How To Book A Train Ride On The Inspiration Behind Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts captivated the minds and imaginations of millennials when the novel "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" debuted on bookstore shelves in 1997. The YA novel experienced extreme success — so much so, it has its own Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in both Orlando, Florida and Hollywood, California and eight movies based on the series of seven books. Harry Potter continues to captivate audiences from all generations.

Hogwarts, the wizard school that Harry Potter and his friends attend in the story, is accessed via train. The book's author, J.K. Rowling, was inspired by the Jacobite — a stunningly beautiful train from England's West Coast Railways. In the movies, West Coast Railways provided the engines and carriages for all the train scenes.

After the films' success, West Coast Railways decided to appeal to fans by rebranding the Jacobite as Hogwarts Express, offering an 84-mile long "Harry Potter"-themed railroad trip. It's in service throughout the summer and gives its customers a unique experience alongside scenic views of Britain's countryside.

Fare and booking details

Booking a ride on the Jacobite is a fairly simple process once you get to Fort Williams, located in one of the most beautiful places in the world — Scotland. The train is available seven days a week, May through September for afternoon service, and May through October for morning. It runs twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. All tickets are round trip. They're about $115 (£89) per person for first-class adult tickets and $75 (£57) per person for standard tickets, depending on the currency exchange. Children's tickets are about $80 (£63) for first class and $45 (£33) for standard. You can book on West Coast Railways' website website, or you can try your luck by arriving the day-of and paying your fare with cash.

The train goes from Fort Williams to Mallaig and back. It takes around 6 hours to complete, including a 1 hour and 45 minute stop in Mallaig. Along the way, you'll pass by historic towns, including the town of Glenfinnan that the Harry Potter movies also made popular, and picturesque landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and countryside.

A unique and magical experience

The Hogwarts Express is an amazing adventure in Europe. Inside the train, tourists can expect 1950s decor. Whether you ride first class or standard, you'll witness the lovely sights of Scotland. Per usual, first class enables you to do this in a way that's more luxurious and relaxing than standard. If you're riding first class, you have the option to spend a little bit extra (£27, or about $35) and have high tea, which consists of pastries, sandwiches, and cream tea.

Regardless of which ticket you book, you'll likely have a magical experience complete with visuals of passengers in Harry Potter cosplay. The Hogwarts Express creates a unique opportunity to pull out brooms and film-inspired outfits for those who are big fans of the book and movie franchise. "The Jacobite steam train is perfect for Harry Potter lovers as you get to ride the Hogwarts Express (my 11-year-old self would be in bits!)" travel blogger Francesca Brooking said in a blog for Little Lost Travel. "But make no mistake, it's not just for Harry Potter fans."