After seeing the first Harry Potter movie way back in 2001, there were two things I desperately wanted to do: Fly on a broomstick and ride the Hogwarts Express. Science may still be working on the technology necessary to successfully fly a Firebolt, but the Hogwarts Express is very much open and available to fulfill the wish of muggles everywhere. Yes, you can now book a trip on the actual steam engine featured in the films.
The instantly recognizable Jacobite train travels through the Scottish Highlands, departing from the town of Fort William (about two hours from Glasgow or 90 minutes from Inverness) and ending in Mallaig. And although we know that many of the interior shots of Hogwarts were filmed in the Great Hall at Christ Church in Oxford and Alnwick Castle, we find it mighty suspicious that the steam tour passes through the exact area the secretive wizarding school is suspected to stand. Curious, very curious....
Even if you don't catch a glimpse of the magical castle, you will get to see stunning views of both the deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar, and the deepest seawater loch, Loch Nevis, as well as the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the gorgeous bridge Harry and Ron almost crashed into while flying Mr. Weasley’s Ford Anglia.
Even better, you won’t have to run at a concrete wall in order to climb aboard. You can purchase tickets on TravelPirates starting at $50 per adult and $28 per child (up to age 12) for a one-way trip, though round-trip tickets are also available. Jacobite is currently running one trip per day, but will increase to two trips a day from May through October.
So if you haven’t already booked a trip to the U.K. to be present for the birth of Royal Baby Sussex this summer, maybe now is the time to start planning one.