The first thing to say is that I am a big fan of trains generally… it comes from having parents who didn’t drive and a dad who is keen on railways! The majority of my holidays as a child involved rail travel and, to pass the time, we would watch other trains passing by and learn about the railways from Dad… Thus I felt I should write some posts on my favourite train journeys!
The first post of the series is on what is now probably one of the most famous train journeys in the world… The Jacobite from Fort William to Mallaig (Scotland). So why is this one of the most famous railway journeys in the world? Harry Potter, that’s why. This is the famous Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter series – remember the bridge the train passes over on its way to Hogwarts – it’s called the Glenfinnan Viaduct and you can travel across it in real life!
Apart from the Harry Potter connection, the other big draw of this rail journey is the stunning highland scenery that you see from the comfort of the train…
The train itself is pulled by beautiful steam engines and has several different classes of carriage. You can either pay more and reserve your seats in first class (which is what we did) or you can travel standard class and find a seat when you arrive. If you book first class, you get the added bonus of tea/coffee and biscuits served at your table, which is a bonus when your husband can’t go more than an hour or two without a coffee stop! I couldn’t comment on standard, but the seats in first class were extremely comfortable.
The journey itself is a very pleasant 84-mile round trip which passes through beautiful villages and alongside deep lochs, high peaks and beautiful, wild, Scottish landscapes.
The line ends at Mallaig, a small fishing port, where you can catch the ferry to Skye. You have around 90 minutes in Mallaig before it’s time to board the train back to Fort William. It’s easy to pass the time in this lovely village… just wander around, look at the boats and grab a cuppa, an ice cream or something stronger, before it’s time to head back.
I would really recommend taking this trip – it has to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and the Harry Potter connection is an added bonus (or it is if you’re a fan!).