Fellow fans of Mr. Potter, I have your next Edinburgh trip planned. Follow along for all the sights, tours, and destinations of Edinburgh that are related to the Harry Potter world.
1. The Elephant House Cafe
This is where it all began. J.K Rowling spent many days here writing out the early books in this little cafe. Nowadays I encourage you to head into the bathrooms, and add your message to Mrs. Rowling. The walls are covered with messages from fans, and how the books impacted their lives. There's of course only so much bathroom wall space of course, so the staff told me every once in a while they have to paint over it all, and the fun begins again for a fresh batch of fans.
LOCATION: 21 GEORGE ST.
2. The Potter Trail Walking Tour
When I stopped by Edinburgh I wasn't in the city for long, but I really wanted to get a Harry Potter Edinburgh tour. I wasn't in the city during a scheduled tour time, so one of the tour guides gave me a private tour, saying "if I was only in the city for a day and couldn't get a tour, I'd be heartbroken." I could tell he guides of The Potter Trail do the job because they love the books, and meeting fellow fans. Clearly I cant recommend the wonderful tour company enough now because of the kind favour they did for me! The tours they give are free, but donations are of course appreciated.
(During the tour you'll be taken to a few different important Harry Potter landmarks. Some are listed below. )
LOCATION: MEET OUTSIDE THE GREYFRIARS BOBBY'S BAR
3. The Balmoral Hotel
The Elephant Cafe is where the early books were written, The Balmoral Hotel is where the last one was completed. Clearly by the time J.K. got to the final book she had some money on her hands. The hotel is one of the highest-end places to lay your head at night in the city. If you do get a room, get room 552. J.K. actually did a little room vandalizing noting that she finished the last book there in marker on a marble Greek god bust.
LOCATION: 1 PRINCES ST.
4. Greyfriars Kirkyard
What's a Kirkyard you ask? Greyfriars Kirkyard is actually a cemetery with some extremely old headstones. One of those headstones belongs to Mr. Thomas Riddle, just like good ol' Tom in the books.
LOCATION: CANDLEMAKER ROW
5. George Heriot's School
You can see the large impressive castle/school from the cemetery. It's said to be the inspiration for Hogwarts. The school has 4 houses... sound familiar?
LOCATION: JUST OFF LAURISTON PL., BETWEEN HERIOT PL & FORREST RD.
6. J.K. Rowling's House
This isn't actually in Edinburgh, but it is near it. J.K. Rowling's home is near the small town of Aberfeldy, a hour and a half away from the city of Edinburgh. However, if you're already in Edinburgh, might as well make the drive right? This isn't a tourist location, and there is no public transportation to it, so you have to drive yourself, or have a Scottish friend drive you as I did. (Thanks Steve!)
Seems J.K. has a love for sheep, because there were sheep all over her front garden while I was there... who knew.
LOCATION: IN THE SCOTTISH HILLS, OUTSIDE ABERFELDY
7. The Winding Streets of Edinburgh
Without going to any one location in specific, just take a walk around the city. The old dark stone buildings, bone-chilling cold, wet weather and winding streets all below the ominous Edinburgh castle will make you feel like you're walking around in the real Harry Potter land. J.K. picked up a great deal amount of inspiration for the books just by walking through the city, so you should try it too.
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Have you ever visited a location with some Harry Potter connection? What's next on your list of must-see HP spots?