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Every Potterhead needs to visit these magical Edinburgh highlights


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Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is a beautiful city that’s known for many things: its glorious castle, fried everything and being the birthplace of Harry Potter.

Most well-informed muggles are aware that Rowling penned her initial novels in Edinburgh cafes, but only the best know that she drew inspiration from her surroundings. Consequently, when navigating your way around Edinburgh’s cobbled streets, it’s not uncommon to come across reminders of everyone’s favourite books (and films).

To save you some time, we have put together a list of places in Edinburgh that any true Potterhead should visit.

The Elephant House

Situated on George IV Bridge, this relaxed coffee house is one of many Rowling utilised when writing the Potter books. Its bathroom is filled with heartwarming messages written to J.K from dedicated fans, detailing how much the characters that she created mean to them.

Rowling was interviewed at the cafe when writing her third book and can be seen enjoying the café’s delicious coffee.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

It was in Greyfriars Kirkyard that Rowling found inspiration for names of some of her most well-known characters: Tom Riddle, Made Eye Moodie and McGonagall. The headstones of William McGonagall, Elizabeth Moodie and Tom Riddle are regularly visited by Potter fanatics. The graveyard can be found near Edinburgh landmark, Greyfriars Bobby.

The Meadows

The Meadows is a huge park just south of the city’s centre, and home to Edinburgh’s Holyrood Hippogriffs: our very own Quidditch team. The team is run by the University of Edinburgh’s Harry Potter society and is open to both students and non-students in the community. The Holyrood Hippogriffs are extremely successful, with many players being selected for national teams.


A busy, vibrant square that’s often filled with tourists and locals alike. Grassmarket and its attached Victoria Street were thought to provide Rowling with inspiration for Diagon Alley. As well as a colourful array of restaurants and cafés, the streets include a joke shop, multiple bookshops and a vintage clothes shop that wouldn’t look out of place next to Ollivander's or Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.

Spoon Café

Another café that Rowling used to visit while writing the early books was the cafe that existed before Spoon Bistro on Nicholson street, near the University of Edinburgh. To prove the legitimacy of this claim, the cafe has a plaque outside stating where Rowling would write.

The Balmoral

This luxury hotel is where the successful author finished the last few pages of the Deathly Hallows. Rowling celebrated this feat by writing on a bust in the room with the following: “J.K Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this hotel room (552) on 11th Jan 2007”.

The hotel suite that she stayed in has been renamed after her and is often requested by fans who pay up to £1000 per night to stay there.



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