Discover the secret side of famous Glenfinnan, and dramatic viewpoints over Loch Shiel


A place amongst the pines

Glenfinnan, at the head of Loch Shiel, may be best known for its monument and Harry Potter viaduct, but it's also a great place to watch pinewood wildlife. Forget the mythical dragons and phoenixes of Harry Potter's world – come and discover amazing real creatures. Look out for darting dragonflies, the oldest and fastest insects in the world, as well as tiny butterflies, secretive otters and soaring golden eagles.

Download our guide to the forests around Fort William (PDF 6.9MB) to explore the area.

Parking (charge) Toilets Walking Viewpoint

Car parking

The car park at the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre can be very busy.

Stop for a rest

There are toilets and a café at the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre, and places to eat and drink in the village of Glenfinnan. There are public toilets, shops and plenty of cafés and restaurants at Fort William.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Glenfinnan’s secret side

Glenfinnan is a popular stop for visitors attracted by the dramatic lochside monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Harry Potter films have made the nearby viaduct famous too!

Less well known are Glenfinnan’s peaceful pinewoods. A stroll through the ancient pines is a chance to discover the wonderful wildlife that thrives alongside the tourists and to enjoy alternative bird’s-eye views of the monument, viaduct and passing steam trains.

A special place

Across this area are precious remnants of the ancient Caledonian Pinewoods that once stretched across Scotland, now mixed in with broadleaf and conifer woodland. With the help of the community of Glenfinnan we are gradually restoring the pinewoods here, replacing the conifers with native species like Scots pine, oak, birch and willow.

Wildlife thrives in the open pinewoods. Watch out for majestic red deer amongst the trees and badgers emerging at dusk. Dragonflies dart over the water in summer and butterflies dance in the glades. Otters leave their mark here and golden and sea eagles also visit.

Princes, steam trains and wizards

The landmark monument commemorates the final Jacobite rising in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s doomed attempt to take the throne for the Stuart family. The National Trust for Scotland’s Glenfinnan Visitor Centre is the place to find out more about the monument, the prince and the Jacobite cause.

If you’re into trains and tales of schoolboy wizards, the Glenfinnan Station Museum tells the story of the magnificent viaduct that sweeps around the head of the glen, as well as of the Highland Line, steam trains and the Hogwarts Express.

Contact: Lochaber Forest District

Address: Torlundy, Fort William

Postcode: PH33 6SW

Telephone: 0300 067 6870


How to get here

From Fort William take the A830 west for 15½ miles (25 km). Look out for the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre at Glenfinnan on your right. The car park is at grid reference NM 907 806.

Using SatNav?

PH37 4LT is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

There is a regular bus service from Fort William to Mallaig that stops at Glenfinnan. Find timetables at Traveline Scotland.

Nearby places

Looking for more trails?

You'll find plenty of trails and magnificent views of Britain's highest mountain at Glen Nevis and Leanachan. For mountain bike thrills head for the Witch's Trails.

If you're ready for a strenuous trail with superb views over a remote and dramatic loch, head to Ardmolich. On a clear day you can see the Small Isles of Rhum, Eigg and Muck on the horizon.

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