Edinburgh, Scotland is a city full of life with magic around every corner. It was here that J.K. Rowling wrote portions of the incredible Harry Potter series. This enchanting city was the perfect place for her to find inspiration around every corner. Edinburgh’s medieval style buildings and stunning scenery were what created the characters and places in the Harry Potter series. Stop by Edinburgh and make a day of finding all of these hidden Harry Potter locations with your friends!
The Elephant House Cafe
With the flick of the wrist, Harry Potter was born at the quaint Elephant Cafe in downtown Edinburgh. The vibrant cobblestone streets were the groundwork for J.K. Rowling to write her novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The Elephant Cafe has a charming red arch entrance with a sign that reads, “birthplace of Harry Potter.” Even though this cafe is now famous it is still a tasty place to relax after sightseeing and sip a cup of tea.
Overlooking Edinburgh is its marvelous 12th-century castle that you may think resembles Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As J.K. Rowling ventured through Scotland’s capital her eye caught the incredible Edinburgh Castle. It is clear to see how Hogwarts was crafted after this brilliant Scottish landmark, and you can visit it for yourself. Edinburgh Castle is a piece of Scotland’s history that any Harry Potter fan would adore.
The roots of Harry Potter are all over Edinburgh, and in places, you wouldn’t expect. In Greyfriars Kirkyard you will find the gravestones of Thomas Riddle and William McGonagall, two names that J.K. Rowling took as inspiration for her mystical characters. Anyone can enter the graveyard now and search for the stones themselves if you dare.
Another favorite writing spot for J.K. Rowling was the Nicholson’s Cafe, (later renamed the Spoon Cafe). Her brother-in-law owned the cafe at the time so Rowling was able to write a lot of chapters here. Check out the Spoon Cafe along Nicholson Street to see their plaque dedicated to J.K. Rowling.
George Heriot’s School
If you pass by George Heriot’s School you might recognize a couple of things. The first thing you will notice is how gorgeous this historic landmark is. J.K. Rowling thought the same thing as she used it to model Hogwarts, (alongside Edinburgh Castle.) One thing that is unique about this school is that all students must wear uniforms. They highly resemble those in the series with the same striped ties and tall socks that the students at Hogwarts wore.
Did you ever wish you could step onto Diagon Alley and visit all of the enchanting shops that Harry did in the movie? Head down Victoria Street and you will feel like you are in the movie. This was another location in Edinburgh that was used as inspiration, this time for the upbeat and eclectic Diagon Alley. There are even a few stores like The Boy Wizard and Diagon House that have taken on the Harry Potter theme.
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