sitting on Jacobite steam train

Scotland Train Tours: The Jacobite Tours- Steam Train

From Isle Of Skye To The Jacobite Tours

Our journey began with us leaving the Isle of Skye from the west coast of Scotland.  In our trusty rental car and Kevin driving on the opposite side of the car and the opposite of the road for us Americans, we headed towards the famous Fort William steam train.  The drive was absolutely beautiful through the Scottish Highlands.  That’s the problem with Scotland, once you think you have witnessed your most favorite area- Scotland throws you another one.  The three-hour drive brought us again up in the mountains and down to some more amazing lochs.  At times we were driving in the clouds with the sun breaking through, it was breath taking.  I made Kevin stop several times to take photo’s so the drive to the Fort William Harry Potter train may have taken a little longer than expected, okay about an hour longer, but who’s counting! We finally arrived for our experience with Scotland Train Tours on the Jacobite Tours Steam Train.

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Kevin standing next to the Jacobite train
The Jacobite train with Kevin, ready to go!

The Jacobite Steam Train Tickets

Way in advance is needed for these steam train tours!  I highly recommend for you not wait on purchasing if you plan on visiting Scotland and want to experience any of the Jacobite steam train day tours.  Especially if you want to sit with a group of people who are traveling with you.    Jacobite steam train booking can be a little tricky as far as dates goes, so make sure you check your dates carefully.

 Train Schedule

There are two trips a day but be aware one of the services does not run all season on the Harry Potter steam train.  The morning train operates Monday thru Friday starting the beginning of April to the end of September.  It typically begins Saturday and Sunday service the first week in June to the end of September.  The afternoon service train begins service Monday thru Friday in the middle of May and runs to the middle of September.  The weekend service for the afternoon train does not begin until the middle of June and runs only to the 1st week in September. The trip from Fort William to Mallaig takes approximately 2 hours and ten minutes which includes a stop at the Glennfinnan Station.  You will spend approximately one hour and forty-five minutes in Mallaig.  The return to Fort William will take approximately one hour and fifty minutes.

First or Coach?

Now the question is how much do you want to spend for your Harry Potter tour Scotland?  **For first-class round trip steam train tickets an adult will cost you 59 English pounds = 77.41 USD, children 12 and under are 32 English pounds= 41.98 USD.  Standard tickets for the steam train for an adult are 35 English pounds = 45.92 USD, children 12U are 20 English pounds = 26.24 USD.  There are single trip tickets available too they run just a few pounds/USD less than the cost of a round trip ticket.  There is also the option to purchase a table just for two at 121 English pounds = 158.75 USD.

Special Touches 

As always my husband added a little something to make this Harry Potter excursion more special.  Champagne and a box of chocolates were waiting for us!  He also arranged for afternoon high tea.  No one does high tea better on a steam train going through Scotland as the Jacobite High Tea.  Sandwiches were served on a tasty bread with salmon and cream cheese.  Delicious tea was served with scones and all its accompanied necessities of clotted cream, Scottish butter and strawberry and champagne preserves, yum.  It didn’t stop there, next came the loaf breads, lemon and fruit, and I believe there was a taste of whisky that I detected! Yes,  indeed there was right from the local distillery. There is also an option for a cheese board if that is more to your liking or you just want to eat more!  If you really want to surprise your date on these stream train trips you can purchase flowers too.   **Costs range from 12.99 English pounds = 17.04 USD to 34.99 English pounds= 45.91 USD for all these special touches. ** All costs reported are at the time of publishing this article, please check the Jacobite official web site for updated pricing

on the platform of the Harry Potter train
All set to board the Harry Potter train
The clascow highlander train sign
The name of the steam train
photograph of Jacobite train
Photo taking before boarding the train

Getting Ready To Board The Harry Potter Train

Kevin and I arrive safe and sound, and I am slightly embarrassed to admit it, but I really know nothing about the Harry Potter movies, so I  did not know what to expect.  As we entered the steam locomotive area, I was quite impressed.  You felt like you were back in the late 1800’s about to embark on a journey, which I guess we actually were about to do that exact thing. There is plenty of time to take pictures, so be sure to work your way through the waiting passengers to the front for a photograph/selfie with the steam being releases and whistle.  It makes a great video too.  After, you finish with your photos you can also stop by the store in one of the cars for all different type of souvenirs to purchase.

Next, it is time to find your assigned car and hop on up! We had Jacobite train tickets for first class, which we soon found out we would be sharing with 2 other couples (holds total of 6 people).  Your seats are assigned when you buy your tickets, which gave us a middle and window seat on one side.  For the ride to Mallaig we would be facing backwards.  You will have the same seats for the round trip so both views are to be enjoyed, as the train does not turn around as you probably already figured out.

Awaiting also was our chilled-on ice champagne and chocolates.  The couples who joined us were lots of fun, with one of the women a Harry Potter movie expert.  Being from England, she owns pretty much everything that pertains to Harry Potter and had been having the Harry Potter train tour in Scotland on her bucket list for a very long time.  It’s always nice to meet new people as we shared our Champagne and toasted with all to our steam train journey.

chocolates and champagne on table of Jacobite train
Champagne and chocolates to make the train ride even better

If you have kids traveling with them can be so much fun, especially when you are hunting for Hogwarts on a Harry Potter tour!  

The Amazing Jacobite Train Journey

Thanks to my “lovely” new friend, the Harry Potter expert, I was ready to embark on the Hogwarts Express real train! All 84 lovely miles of it!

Side note:  I am using the word “lovely” because I fell in love with the saying the English use so much.  Our new train companions; “lovely to meet you” , “What a lovely day”, “Isn’t the train just lovely?” .  I learned everything just sounds better using this magical word, don’t I sound a little more English which makes it more fitting for this article in a way.

Okay so back to my lovely article.  As our steam train to Malllaig left Fort William, Harry Potter story telling began.  I soon discovered there are all different areas to explore throughout Scotland if you are a fan.  Cafes, lochs, moors and more (no pun intended).  I believe Kevin and I may have stumbled upon a few without even realizing it.  We were informed when we reached Mallaig we would have a few hours to get something to eat and explore and there was some Harry Potter shopping to be had. Yes, I can even find a Harry Potter souvenir for my myself.

Our train ride passed by some beautiful sites that we caught glimpses of through our window. Near to where we left the train station we came across Neptune’s Staircase, which is the longest set of staircase locks in Great Britain.  A very impressive engineer designed set of 8 locks that were designed in the early 1800’s.  It takes 90 minutes for a boat to get through all 8 locks on the canal that is raised 62 feet.  You can’t miss the famous Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in all of the British Isles as it overlooks Fort William. Standing 4413 feet tall it is a hikers dream for many adventurous travelers.

The anticipation of this adventure was felt throughout the train when it was time for the Glenfinnan viaduct.  The viaduct is the very one featured in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts express steam train makes it way.  From our side of the train and because we were facing backwards, we did not have the best views on our way from Fort William to Mallaig.  But no worries because we were to have full view on our way back on this steam train to Fort William.  Next, we stopped at the Glenfinnan station to exit the train for 20 minutes if you wish and see the West Highland Railway Museum.  We were having so much fun with our steam car passengers we all stayed on the train.  The village of Arisaig is the next stop if it has been requested, this is a village on the Loch nan Ceall, Highland games are played here annually.

Neptune staircase Fort William Scotland
The Neptune staircase with 8 locks
The Glenfinnan station sign
Arriving at the Glenfinnan train station
view of a loch from train
Gorgeous views from the steam train in Scotland

Head over to Scotlands Isle of Skye to discover the land of Fairies 

Arriving In Malliag On The Harry Potter Train Ride Scotland 

We soon discover there is a lot of people in Mallaig.  Every restaurant was full so it was a good thing we had high tea on the Fort William Train.  After checking out the town’s Main Street and marina, my goal was to learn a little more about what Harry Potter fans found so intriguing, so off to the stores.  We decided to clothes shop, namely a sun dress for me and shorts for Kevin, did I mention there was heat wave in effect and we were unprepared. Hence you will notice the outfit change in the photos.  As soon as were more comfortable in our new outfits we enter the store we were looking for.  It’s impossible to leave this store without something, they have every prop used in Harry Potter movies.  Of course I bought a magic wand, every girls necessity.  All too soon it was time to head back to the steam train, we enjoyed our time in Mallaig.

fishing boat in Mallaig marina
Mallaig fishing boat
ferry boat in Mallaig marina
A ferry in port at the Mallaig marina
sign for the Harry Potter store
The entrance to shopping at the Harry Potter store
Boarding the Jacobite steam train in Scotland
It's time to board the train for the return back to Fort William!
Impressive steam train the Jacobite at Mallaig station
Impressive steam train the Jacobite at Mallaig station

The Return Trip On The Jacobite Steam Train Tour

Time to board again!  The call of steam train whistle can be heard through Mallaig and it’s a wonderful sound.  After showing our Harry Potter train ticket we boarded and took our seats once again.  Our experiences in Mallaig were all shared, including me pulling out my magical wand that I plan on displaying in our home. Our English new friend was thrilled with my “lovely” wand I had chosen.  I might even attempt to learn how to use it properly.

Finally,  it was time to reach the Glennfinnan viaduct once again.  The only problem that I realized is that to be able to video I had to reach the small window above the main window, which was a little difficult.  Honestly, it was little scary to be putting my iPhone out a window as you’re passing trees and bushes that brush up against you at times.  I could just see my phone falling out of my hands and laying on the train tracks.   With travel you always take chances, so out the window the phone went, holding on to what many consider their life line to social media.   It was pretty funny to see once we reached the bend of the tracks, that everyone else doing the same thing with their phones and cameras stuck out the window.  You can also go to one of the ends of your assigned train car to look out too if you do not have a window seat, however it does get a little crowded, so stake your claim quickly.  Finally, it was time and it was pretty amazing to see.  Check out the video!

Final Thoughts on Scotlands Steam Train

From the moment you purchase your Harry Potter train ticket you have planned a day you will always remember.  You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan or even know anything about the novels or movies.  The Jacobite steam train day trip confirms all the reviews- it is so worth the trip regardless from what part of Scotland or any part of the entire United Kingdom you will be arriving from.  Enjoy the beautiful countryside as you head towards the Hogarts Express Scotland! Other day trips in Scotland to enjoy The Fairy Glen on Isle of Skye  and The Author of Peter Pan

Jacobite steam train going over the Glennfinnan viaduct
Jacobite steam train going over the Glennfinnan viaduct

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