Harry Potter & JK Rowling’s Edinburgh

There are many sites, locations and buildings that were a source of great inspiration to JK Rowling while writing her famous books. Most of these are found across the city centre and in the main, the Gothic Old Town. I set out to walk a tour of as many sites as I could see in the time I had. 

First on my list was to buy a wand in Victoria Street (Diagon Alley) an amazing street of small independent shops that has a steep climb, Victoria Terrace sits above this on a second level, its buildings towering over Victoria Street. At the top of Victoria Street I turned right and walked down to the entrance of Greyfriars Kirk and Grave Yard, of course I stopped to pat the nose of Greyfriars Bobby a statue to the little Skye Terrier and went up into the grave yard.  The centuries old graves were a great inspiration for names and two that I wanted to see was William McGonagall’s (Professor Minerva McGonagall) and that of He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named (Tom Riddell). Other gravestones of possible inspiration include Elizabeth Moodie (Mad-Eye Moody) and Margaret Louisa Scrymgeour Wedderburn (Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic) but after a wander round the yard I walked back out onto the street and crossed over to the National Museum of Scotland for some lunch (free to enter). I can recommend the cafe on the second floor! 

Refreshed, I headed back across the street and down Forrest Road connecting onto Lauriston Place where there is a terrific view of George Heriot’s School (Hogwarts) built in 1628, apparently it was also the inspiration for the 4 Houses of Howarts and uses the same colours, but sadly it doesn’t have a Sorting Hat to allocate the pupils. Returning back towards the National Museum of Scotland I retraced my steps along George IV Bridge to pass one of the cafe’s (The Elephant House) that JK used as a base to write her books, there are masses of fans and tourists queuing outside so I quickly take a picture and continue to the old headquarters of the Bank of Scotland (Gringots, the Wizarding Bank) which is the big green domed building at the far end of George IV Bridge and Bank Street. Back onto The Royal Mile I walked down hill and turned right along South Bridge Street until I found the Spoon Cafe where JK’s sister and brother-in-law ran the previously named Nicolson Cafe, apparently this is where the first book was written.

That was fun and my last stop I headed off in search of Butterbeer or something similar….

Organised walking tours. This is a Free guided tour (but they do like a donation at the end).


Remember to check out Museum Context in Victoria Street (Diagon Alley).

Trips further out of the city.

Filming location for Hogwarts castle

Filming location for Hogwarts Express