Thanks to the Harry Potter franchise, one of the most iconic sites in all of Scotland is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It is a stunning railway viaduct in Inverness-shire in Scotland located at the top of Loch Shiel in the Highlands. The Highlands is one of the most stunning places to visit - complete with whiskey tours and Scottish "brochs" (a sort of Scottish Iron Age skyscraper). The Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the icings on the cake for anyone left hesitant.
Without a doubt, the Glenfinnan Viaduct of the Scottish Highlands is one of the magical places from Harry Potter that every fan should visit on their next trip to Scotland. Harry Potter was filmed all over Great Britain (Platform Nine and Three Quarters is in London) but many of the magical outdoor scenes were filmed in Bonny Scotland.
What To Know About The Glenfinnan Viaduct - And The Horse
The Glenfinnan Viaduct was built between 1897 and 1901 and looks out over the waters of Loch Shiel (although the viaduct itself was completed in 1898 and the line only opened in 1901). It even has an unfortunate horse in its construction.
- Built: Between 1897 and 1901
- Location: In The West Highlands of Scotland
- Cost: GB£18,904 (Costs Have Changed Since!)
There is a legend about the Viaduct that a horse fell into one of the piers while it was being built. Professor Roland Paxton investigated this claim using a fisheye camera but failed to find any evidence of the legendary unfortunate horse. Another investigation in 2001 found the remains of a horse and cart at Loch nan Uamh (within the large central pylon).
The Viaduct Is The Largest In Scotland
The Viaduct is the longest concrete railway bridge in Scotland and measures some 416 yards (380 meters) and rises to a height of around 100 feet (30 meters). The Viaduct is built of mass concrete (as opposed to reinforced concrete as it lacks any metal reinforcement).
- Length: 380 Meters (The Longest Concrete Railway Bridge in Scotland
- Height: 30 Meters
The Glenfinnan Viaduct Is An Active Train Bridge
If one is drawn to the viaduct, one is not alone, Glenfinnan attracts many thousands of visitors from around the world. It remains an active railway bridge that carries the famous Jacobite steam train. The Jacobite steam train runs from Fort William to Mallaig during the summer months (regular trains use the track through the rest of the year too). One can take a regular train for £10 for an adult return.
- Tip: Take The Historic Jacobite Steam Train Across The Viaduct In The Summer Months
This region is rich in Harry Potter scenes with parts of Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban being shot here. In the movies the Jacobite steam train becomes the Hogwarts Express.
Other attractions here include Glenfinnan’s historic railway station (that is also home to a fascinating wee museum). From the station, one can walk up a 1.5-mile path on a spectacular walk across the hillside to the viaduct. From there continue on to get to the visitor center and Monument. The walk normally takes around 45 minutes.
- Walk: Walk the 1.5-mile Path Across The Hillside To The Viaduct
1 Day Tour from Glasgow
If one is looking for a Harry Potter-inspired tour of the iconic Viaduct, then Discover Scotland Tours offers a 1 Day Tour to it from Glasgow. This tour takes guests to the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Mallaig & Glencoe and everyone will learn all about the history and "dark deeds" of the Viaduct along the way.
- Guide: Includes a Driver-Guide
The tour takes the guests to the a viewpoint where one will be able to capture the Jacobite Steam train (Hogwarts Express) crossing over the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct - just as is seen in Harry Potter. *
- Price: From £55.00 ($70.00) per person
The Viaduct is only 40 minutes drive from Glasgow, so the tour makes more than one stop. The first stop is at the famous Loch Lomond for morning refreshments and for a lookout over Ben Lomond. The arrival to Glenfinnan is scheduled to coincide with seeing the Jacobite Steam Train crossing the famous Glenfinnan (just like in the movies).
Continuing on the way, the tour will pass through Buachaille Etive Mor (keen eyes will note this is where 007 and M drove to reach ‘Skyfall’). Other sites and attractions that one will see or visit include Fort William, "Road to the Isles," Mallaig, Silver Sands of Morar, and more. Sites that were also in the Harry Potter franchise include:
- Loch Elit: Where Hagrid skipped stones across the water
- Eiean na Moine: The final resting place of Dumbledore