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Top Sites every Potterhead needs to visit in Edinburgh

For many, the Harry Potter series equals childhood itself. What better way to bring to life the wizarding world, than visiting the very locations that inspired J. K. Rowling? Many of these sites that are sacred for die-hard Potterheads can be found in Edinburgh – the beautiful city just a few hours from Aberdeen, where Rowling lived from 1993 and wrote most of the Potter-series.

If you are a true Potter-fan and you find yourself in Edinburgh with some time on your hand, here are the places you must see!

The Elephant House

Maybe the most famous of the Potter-related attractions, this humble coffee house is where Rowling wrote a lot of our favourite books. It is heavily marketed as the “Birthplace of Harry Potter” and attracts a huge volume of visitors, but in my opinion, it is worth waiting in the queue at least once. When I visited, we were lucky enough to be seated in the corner, below a window overlooking the castle. Considering the place’s popularity, the food and drinks were nice and reasonably priced. Don’t be surprised when visiting the bathroom – the walls are covered with Harry Potter graffiti up to the ceiling including references, quotes, and messages from fans.

Source: https://wayfarerramblings111.wordpress.com/tag/the-elephant-house/  

Victoria Street

Have you ever wanted to walk down Diagon Alley? Victoria Street – the main inspiration for Diagon Alley – is the closest you will get! This curved, cobbled street with colourful shopfronts is among the most photographed locations of the city. It was built between 1829-34 and its many independent shops give it a unique, quirky personality – even a muggle could sense the similarity!

Source: Eszter’s own

Museum Context

Formerly known as Diagon House, this magical little shop is situated halfway down Victoria Street. Not only is it packed with official HP-merchandise, you will find products from local artisans at all price points as well. Homeware, apparel, collectibles – you have to stop by 40 Victoria Street if only to lengthen your Potter-related wishlist.  

Greyfriars Kirkyard

A short walk from The Elephant House, Greyfriars Kirkyard is known to have been a space of calm for Rowling, who often came here to walk around and gather her thoughts. She must have felt inspired by some of the headstones, as walking around you can spot the graves of Elizabeth Moodie or William McGonagall. The most famous grave, however, is that of Thomas Riddell Esquire whose name (with a different spelling) Rowling has given to Lord Voldemort. Thousands of fans visit “Voldemort’s grave”, and often they leave letters, too – although these are removed out of respect for the dead.


Source: Eszter’s own


There are other Harry Potter-related sites in Edinburgh: Spoon is another café where some of the first chapters were written, and George Heriot’s School – a private co-ed school that uses the House system, attended by Rowling’s children – is almost as magical as Hogwarts. Room 552 of The Balmoral Hotel is where J. K. Rowling stayed while writing The Deathly Hallows, although staying here to embrace the magic might cost you more than the Megabus ticket to Edinburgh. Finally, the Edinburgh City Chambers houses a bronze impression of Rowling’s hands since 2008, when she received the Edinburgh Award.


Lover of sunsets and coffee, queen of procrastination and a real granny at heart. 
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