Welcome back to the Harry Potter and Edinburgh fun for PART TWO!
In case you missed PART ONE, here’s a link to catch you up- CLICK HERE.
Wands at the ready? Read on…
Here’s Your Harry Potter Check List for Edinburgh:
1. George Heriot’s School (Address: Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9EQ)–
This stunning school is best viewed just before dusk as the medieval brick-work just ‘pops’ against the colourful sky.
2. Potter Trail TOUR (Meet at The Greyfriar’s Bobby Statue)–
A free walking tour which takes you to most of the Edinburgh connections with Harry Potter – free, goes for 1-1.5hours – the best reason to go is the Guides are extremely theatrical, it’s a performance that happens to give you the full story of J.K. Rowling and detailed significance of each location, plus key Scottish History – win-win. There’s absolutely no question they haven’t heard before and to add to the fun – you get a wand to play with.
I loved it, shout out to Becky (pictured above) – I see just why Potter Trail is in the Top 20 Best Attractions in Edinburgh on Trip Advisor. HERE’S THE SITE.
3. Grey Friars Kirkyard (Address: Greyfriars Place, Edinburgh. EH1 2QQ) –
Here you can walk up and the down graveyard as JK would when she was thinking up characters for the book, who knows maybe it’ll inspire you to write your own amazing stories.
4. Edinburgh Castle (Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG.) –
The Castle itself is a masterpiece and whether you’re on a Harry Potter trek or not, it is a must-see. A Castle on a rock! REPEAT THAT. All the Hogwarts feels.
5. Elephant House Café (Address: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN) –
Grab a hot chocolate and a spot in the window, best advice is to go quite early – say 7-8am before the crowds, take your seat and watch the city pass you by.
If you’re feeling cheeky – the best little cake shop I’ve ever been to is a couple doors down, nom nom nom.
6. Nicolson’s Café- Now renamed ‘Spoon’ (Address: 6a Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DH) –
Have a cuppa’ here! There’s an official plaque there that states it’s use as Rowling’s place to write for the early chapters of HP. Get away from all that ‘Hype’ of the Elephant House Café and give it a good look. Very close to Edinburgh University while you’re there…
7. Balmoral Hotel – (Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ)–
Definitely visit and ‘snap’ away, or have High Tea there! In the chance you do have the kind of coin it would require, you can actually stay in the room (Room 552) where the final book was completed and find the sneaky spot where J.K inscribed her name.
8. Victoria Street ( Address: Victoria St., Edinburgh EH1 2HE) – There’s supposedly a few places of inspiration but to me this screams ‘Diagon Alley’. This is renowned by tours and locals as the OBVIOUS replica and favourite. Sadly though, the shops in Victoria Street hear about H.P. ALL THE TIME and are not experts – so please avoid bombarding them with questions, plus; most are just not quite as excited as we are!
9. Cockburn Street (Address: Cockburn St, Edinburgh.) – Another supposed inspiration for Diagon Alley and definitely worth a look. Do you own comparisons with Victoria Street… They’re close in location also.
10. J.K.Rowling’s Edinburgh Home (Address: 1 Abbotsford Park, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH10 5DX) – Now, I’m really not encouraging any major-stalking… but a little peak never hurt did it? This building is just beautiful and every bit as enchanting as the owner herself.
11. J.K Rowling’s Handprints (Address: 253 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ)-
Very cool to see, the hands that changed history have forever been immortalised in the Edinburgh City Chambers. For good measure, give them a look – J.K. placed her hands down for setting in Caithness Stone after winning the Edinburgh Award in 2008. THE CHAMBERS WEBSITE.
12. Walk around Edinburgh City (especially Old Town)– just like J.K. Rowling would in her day to day and I’m sure for further inspiration of imagery, characters and the world of Harry Potter.
If you’re still not done AND WAY TOO EXCITED…
Why not Continue the ‘Harry Potter’ Journey in Scotland:
Most of the significant Harry Potter scenes were filmed in the Harsh Highlands of Scotland – Fort William, Glencoe, Glenfinnan Viaduct, Loch Leven and more.
Here’s a few connections for you specifically:
1. You know the flying-car scenes in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets when Ron’s driving above the train? Well that’s filmed in a place up North called Glenfinnan Viaduct where the Jacobite Train steams on through twice daily. Plus if you grab a spot up high- it’s a great view, and you too can grab that ‘Insta-worthy image’ of it’s journey passed you.
Oh and FYI, it’s totally possible to ride the Jacobite Steam Train/Hogwarts Express, CLICK HERE.
2. Filming of Hagrid’s Hut took place in Glencoe, although the Hut itself has been dismantled since the final movie it’s still a great area to check out for HP-feels. – INFORMATION HERE.
3. The Valley of Ben Nevis – The tallest Mountain in the British Isles, the valley below was used for the filming of Quidditch Matches in the movies.
MY TWO HOT TIPS:
– Avoid Edinburgh in August especially, as a resident of Edinburgh I know first-hand how insane August is- the sun is often shining, and the amazing and equally chaotic ‘International Fringe Festival’ is on for the month. Delays are intense across the city. So unless you HAVE to go then- don’t. You’ll be able to get uncluttered photos and actually check things out without the rush or the queues.
-Before touching the plane down in Edinburgh – I suggest you have a HP’ Movie Marathon just to amp-up your excitement levels.
NEED A PLACE TO STAY DURING THE HARRY POTTER FUN? In Edinburgh, you could say ‘spoilt for choice’, we have 3 hostels here all within Old Town borders and in the heart of all Harry Potter places listed in Edinburgh above – Royal Mile Backpackers, Castle Rock Hostel and High Street Hostel – CLICK HERE.
The success of Harry Potter stems on the readers’ ability to connect and relate to the characters – even if they’re technically the real witches and wizards…
The best thing we can take from J.K. Rowling is that it’s never too late to be who we are born to be – at any age, in any circumstance, in any place.
But for now, it’s time to experience the mystery and the magic Edinburgh had on J.K Rowling and the profound influence it had on the Harry Potter world.
Written by Court Jeremiah.
STH Blog Writer/Photographer.
Please Note: All opinions stated in this Blog are entirely those of the Author.
Images photographed by Court Jeremiah are not to be taken or used without permission.