With its mysterious landscape, dramatic mountains and the sparkling Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan is a place of outstanding beauty. But Glenfinnan is also of significant historical importance, as this is where Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, “the Young Pretender”, raised the banner of the Stuarts and gathered his fellow Jacobites in 1745.
James Francis Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father had tried to organise similar uprisings but ultimately failed, and was sent to exile in Rome by the end of 17th Century. This is where he was named “King Jakobus”, coining the name of his followers, “the Jacobites”.
After his death the Jacobites saw his son “the Young Pretender” as their rightful king and not the Protestant king William of Orange who ruled over Britain from England, so they gathered at Glenfinnan in August 1745 to start their rebellion and fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Even though they won their first battles against the English army, they were ultimately defeated at Culloden. The aftermath of this battle was catastrophic: the English General Cumberland gave the order to arrest all surviving Jacobites, some were imprisoned and many executed. The English army went on a rampage in the Highlands, they pillaged and murdered and destroyed whole villages. Bonnie Prince Charlie managed to escape, went back to Glenfinnan, from where he managed to flee to the Isle of Skye and later on to France. To commemorate these events a monument was built at Glenfinnan, a high tower on top of which a Highlander made of stone sits. This monument is called “The Unknown Soldier”. There is also a little visitor centre with an interesting exhibition.
Glenfinnan is also known from the Harry Potter film series. The Hogwarts-Express went over the imposing viaduct, set back from Loch Shiel and Harry Potter and Ron Weasley fly over the viaduct in Arthur Weasley’s old Ford Anglia in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. It is even possible to take the Hogwarts-Express, even though the final destination is the picturesque fishing town of Mallaig and not Hogwarts.
Relive the well-known television series by visiting film locations on a guided tour
Enjoy self-guided hiking and travelling by train