The Glenfinnan Viaduct: How to get to the Harry Potter Bridge & Jacobite Express (Harry Potter Express)
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a magical place in the Scottish Highlands. If you want to travel to the Harry Potter Bridge to see the Hogwarts Express, keep reading!
One of the things I regret the most about traveling to Scotland (and in all of my travels) is not spending enough time at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. I’ve always had a love for trains. There’s something so insanely romantic and old-world about trains, especially steam trains.
But, the Glenfinnan Viaduct combines my love for trains, romantic old bridges, and stunning landscapes into one unforgettable place. Oh yeah, it’s also a major Harry Potter film location.
After a full week in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye, we drove back down to Glasgow on the last day. We needed to return our car by like 6 PM so we didn’t have too much time to explore this area, but we did manage to stop at the Glenfinnan Viaduct for about an hour. I could have easily spent the entire day there.
As soon as we arrived, I immediately felt a pang of regret. It was so beautiful, and the closer we walked to the bridge, the more my heart stopped. I’ve only felt this kind of magic in a few locations around the world: this place, the South Island of New Zealand, all of Japan, and Versailles.
One reason I love to travel is that sometimes, very rarely, you feel that sense of magic. You feel a sense of awe, and wonder, and romance that strikes you at your core. After traveling around the entire Isle of Skye and a large part of Iceland, we ended our trip with a quick visit to Glenfinnan Viaduct, a mere stop on our way back to Glasgow.
I saw a lot of beauty on my trip, but something about this place resonated within me on a higher level.
The weathered bridge stands timelessly amidst the Scottish Highlands. Before leaving, I purchased a sterling silver ring from a local Jacobite craftsman with the Celtic symbol for eternity. I like to think I took a part of it home with me.
The Jacobite Express: Glenfinnan Viaduct Train Times
I’m a big Harry Potter fan and of course, I wanted to ride the real Hogwarts Express. The real Hogwarts Express is actually called the Jacobite Express. This is indeed the real-life Hogwarts Express, however, it only runs a couple of times a day.
Because of our tight schedule, we just didn’t have the time to see or even ride this train. Had I known just how lovely this place really was, I think we might have shaved a night off the Isle of Skye.
But, if you too can’t ride the train, that doesn’t mean you can’t actually visit the famous Harry Potter Bridge. And if you’re super lucky or if time permits, then you can even see the steam train run through the Highlands. But, just check the schedule below to make sure you predict the train viewing! Trains only run twice a day!
This schedule is useful to predict when to see the train cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct
Fort William to Mallaig – trains run twice a day, morning and afternoon via the Hogwarts Express Fort William!
How to Get to the Glenfinnan Viaduct Bridge
We first arrived and parked at the Visitor Center, but we honestly didn’t know where to go from there. It’s actually a little confusing because, at the visitor center, you will see maps there telling you to take a somewhat strenuous hike up above a hill near the visitor center.
However, this doesn’t actually take you to the Viaduct. I wanted to be UNDER the bridge, to be up close, right there. I could care less about a nice viewpoint from far away.
If you want to walk under the Harry Potter Bridge itself, then you’ll need to walk out of the main visitor parking lot, and down the main road about 100 meters further. You’ll then see access to another more private road. If you walk down this road for about 15 minutes, it will take you right under the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
It’ll take you eventually to a beautiful stream, and you can walk under the bridge, and then further walk up a trail that will give you the perfect vantage point to watch the train. You’ll also see a few photographers there armed with ready cameras.
Glenfinnan Viaduct Visitor Venter
The Glenfinnan Visitor Center is located at the park entrance. Here, you’ll be able to buy an array of Scottish Highlands souvenirs, Jacobite inspired jewelry, as well as Harry Potter souvenirs.
The Glenfinnan Visitor Center also has a cafe and restrooms and is a convenient way to gain information about the history of the Scottish Highlands.