inside guide · Potter travel guide Edinburgh · Travel Blogger

Potter tour Edinburgh, locations & tips. (2018)

Fans making a trip to the Scottish capital should look out for these great locations which are easy to find within the city centre.  Be warned, Greyfriars Kirkyard is not only home to Thomas Riddell but the infamous MacKenzie Ghost……go in day light hours…


1.Where to start?

The Grassmarket, from the Castle take the stairs leading down to West Bow. This street is said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley,  full of interesting stores, it even has a magic shop. From the top of this street, you should see Pizza Express on the corner, you are on George IV Bridge, walk down to the Elephant House.

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2.  Past the Library, walk for a few minutes to you reach the Elephant House.  The Elephant House cafe claims to be the birthplace of Harry Potter, however in Edinburgh most folks know that the first novel was written in a cafe in Nicholson street which is now called  Spoons.

If you would like a photo inside the Elephant House,  try and visit the ladies toilets....this is where the Potter heads have being leaving their mark! Be warned you need to buy some food or drink before you can  take photo’s.  It is after all a small local business.

3. Keep walking past the Elephant House until you reach the statue of Greyfriars Bobby. If you are joining the free Potter Tour on a Friday afternoon, this is the meeting point. I can highly recommend and it is free but donations are expected, usually £5-10 p.p. Great fun and you get a free wand that is indeed magic and changes the traffic lights magically. Tour lasts an hour and it is a walking tour. In the summer there are 2 tours a day at 12pm and 4pm every day of the week. check out

4. Behind the statue of the little dog, you will see a pub and a lane next to it, this is the famous haunted graveyard that is claimed to be the inspiration for some of the Potter characters, Go straight to the back of the graveyard, next to the gates of a very imposing school, Heriots, and look for Thomas Riddell and other familiar names. Go in daylight, in winter hours of light are 8am-4pm. Spring days are longer.

Many people claim that Heriots is the school that inspired Hogwarts, personally, I think its another school called Fettes. If you imagine Fettes on top of Edinburgh Castle, it looks more like Hogwarts, would you agree? People claim it is because Heriots have 4 houses and turrets. Edinburgh is full of private schools and they all have 4 houses, so thats not really a big indicator of Hogwarts. I could see them playing Quiddich here at Fettes…. photo@shutterstock

5. So now that you have walked a little way, had a mini break and refreshment in the Elephant House, time to cross the road down towards the Museum of Scotland, do not go in, keep walking up the street on George IV Bridge, away from the elephant house to the University of Edinburgh and Potterrow.  Look out for the underpass, which resembles a certain fight with the Tormentors. I would go in day light, its another spooky place…. Walk past the underpass and you will reach a street called College Street, here next to the Captains Bar ( bright red) you will see the sign above the door for William McGonagall.. A famous Scottish actor and poet, who is buried in Greyfriars Kirk. Sound familiar?If you look down the street you will see Spoons, the cafe on Nicholson Street, above  the Black Medicine Coffee shop. Photo@shutterstock

5.  Walk back to the royal Mile, once you reach Deacon Brodie pub on the corner, you will see the famous St Giles Cathedral, opposite this is the City chambers and on the ground to the left is JK Rowling handprints, awarded to her in 2008 for her contributions to the capital city.

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6. And Finally if you are on Princes street, the large hotel at the end is called the Balmoral Hotel. The one with the clock.  This is where JK Rowling finished her Harry Potter series in a suite called…wait for it…”The JK Rowling suite”,  saves any confusion really!!


The suite has been recently redesigned and is available to us mere muggles for £745 midweek off season. The great news is that the living room can accommodate 2 young children at a supplement of £98.
The price increases considerably in the summer, easter holidays, weekends and festive period. Family of 4 for one night, where Jk Rowling completed her last book…..mmm, if your child is mad for H. Potter….what a birthday treat!

 If you are visiting Edinburgh, the street behind Waverley station is called Coburg street. This is where you will find a great Potter inspired shop with amazing potter gifts.


Many thanks and I hope that you enjoy your visit. Remember to be careful, if you love haunted happenings book the Haunted Edinburgh tour…too scarey for me. Thanks for reading. This post contains affiliate links


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