Jacobite Steam Train

2467 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel


Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

I'm sure many people will know of the Jacobite Express, plenty more will have seen it, especially schoolchildren, without realising it's a working, authentic locomotive. It is of course immortalised by the Harry Potter films.

We decided to take this journey while in Fort William after travelling the Caledonian Canal by boat. Ill health meant our usual hill walking wasn't possible but we didn't want this obstacle to spoil our enjoyment of the marvellous scenery this part of the world has to offer. Indeed the 84 mile round trip is described by some as among the world's best,

Fort William we've always liked being just big enough to have all the facilities you want and need but not too big to be bustling and impersonal. And of course it nestles under the towering Ben Nevis.It's also perfectly located to drive back and forth to when visiting numerous beauty spots in the area.

The Jacobite's 84 circular route might not seem overly long compared with some of the mammoth journeys you can undertake in places like Canada and South America. Neverthelss it does visit a few record holders during it's few hours on the tracks – Britains' most westerly mainline station – Arisaig, the deepest freshwater loch, Morar and it's accompanying shortest river of the same name, finishing with the deepest sea water loch, Nevis. And of course Ben Nevis is the highest peak in Britain at 1,344 m or 4,406 feet. You can alight at Arisaig where on a clear day, which we fortunate to have, you can see across to the Small Isles and glimpse the tip of Skye. Bring your binoculars.

Needless to say the highlight of the trip is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It's 21 arches owe a lot of their renown to the Potter films but it's a lovely bit of scenery in it's own right. Quite often they'll stop the train right on the viaduct to allow guests to shoot a few snaps and take in the view. I would think when the train is on the viaduct with a clear blue sky as backdrop, it must be the stuff of dreams for professional photographers.

Mallaig is the end of the line and again it has that Fort William feel, just the right size to browse for the hour and a half we were allowed, not too big to miss anything of significance. Some of our travelling companions left the Jacobite here as they were taking the ferry to Skye. Apart from being the centre of ferrying operations in this part of the world Mallaig is a relatively busy fishing port. Which means of course the fish and chips we devoured were simply superb.

We headed back slightly earlier than some of the others because we wanted some footage of the train itself. The scenery is spectacular and idyllic but that shouldn't overshadow the grandeur of the locomotive. Nor the prodigious amount of work it puts in, The West Highland Railway is notorious for it's hairpin turns (well, at least in the railway sense !) and steep and long climbs. The feel, sight and sounds as it takes on these challenges does indeed have you conjuring up memories from a bygone era.

All in all a very interesting, sightful and ralaxing way to spend a good part of the day. And as I say, if you couple it with a trip on the Caledonian Canal you've covered some of the most majestic, beautiful and evocative vistas in the Highlands without exhausting or inconveniencing yourself. Highly recommended.

Silver Travel Advisor

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.