Edinburgh

Scotland for Harry Potter fans

09 Jun 2019
Last Summer whilst on a family holiday in Edinburgh we took a Harry Potter Walking Tour with Katrina (aka Travel Kat) and were introduced to the city through the eyes of a Harry Potter fan. It is a tour that was enjoyed by young and old fans alike in our group and Kat especially adapted the tour for us to accommodate the wheelchair. Needless to say we highly recommend her tour (there are several alternatives on offer). We have asked her to share here the top Harry Potter must see sights, some of which will truly surprise you. Adapted by kind permission from her original blog

J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh whilst writing the Harry Potter books, she moved to the city in 1993 and continued to write all 7 of the books here. She still resides in Edinburgh today, and many sites in the city served as inspiration and refuge during her time of writing.

Edinburgh Walking Tour
Of course we are not going to give everything away and suggest you take the Harry Potter Walking tour throughout the Old Town. Groups are kept small and private groups can also be arranged, as already mentioned.
Discover the streets and secret alleyways of the Old Town area of Edinburgh, starting at Edinburgh Castle, take a wander down to Diagon Alley and find the gravestones of Voldemort and some other well known names in the Harry Potter series. Spot Hogwarts School of Wizardry and find where the writer found her inspiration. Following onto the famous and not so famous cafes where J.K. Rowling began her writing career, finishing in the realms of luxury at the Balmoral Hotel.
The tour lasts approx 1 hour. Depending on group size, photo opportunities and question time extended version tours available  upon request. Airbnb tour: Small group Harry Potter Walking Tour

Victoria Street
This beautiful picturesque street is famous for being the real inspiration for Diagon Alley. Wandering down the cobblestones on this street you will begin to see why; it has a book shop, a joke shop and two Harry Potter Merchandise shops - Museum Context and Boy Wizard. Both of these shops sell all sorts of memorabilia, but Kat's personal favourite is Museum Context. "Firstly, it's an independent shop and it has 3 floors of HP goodness! Make sure to check out the top floor for the 'Chamber of Secrets'."
Victoria Street can be accessed from just off the Lawnmarket section of the Royal Mile and runs down to the Grassmarket.
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Harry Potter Themed Apartment
Edinburgh's Wizarding experience can be extended to specially themed apartments.This particular apartment not only gets glowing reviews, but also has an excellent central location on Rose Street  in the heart of the city. You'll be staying in a traditional 1700's dwelling, the ultimate way to be immersed into the history! The home is styled tastefully, but if you're a Potter head then you will appreciate the floating Harry Potter Shelves and potion bottles. The host is a clear fan of the series and throughout the apartment you will spot many other nods to the books. *Note - if you make a reservation at the apartment you will receive 10% off Katrina's walking tours. Reservation for the apartment


The Highlands of Scotland
Further afield from Edinburgh head North into the Scottish Highlands. The best way to explore this region is by car, but this area can also be reached by public transport as well as some commercial tours. 

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber.
Thousands of visitors arrive at the Glenfinnan Viaduct every year, and for good reason... the "Hogwarts Express" train operates on the railway line above.  The viaduct has 21 towering arches and overlooks Loch Shiel and the famous Jacobite monument.
The second and third Harry Potter films ('Chamber of Secrets' and 'Prisoner of Azkaban') are filmed in this area, the landscape shots can be seen in the movies.
You can take a seat on the train and watch the scenery roll by, or you can park up and glimpse the train from afar. Plans are in place to expand a nearby car park to accommodate the amount of visitors.
For non-Potter fans the steam train is actually called "The Jacobite". The train runs from Fort William to Mallaig, stopping on route at the village of Glenfinnan in the summer months. Booking is strongly advised
Morning Service: The Jacobite runs from Monday 22nd April to Friday 25th October 2019 (Monday to Friday). Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 4th May to Sunday 29th September 2019.
Afternoon Service: The trip runs from Monday 13th May to Friday 13th September 2019 (Monday to Friday). Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 15th June to Sunday 1st September 2019.
First class tickets cost (adult)  £59.95 return, Standard class tickets cost (adult) £37.75 return.


Loch Shiel, Lochaber.
Loch Shiel also features in the movies, such as in close up shots of the "Hogwarts Lake" and in particular, the scene where Buckbeak dips his toes into the water in the 'Prisoner of Azkaban' is filmed there.
The Loch is also featured when Harry and Hermione are looking out across the lake from the Astronomy tower in the 'Half-Blood Prince'.

Rannoch moor, Scotland
Rannoch Moor
This area of wilderness on the west coast of Scotland is featured in the 'Deathly Hallows Part 1' where the evil Death Eaters stop and board the train. Even if you are not a huge Potter fan this area is still a must see, the landscape is raw and beautiful. Rannoch Moor can be accessed via the A9 road and is 150 miles north of Glasgow. If you board "The Jacobite" train you will journey past here.

Glencoe
This beautiful mountainous Glen was used to film multiple scenes. The backdrop was used for the scene where Hermione punches Malfoy in the face in the third movie. Glencoe was also used for the setting of Hagrid's Hut. This region is hauntingly beautiful and a must see for Harry Potter fans.  During the summer months this area is set up for a drive through cinema showing Harry Potter movies. The backdrop of the Glen is spectacular and if you want to stay overnight then the Glencoe Cottages offer accommodation on a self catering basis near the shores of Loch Leven.

Loch Eilt, Eilean Na Moine.
This location was used for one of the more sombre scenes in Harry Potter including Dumbledore's final resting place. The same setting was also used for when Voldemort stole Dumbledore's powerful Elder wand in the 'Deathly Hallows Part 1'. Earlier on in the series it was also used in the scene where Hagrid is skimming stones over the loch after the trial of his beloved Buckbeak in the 'Prisoner of Azkaban'


 

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