More Parking Spaces Coming Near Glenfinnan Viaduct

Turns out, it’s not only Ron and Harry who think it’s a fabulous idea to approach the Hogwarts Express by car. Glenfinnan Viaduct, which appears in the Harry Potter films, continues to be a popular travel destination for fans of the franchise. So popular, in fact, that the regular heaps of visitors have livened up the local economy over the years. However, last year, the sheer number of tourists necessitated a plea for them to use public transportation if they can, to relieve the roads of traffic problems. This year, the parking lot nearest the viaduct is going to be significantly expanded to combat this continued issue.

Glenfinnan Viaduct is located in Lochaber, Scotland, at the top of Loch Shiel, and it overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument. The impressive site is an active train line in the Muggle world, and it leads to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry according to the Harry Potter films. The National Trust of Scotland has reported that the filming location draws in nearly 2,000 visitors a day, which regularly causes traffic jams and safety issues on the A830 Fort William to Mallaig trunk road. The visitors often have to wait for their turn and walk across the main road as well, all in the hopes of snapping a selfie with the picturesque viaduct in the background.

 

A Hogwarts Express style vintage steam train is travelling down the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the lush, green Highlands.

 

The solution is here. The Highland Council, Glenfinnan Community Facilities, VisitScotland, and the Highland LEADER Programme have worked together to fund new construction work to expand the current parking lot with parking spaces enough for 100 cars, 10 motor homes, and even buses. There is also going to be a new footbridge and path to link the new parking lot to the existing path leading to the viaduct, which will ensure that visitors no longer have to cross the main road on foot.

Safety is indeed at the core of the project. Bearing in mind the current climate for travel and tourism, VisitScotland’s regional leadership director for the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, Chris Taylor, explained the reasoning behind the expansion:

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and events industry, and as we emerge from this crisis, our priority is to reset tourism in a responsible way, to help spread the benefits of tourism across Scotland and to extend the season.

 

 

 

The construction work will take place over the next ten weeks starting Monday, August 24. Considering the benefits, it is hoped that this will be a relatively small period of inconvenience for the local community. Highland Leader Programme manager Fiona Cameron expressed her support for the project:

Whilst the thousands of annual visitors to the viaduct provide a significant boost to the local economy, we were made well aware of the practical challenges this presents to a small community like Glenfinnan. This car park will greatly help the local community whilst also improving the visitor experience for those who come from all over the world to visit this iconic location. We would also commend the effort the community have put into raising funds for this project.

Aside from hiding Hogwarts somewhere in the Highlands, Scotland is famous for its breathtaking landscape and friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Glenfinnan Viaduct will surely continue to be a must-see destination for not only Potterheads. As tourism is tentatively coming back, the iconic Harry Potter filming location and its local community can only benefit from more parking spaces, unless, of course, you can tinker with your car to make it fly in the air. For those without Arthur Weasley’s talent, while the parking spaces are being added, why not plan your trip with the help of VisitScotland?

 

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Dora Bodrogi

I am a writer, a critic, a researcher, a traveler, and a Ravenclaw through and through. My main fields of interest are representation, gender, and LGBTQ fiction, history, and censorship. Incorrigible doodler and theatre kid.