It's hard to believe that it's over 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 all magic began.
Your tour will depart early morning from The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN, Edinburgh, from where you will travel North West to Fort William to meet the Jacobite Steam Train affectionately known to us all as the Hogwarts Express. Your guide will show you some of the key filming locations used in all eight of the movies on the way. Please note that we normally travel on the train Fort William-Mallaig, however some dates it maybe Mallaig-Fort William.
Driving over Rannoch Moor, one of the largest areas of wilderness in Scotland you will see the rugged wilderness where the Death Eaters boarded the train in the Deathly Hallows Part One film.
We will then take you 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 featured in several background shots from Prisoner of Azkaban, including the scene where Hermione punches Malfoy.
In Fort William you will board the Jacobite Steam Train for the greatest railway journey in the world, it's the perfect way to see some of famous movie spots - just at Harry and his friends did. A highlight of the journey is 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, you there may be time for the train may pause on the viaduct allowing you to take photos of 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 then stop in Glenfinnan station to give you time to stretch your legs and, if you wish, visit the West Highland Railway Museum located in the restored station building.
Look out for the gorgeous Loch Shiel, near Glenfinnan which 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
Next you will see the tiny island of Eilean na Moine which is the island that held Dumbledore’s Grave and is framed by surrounding Loch Eilt used multiple times int he film 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.
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The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN at 6am promptly