Edinburgh was the home of J.K. Rowling when she wrote the majority of the Harry Potter books, making it one of the best locations to explore more into the world of Harry Potter.
The secret of Scotland being an amazing vacation spot is getting out! The country literally has so many amazing things to do. Of the main cities, Edinburgh is the top destination and best launching point to other “must sees” like the Scottish Highlands.
One of the many reasons that this city needs to be on your bucket list is because it is special place for Harry Potter fans!
Edinburgh was the home of J.K. Rowling when she drew inspiration and wrote most of the Harry Potter series. When walking around the city it really does feel like Harry Potter.
You can find and see spots that are directly out of the books/movies. In fact, you can visit the exact shop where J.K. Rowling wrote the series!
To help fans hit all the top spots there are a number of tours available, or you can read on to get find out what you can explore on your own.
- Best Edinburgh Harry Potter Tours
- Best Harry Potter Sites in Edinburgh for a Self-Guided Tour
- Stay in Harry Potter Edinburgh Accommodation
Best Edinburgh Harry Potter Tours
- Tour Length: 2 hours
- Free Cancellation: Yes!
- What’s Included: Walking tour, Guide
- Where to Book: Getyourguide.com
This Harry Potter themed excursion leaves from Edinburgh and takes you into the magical Scottish Highlands (and back).
You will ride on the famous Jacobite Steam Train (aka the Hogwarts Express) and travel along the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the exact bridge you see in the movies!
Aside from spotting the site of the movie scenes you will also see the stunning screnery of the Glencoe area. Seriously, you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy this one.
Read more about Scottish Highlands and Hogwarts Express Tour here. The Harry Potter train in Scotland is a top attraction for a reason!
- Tour Length: 13 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
- Free Cancellation: Yes!
- What’s Included: Air-conditioned vehicle, WiFi on board, Jacobite Steam Train one-way ticket (Mallaig to Fort William)
- Where to Book: Viator.com
This is most expensive tour on the list, but also the best option if you want to visit the Scottish Highlands while in Edinburgh.
It includes 3 days and 2 nights in the Isle of Sky and it leaves directly from Edinburgh! As well as a ride on the famous Hogwarts Express train!
The Isle of Sky has once in a lifetime beauty! Check out this page for more details.
What you will see:
- See the legendary scenery including the Old Man of Storr
- Cuillin Mountains
- Ride the famous Hogwarts Express train (as seen in the Harry Potter films) from Mallaig to Fort William
- Your choice of B&B or hotel accommodation
Read more about 3-Day Isle of Skye and Scottish Highlands Tour Including “Hogwarts Express” Ride.
- Tour Length: 3 days
- Free Cancellation: Yes!
- What’s Included: 2 nights accommodation in 3-star B&B or hotels, Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William, Breakfast daily
- Where to Book: Viator.com
Best Harry Potter Sites in Edinburgh for a Self-Guided Tour
Don’t want to pay for a tour? No problem, simply get a map and hit the highlights described below. They are some of the popular Harry Potter sites around Edinburgh.
The Harry Potter Cafe Edinburgh (Elephant House)
The Elephant House is a super popular tea and coffee house in Edinburgh. That is probably why J.K. Rowling wrote part of the Harry Potter books here. While this wasn’t the exact cafe where the idea of Harry Potter came to fruition, it was definitely a site where the series was developed.
Address: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EN
Diagon Alley Edinburgh
Is Diagon Alley really in Edinburgh? Technically no. It is a made-up place, but, Victoria Street in Edinburgh looks very Diagon Alley-esque. It is easy to see why everyone sites it as the inspiration for the movies. What do you think?
While you’re on Victoria Street, make sure to make a stop at the Harry Potter themed shops! My favorite are The Great Wizard (formerly The Boy Wizard) and Museum Context. These shops are a lot of fun to explore and something that is harder to find in other cities.
Greyfriars Kirkyard (Harry Potter Graveyard Edinburgh)
Looking for a Harry Potter graveyard in Edinburgh?
As fans know parts of the Harry Potter books are spooky. Greyfriars Kirkyard (in Scotland they use the word Kirkyard to mean churchyard or graveyard. This graveyard is fairly close to some of the cafes that J.K.Rowling hung out in.
There are a number of characters that pay homage to headstones here. One of the most famous is for Thomas Riddell. Obviously this is something the hard core fans will want to see.
Check them out here.
General Information: Greyfriars Kirkyard Harry Potter Edinburgh
- Address: 26A Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QQ
- Hours: Monday through Friday – 10:30 am to 4:30 pm | Saturday 12 pm to 4 pm | Sunday – Closed
- Website: https://greyfriarskirk.com/
Nicolson’s Cafe is often cited as the Best Harry Potter Cafe in Edinburgh! J.K. Rowling talks about how she wrote an entire chapter here without having to edit a word later on.
She said that she liked Nicolson’s because there were a lot of tables so she didn’t feel guilty sitting and writing for long periods of time. It helped her feel comfortable because her brother-in-law was one of the owners.
She said she used to joke with them and say, “well you know when it gets published I’ll try and get you loads of publicity.” At the time no-one could have ever dreamed that would prove to be so true!
Read more about Nicolson’s Cafe here.
The Balmoral Hotel
Balmoral Hotel – This 5-star hotel is where J.K. Rowling wrapped up the writing of the entire series. You can tell that she was moving up in the world by then because she was staying at a hotel as nice as this!
Specifically, she finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in room 552 on January 11, 2007. That series was such a big part of my life that it’s crazy to think of the place it was all completed.
Would you want to stay there? I’m sure the hotel gets swamped with requests to stay in the same room. Check it out here.
Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
Other famous Harry Potter sites in Edinburgh:
- National Museum of Scotland – This is another location that is often said to have inspired various parts of the series. Supposedly Rowling drew inspiration from The Lewis Chessmen, The Queen Mary Harp.
- Address: Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF
Stay in Harry Potter Edinburgh Accommodation
West Bow – Magical Harry Potter-Inspired Flat near Edinburgh Castle – Are you a super nerd? If so you may want to stay in this Harry Potter inspired apartment near Edinburgh Castle!
It is basically located in the city center; the location couldn’t get any better than this! You are right in the heart of the city.
Find your own accommodation in Edinburgh to easily access the Edinburgh Harry Potter sites by searching below!
READ MORE ON SCOTLAND:
Traveling to Scotland was a dream come true. These are my most popular blog posts on Scotland to help you plan your trip.
- 21 Romantic Things to do in Edinburgh for Couples – I’m sure your not surprised that I had trouble cutting down this list because there are SO many romantic things to do in Edinburgh.
- 5 Edinburgh Ghost Tours (That Are Truly Worth it)
- Best Harry Potter Tours in Edinburgh! – These tours will not disappoint Harry Potter fans
- Best Castles in Scotland: You can’t go to Scotland and not add these epic castles to your itinerary.
- Top 10 Things to do in Scotland: My absolute favorite places included in this guide!
- 6 Best Edinburgh Food Tours
- Where to see the Heather in Scotland: Must see guide!
- Best Things to do in Stirling Scotland: One of my favorite small towns just outside of Edinburgh.
- 10 Unique Things to Know About Scotland’s Culture
- Edinburgh or Glasgow, Which City in Scotland Should You Visit? – A guide to the two main Scottish Cities – Edinburgh or Glasgow?
- 28 Mind Blowing Photos Of Scotland