to Hogwarts?

View along the side of the Jacobite Steam train to the locomotive as it crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct heading towards Ben Nevis

Well, that could be you and your family.

Snippets of the West Highland Railway have featured in all eight of the Harry Potter films. J. K. Rowling was inspired by the beauty of her home country and used this unique feat of engineering to showcase the glorious countryside of the Western Highlands.

The Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express Highland Tour takes passengers on a 1-day adventure along a breathtaking section of the Highlands to spot key filming locations from the films.

Are you ready to experience a ride on your very own Hogwarts Express for the day? Chug your way across the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct and let your imagination run wild with this fun-filled day of wizardry.

Your tour begins outside the Elephant House Cafe where J.K. Rowling spent years writing the first Harry Potter books. A luxury coach takes you through the impressive mountains surrounding Rannoch Moor and across to the beautiful town of Glen Coe before you board the Hogwarts Express in Fort William.

Are you the one person in your family who isn’t a massive Harry Potter fan?

Don’t worry, you’ll also be following the footsteps of James Bond in Skyfall and Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting.

Pretty cool, right?

If you’re keen to set off on an adventure with a ride on this stunning rail route, why not make a trip of it.

Catch the Train to the Isle of Skye

The fun starts before you even arrive on the island. Skye’s remote location is all part of its wonderful charm. It feels like you’re travelling to a whole new world.

During the summer months, you can take the Isle of Skye and the Jacobite Steam Train and experience a three-day adventure from Edinburgh to Skye.

Eilean Donan Castle and the bridge to its little island seen from the banks of Loch Duich at low tide

Enjoy a one-way trip on the famous Jacobite Steam Train after touring through Loch Ness, Cairngorms National Park and Scotland’s famous Eilean Donan Castle.

As the largest of the Inner Hebrides islands, Skye is home to incredible landscapes, wonderful walks, and cosy guesthouses. Whether you’re looking to snuggle up with a good book or explore the great outdoors, Skye is the perfect place to relax with some peace and quiet this New Year. Before you pull into Mallaig, take a couple of days to explore the stunning scenery on Skye.

Wrap up warm to explore the breathtaking Trotternish Peninsula and Dunvegan Castle.

Ride the Jacobite Steam Train with Scottish Tours

Are you ready to jump aboard one of the world’s most iconic train rides?

We’re here to help you plan the ultimate experience by road, rail, or sea.

Whether you’re riding the Hogwarts express or exploring the beauty of the Outer Hebrides, our award-winning tours take you to the wildest corners of Scotland for a trip to remember.

Browse available tours and book online today.