If you’ve been patiently waiting for your owl to come with your Hogwarts acceptance letter (and let’s face it, we all hoped at least a tiny bit when we were 11 years old), this news will cheer you up: you can finally ride the real-life Hogwarts Express train! But no, it won’t take you to a magical, enchanted castle full of teenage wizards and witches.
The train, called the Jacobite, runs across 84 miles of track through beautiful western Scotland and passes both the deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar, and the deepest seawater loch, Loch Nevis. It is operated by West Coast Railways and leaves from Fort William, which is about a two-hour drive from Glasgow — so, not Platform 9 and ¾, unfortunately.
Here’s a beautiful image of part of the route, from the @West Coast Railways Twitter account.
— West Coast Railways (@westcoastrail) July 16, 2019
Plus, the price is nice: round-trip tickets cost about $50 per adult and $28 for children (up to age 12). One-way tickets are cheaper. Or, you can splurge and get a first class ticket or a private table for two where you can munch your pumpkin pasties and chocolate cauldrons — it is BYO on the Harry Potter-themed treats, however.
The train runs between April and October (with two departures a day during May through September), which is the perfect time of year to explore the gorgeous Scottish countryside. In fact, if you really want to pile on the magic, stop at the nearby town of Glencoe. The locale might seem familiar when you get there, and that’s because it was used in many of the Harry Potter movies as the set of Hagrid’s hut and is also the home of the bridge leading to Hogwarts’ entrance.
Here’s another view of the Jacobite on its route, from @Spectacular Scotland’s Facebook page:
Is one train not enough for you? Then check out another Harry Potter-styled train experience operated by the North Yorkshire Moors Historical Railway Trust — among other places, you’ll make a stop at Goathland station, aka Hogsmeade.
Are you ready to go? Then accio train tickets!