The Harry Potter train, officially known as the Jacobite, is arguably the greatest train ride in the world - and it's right here on UK soil for film fans to experience in the Scottish Highlands.
Featured in the movies, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Jacobite steam train featured as the Hogwarts Express, which saw Harry, Ron and Hermione travel from London's King's Cross Station Platform 9¾ to Hogsmeade Station at the start of the school term.
Luckily for Potter fans, a real-life Hogwarts Express exists and you can ride the Harry Potter train on a trip to Scotland.
Operated by West Coast Railways and running from Fort William to Mallaig in the Highlands, the 84-mile trip takes you past some of Britain's most impressive scenery.
Some of the Jacobite train's carriages are those that were used in the Harry Potter films, too, so you can sit in a real-life film location as you glide through the Scottish Highlands.
The Harry Potter train takes you past Scotland's jaw-dropping sites
The Harry Potter train starts near Britain's highest mountain Ben Nevis and visits Britain's most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig.
It passes close to the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar, and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, before finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis. How's that for ticking even more attractions off your bucket list?
The best highlight of the Harry Potter train in Scotland has to be the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the landmark every Potter fan knows. This 21-arch viaduct sits at the head of Loch Shiel and 100ft above ground. If there's time, the train driver might pause on the viaduct to allow you to take in the view.
The final stop on Scotland's Harry Potter train
After a stop at Glenfinnan's station, where there's time to stretch your legs and visit the West Highland Railway Museum in the restored station building. If requested to the guard, the steam train may also stop at the village of Arisaig. (These stops are not possible during Covid-19 operation).
The end of the line is the fishing port of Mallaig, which is also a ferry terminal providing access to Skye and the Small Isles.
Arriving in Mallaig we have over an hour and a half to enjoy a walk round and take in the atmosphere: there are shops, bars, restaurants and plenty of fish and chips to be enjoyed during the lunchtime stopover.
You'll have over an hour and a half to explore the town before the return journey. This is your chance to taste the freshly-caught delights of Mallaig, whether you fancy tucking into fish and chips, crab sandwiches or lobster.
Inside the Harry Potter train in Scotland's Highlands
The 1950s-style interior carriages consist of standard and first class, with tables and upholstered seating in each. The standard class carriages are refurbished vintage Mark I or Mark II coaches, where you're seated around tables for four people.
In the first class carriages, there are traditional table cloths, lamps and classic upholstered fabrics for you to travel in style, as well as extra leg room for added luxury.
Want to experience the Harry Potter train, aka the Hogwarts Express, for yourself? Join Good Housekeeping on the ultimate June 2021 staycation in Scotland as you ride the Jacobite and experience more of the breathtaking Highlands.
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