It's hard to believe that in June, it will be 20 years since JK Rowling published her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Back then, no one could have predicted the wildly successful book sales and box office smashing blockbusters that would follow. Here in Scotland, you can see where the Edinburgh-dweller found her inspiration, and where the magic all began.
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An early morning coach departure from Diagon House on Victoria Street, Edinburgh you will travel North West directly for Fort William to meet the Jacobite Steam Train affectionately known to us all as the Hogwarts Express. Your early morning journey will take you past some of the key filming locations used in all 8 of the movies.
Driving over Rannoch Moor, one of the largest areas of wilderness in Scotland. This area of rugged wilderness was where the Death Eaters boarded the train in the Deathly Hallows Part 1 film.
Through the haunting pass of Glencoe which was used as the backdrop for several scenes from the third film onwards. This famous and dramatic volcanic glen features in several background shots from Prisoner of Azkaban, including the scene where Hermione punches Malfoy.
Arriving to Fort William in time to board the Jacobite Steam Train for the greatest railway journey in the world, a great way to see some famous movie spots from the window. Of course the most exciting part of the journey for most will be crossing the magnificent 21-arched Victoria Glenfinnan Viaduct. One of the most iconic images in the films is that of the Jacobite Steam Train known to us all as the ‘Hogwarts Express’ travelling over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on its way to the school. Remember to look out for flying cars.
Whilst enjoying views of Loch Shiel (first seen in the Chamber of Secrets) from your window, yet another key location in the films and time permitting, the train may pause on the viaduct allowing you to take in the magnificent view and imagine yourself in the movie Prisoner of Azkaban as Harry encounters a Dementor for the very first time when the Hogwarts Express stops on the bridge. The train will stop in Glenfinnan station with time to stretch your legs and, if you wish, visit the West Highland Railway Museum located in the restored station building.
This gorgeous Loch near Glenfinnan was one of two lochs used as a stand-in for Hogwarts Lake in the Harry Potter films. It's the place where Buckbeak dips a toe in the water in Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry and Hermione also look out across it from the Astronomy Tower in a particularly beautiful shot at the end of Half-Blood Prince. Also, Loch Shiel was transformed for some of the Triwizard Tournament scenes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The tiny island of Eilean na Moine was the island that held Dumbledore’s Grave and is framed by surrounding Loch Eilt used multiple times including the backdrop for the bridge into Hogwarts and for the location of Hagrid’s hut.
On arrival to the fishing village of Malliag with its ferry route to the Isle of Skye (which you will get views of on a clear day) you will have a rest from location spotting, enjoy the village and some lunch. From here you will join your coach that will leave in time to stop at Glenfinnan Visitor Centre where you can use this opportunity to take picture of the Steam Train travelling back over the Viaduct. * This option will involve some walking*
After the Glenfinnan stop you will return to Edinburgh via Loch Laggan.
Don't worry. You can still immerse yourself in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, by coming on a very special tour!