The tour I was talking about was a walking tour through Edinburgh based on none other than Harry Potter! J.K. Rowling was living in Edinburgh, Scotland while she was writing the books, so there is a lot of Harry Potter history in this city.
We met up with our tour guides at Greyfriars Bobby and then started from there.
As many Harry Potter fans may know, many of the names for the Harry Potter characters were taken directly from a graveyard named Greyfriars Kirkyard. We had the chance to go see some of the tombstones in person!
First we saw William McGonagall, who Professor McGonagall’s name was inspired by. He was a poet, tragedian, and apparently such a terrible writer that people threw tomatoes at him. At least he has his little claim to fame in Harry Potter!
We saw Tom Riddle’s gravestone as well. There was a father and son featured on the stone and they were wealthy soldiers. Someone scraped in Voldemort’s name at the bottom of the stone – which they have apparently tried to get rid of but haven’t been able to yet.
George Heriot’s was the school next door and it was the inspiration for Hogwarts. It opened in 1628 and was originally for orphans. Now it is one of the best and most expensive private schools around. They have a 4 group school system that have the same “house colors” as Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. J.K. Rowling’s children actually attended the school for an amount of time as well.
We got to see Victoria Street which was the street that inspired Diagon Alley! You can just tell by looking at this photo of all of the bright colors and cute shops.
We passed by Spoon Cafe, which used to be known as Nicholson’s Cafe. That is where J.K. Rowling began writing the Philosopher’s Stone! In the early days of writing the series, she did not have much money, she brought along her baby daughter to sleep, and she kept warm inside coffee shops in Edinburgh while writing her novel.
One of the other well-known cafes J.K. Rowling wrote some of the series in was The Elephant House, which I had a chance to visit as well. That one is definitely more well-known. There are photos of her hanging up on the walls, signs claiming that it is “the birthplace of Harry Potter” and a completely graffitied women’s bathroom that is all Harry Potter themed. It is very cool!
J.K. Rowling finished the last book in the Balmoral Hotel and the suite she stayed in (Room 552) is now considered the “J.K. Rowling suite.” It is located on the same street the first book was written on, so it is very full circle. She actually picked up a statue in the room and wrote underneath it that the Deathly Hallows was finished there. There is an owl on the door, the first edition of all of the books are displayed inside, and it is very expensive to stay there.
So that was what I learned from my Harry Potter Walking Tour! I am sure it only scraped the surface of all of the book’s history that lies in that gorgeous city, but I had a great time learning new facts that I didn’t know before!
Up Next: Back to the most magical place in Europe!