Hello, you inquisitive Muggle you! Are you a huge Harry Potter fan? Or do you know someone who is and who wants to see all of the absolute best Edinburgh Harry Potter sites ever?
If so then this beyond ENCHANTING (had to rock out with that beyond lame pun) post is totes ma-goats for you.
I mean, not only have I visited Edinburgh countless times, but I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. Like, I’ve read the books and seen the movies numerous times, am impatiently waiting for an owl to deliver my Hogwarts acceptance letter, and would name my firstborn either Harry, Ron, or Hermione.
Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean. I am a hardcore, Harry Potter obsessed nerd to the ten-thousandth degree and am totally okay with that.
So, why don’t you hop on your Nimbus 2,000 (You could also use the floo network or grab a rogue port key. Whatever tickles your fancy.) and journey with me to Edinburgh, easily one of the best places to visit in Scotland.
It’s a magical city where awesomeness abounds and where it is pretty dang easy to find some totally amazing Edinburgh Harry Potter sites.
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***Looking for a place to stay in Edinburgh? Then definitely check out Old Town Chambers, Castle View Guest House, St. Valery Guest House, and Fraser Suites Edinburgh. Plus, you always have the option of checking out my super-detailed, Edinburgh accommodation guide right now. It’ll give you great information about some of the best places to stay in Edinburgh.***
1. The Elephant House
If you’re traveling to Edinburgh and happen to mention that you’re more than a little into Harry Potter (read insanely obsessed), then this will be the very FIRST place that people will direct you to.
Because if there was just one iconic Edinburgh Harry Potter site, then THIS would be it.
“But why is this place such an iconic Edinburgh landmark?” I hear you quizzically wondering. And that’s a totally valid inquiry.
In a nutshell, though, this small coffee shop is known as the unofficial “Harry Potter cafe” in Edinburgh.
It’s also one of the most immortal Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh and even has a cute little sign in the window that reads, “birthplace of Harry Potter”.
So yeah, clearly Harry Potter is serious biz here.
However, what many people don’t know is that this fact is only partly true. Yes, some of the books were written here, but the first book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) was actually written at Spoon,
Yeah, it sits above the Black Medicine coffee shop and used to be Nicholsons Cafe back in the day.
But, don’t take my word for it! Walk by Black Medicine for yourself and you’ll see a tiny plaque that proclaims to all passersby that J.K. Rowling did indeed write some early chapters of the Harry Potter books here.
So yeah, you’re now one of those uber-cool, Harry Potter lovers who are totally in the know. Yup, you’re welcome.
PSST…don’t leave The Elephant House without going into the bathroom. Trust me on this. The decor is pretty dang cool since you’ll see “evidence” left by Dumbledore Army members everywhere.
Address: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN, United Kingdom
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Price: Personally, I’d skip the entrees and just grab a large latte for £3.10. The desserts here are also pretty good too and you can sit by the window and enjoy a nice view of Edinburgh Castle.
2. Greyfriar’s Kirkyard
Since you’re in the area anyway, might as well visit another one of the top Edinburgh Harry Potter sites out there.
Because this gem of a cemetery is just a short, one-minute walk from the Elephant House and has a ton of Harry Potter connections, easily making it one of the top Harry Potter sights in Edinburgh.
So, while you’re here, you can actually find the grave of a one, Thomas Riddell. And anyone out there who is an ardent lover of all things Harry Potter knows that Thomas Riddel was also the name of Voldemort.
At least, before he went bat shiz crazy and became totally obsessed with not so nice things like murder, mayhem, and total world domination.
Accordingly, many Harry Potter fans think that J.K. Rowling probably got the name for this very important character from this exact location – a gravestone that was built in memory of a 19th-century gentleman who died in 1806 at the age of 72.
Additionally, not only does this cemetery look eerily similar to the one featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (You know, at the end of the movie where Voldemort and Harry get into an epic wizard battle of good versus evil), but there are also tons of other gravestones here that share names with famous Harry Potter characters.
Some of the most famous ones include:
- Elizabeth Moodie – Auror Mad-Eye Moodie
- Anne and Robert Potter – Perhaps where J.K. Rowling got the last name for a famous wizard?
- William McGonagall – The last name of Minerva McGonagall, the Transfiguration Professor and head of Gryffindor House.
- Margaret Louisa Scrymegeour Wedderburn – Rufus Scrimgeour who is an obscure Minister of Magic)
Admittedly, some of these are a bit of a stretch. I mean, Potter is a ridiculously common last name. However, some of these similarities appear to be more than a mere coincidence.
Address: 26A Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QE, United Kingdom
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
***Really want to take your experience at Greyfriar’s Kirkyard to the NEXT LEVEL? Then book this 1.5-hour-long tour of Greyfriar’s Kirkyard now! Not only will you get to explore this creep-tastic cemetery in the evening, but you’ll also step inside an actual burial vault and learn all about Burke and Hare, two uber-famous murderers whose Edinburgh exploits are legendary. Scary AF? You betcha! But I mean that in the good, I wanna be scared kind of way.***
3. Potterrow Port
Real talk? Yeah, this is probably one of the LEAST exciting Edinburgh Harry Potter sites on this list since you basically just take a picture of (or with) an underpass sign and leave.
Because guess what? The only real connection to Harry Potter here is this underpass near the University of Edinburgh is named Potterrow, thereby sharing in Harry Potter’s last name.
I’ve also heard people say it looks a bit like the spot where Dudley and Harry get attacked by dementors at the start of the Order of the Phoenix. But alas, I feel like most underpasses look like this and think it’s a bit of a stretch.
So yeah, not exactly the most impressive Edinburgh Harry Potter experience ever. But, since I’ve been here and know about it, I couldn’t in good conscience just leave it off the list/.
Plus, if you’re at the University of Edinburgh anyway, definitely take a look around since the campus is gorgeous and totally worth a visit in and of itself.
Address: Potterrow Port, University of Edinburgh
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
4. Talk a Walk Along Victoria Street
With its winding, cobblestone streets and colorful storefronts, it’s not difficult to imagine Victoria Street as the inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s ever-enchanting, Diagon Alley.
You know, that super snazzy place where all the wizards in training go to find all their “bit and bobs” for the upcoming school year.
And while the author herself has never confirmed that Victoria Street (connecting George IV Bridge and Grassmarket in Old Town) served as the inspiration for Diagon Alley, what we do know is that there are a TON of super awesome museums and shops that sell Harry Potter souvenirs.
Some of my faves include:
- The Boy Wizard (now The Great Wizard) – It’s basically this uber-cool, Harry Potter-themed shop that sells a ton of high-quality, super unique Harry Potter merchandise that you can’t find anywhere else. Definitely worth a visit and WAY better than many other stores that sell generic AF souvenirs. There’s also no Harry Potter shop at the airport so definitely stock up on all your Harry Potter goodies while you’re here.
- Museum Context (formerly Museum Context) – Located on Victoria street (with another on Cockburn Street), this quirky little Harry Potter souvenir shop is located inside two stone vaults and recreates all of the magic and wonder that is Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
- The Dog House Pub – Located on Clerk Street, Harry Potter fans of legal drinking age can stop by for a pint of butterbeer (and yes, they really do serve butterbeer made out of Fosters and syrup) and discuss the finer points of hatching a dragon egg with Hagrid. It’s also just a totally unique, super cool themed pub where you can meet a resident bulldog who is forever roaming around.
Address: Victoria Street, Edinburgh
Price: Free, unless you want to buy souvenirs from The Boy Wizard.
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day (the street, not the souvenir shop).
5. J.K. Rowling’s Handprints
Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Royal Mile is the City Chambers (where the city council meets). It’s home to an expansive courtyard that stands in honor of some of Edinburgh’s greatest residents, both past and present.
It’s just inside this very courtyard that you’ll find a flagstone in a quadrangle that features a gilded reproduction of the handprints of the woman herself, J.K. Rowling.
You know, the insanely awesome human who was single-handedly responsible for bringing the very awesome world of Harry Potter to life.
So, swing by, cheese it up with a photo (or ten-thousand) of yourself with your hands atop JK’s prints (Because we’re close like that. LOL), and behold the woman who first created these prints when she received the prestigious Edinburgh Award in 2008.
Also, while you’re here admiring one of the best Edinburg Harry Potter sites, don’t forget to snag an up close and personal look at the handprints of other famous Edinburgh Award recipients like Sir Chris Hoy, Tom Gilzean, and Ian Rankin.
Address: City Chambers, 253 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ, United Kingdom
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
6. George Heriot’s School
Just down the street from Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is another one of the many amazing Edinburgh Harry Potter sites on this list.
Locally known as George Herriot’s School, it’s a prestigious, primary/secondary private school in Edinburgh that is rumored to be the beyond magical inspiration for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy.
I mean, students here are actually separated into four different houses, compete in yearly, “house” competitions, and have house colors that are exactly the same as the colors of the four houses at Hogwarts (so Lauriston is green, Greyfriars is white/yellow, Raeburn is red, and Castle is blue).
The school’s stunning gothic-style stone walls and turreted towers from 1628 (when it was first built) also seem to look a whole hell of a lot like Hogwarts, at least to this chick right here.
So yeah, what more proof do you need? LOL. Okay, I know that’s probably true for a lot of schools but just take my word for it and continue on with the Harry Potter awesomeness.
And while the school itself is usually not open to the public, you can definitely score a lovely photo op from George IV Bridge, Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, and Lauriston Place.
It’s also worth mentioning that while this school does have a lot in common with Hogwarts, J.K. Rowling herself denies ever using this school as a basis for the development of Hogwarts.
But whateves. I’m still gonna hold onto all my Hogwarts-related fantasies. Especially since Hagrid will ride in on his motorbike to collect me any day now.
Yup, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Address: Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh EH3 9EQ, United Kingdom
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day. It’s also not open to the public but you can admire it from the exterior.
7. Balmoral Hotel
This iconic part of the Edinburgh skyline is also one of the top Edinburgh Harry Potter sites to see!
That’s because this swank AF hotel on Princes Street is where J.K. Rowling actually finished writing the final book in the series.
Yup, by this time, she had made her millions and could actually afford to write her novel in one of the hotel’s loveliest suites, room 552, now affectionately known as the J.K. Rowling suite.
I mean, there’s even a bust of Hermes in here that has her John Hancock (aka signature) on it.
And while us mere mortals might not be able to afford to stay here, you can always stop in for a spot of tea (I’ve had afternoon tea here and it’s quite lovely).
Otherwise, you are more than welcome to access that hidden trust fund of yours or make use of any available off-shore bank accounts so that you can book a room here fotr around $500 per night.
Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, United Kingdom
Hours: Twenty-four-hour front desk service.
Price: Rooms here start at $250 per night,
8. The Dark Lord Resurrection Escape Room
If you’re a Harry Potter super-nerd like me, then you’ll LOVE this Harry Potter Edinburgh site since it is easily one of the most unusual things to do in Edinburgh.
I mean, it basically the best Escape Room experience ever since you and your pals (up to five of you total) have fifty minutes to enter the Mausoleum of the Dead, uncover the proper incantation, discover hidden relics, and create a nifty little potion to help the Dark Lord come back from the dead.
Muhahaha! And yes, that was supposed to be an eerie, uber-creepy laugh that only a supremely loyal death eater like Lucius Malfoy would make.
Anyway, channel your inner Slytherin and help the Dark Lord asced to power during this wickedly wonderful escape room experience. Because you know, being bad can sometimes feel oh-so-good,
However, if becoming the spawn of Satan for an hour is just not your thing, you could always engage in one of the Department of Magic’s other fun activities, like:
- Prophecies Quest – An escape room event where you collect various Prophecies that He Who Must Not Be Named has hidden throughout the Department of Magic. During this Edinburgh Harry Potter experience, it’s your job to uncover these revelations about the future and prevent Voldemort from ascending to power once again. Cool beyond belief? Hell to the yeah.
- Magical Potions Tavern – Grab an uber-fly wizard’s robe, have your wand at the ready, step inside the Magical Potions Tavern, and brew up some deliciously delightful potions that both the big and little kids will love. And by potions, I mean various alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages alike. So yeah, think of it like potions class, only better, since Severus Snape will most likely not be in attendance.
Address: Department Of Magic, 9 Blair Street, Edinburgh
Hours: Dark Lord resurrections are held daily at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:00 pm. Check their website for tickets and availability.
Price: Tickets are £40 for two people, £55 for three people, £60 for four people, and £70 for five people.
9. The Writer’s Museum
Harry Potter lovers of the world rejoice and be glad because THIS is the Edinburgh Harry Potter attraction for you!
Okay, in fairness, the only real connection this museum has to Harry Potter is that it’s about famous writers and J.K. Rowling is now an iconic author who is best known for conjuring up, DUH, the Harry Potter series.
However, the museum itself is a lovely little place to go if you want to learn more about some of Edinburgh’s most famous writers, including Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and more.
And the central area of the museum? Well, it’s divided into three separate sections, each of which is dedicated to one of these three famous authors.
So, step inside and marvel at some of the museum’s fascinating artifacts, like Robert Burns’ writing desk, Sir Walter Scott’s rocking horse, Robert Louis Stevenson’s ring (given to him by a Samoan chief), etc.
It’s also pretty easy to find since it’s tucked away inside a gorgeous, 17th-century building in Lady Stair’s Close, near the very top of the Royal Mile.
Besides, who knows. Your visit might just inspire you to write the next great, Harry Potter-esq novel.
Address: Lawnmarket, Lady Stair’s Cl, Edinburgh EH1 2PA
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
10. Edinburgh Castle
As you probably already guessed, this Edinburgh Harry Potter site looks a whole lot like Hogwarts itself,
I mean, Edinburgh Castle is perched atop a rock, just like Hogwarts, and actually used to be surrounded by a large body of “black water” called the Nor Loch.
And then, yeah, the entire area was drained in 1813 to make way for the Princes Street Gardens, one of the slightly less unusual things to do in Edinburgh.
So, although Edinburgh Castle’s connection to Harry Potter isn’t super strong, it’s still an Edinburgh icon that should be a part of anyone and everyone’s 2 day Edinburgh Itinerary.
Plus, there are a ton of super cool things to see and do here since this is the place where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI.
It also provides visitors with exceptional panoramic views of Edinburgh and an up-close and personal look at the one and only, Honours of Scotland (aka the Scottish Royal Jewels).
However, other awesome things to see and do here include the Royal Apartments, the National War Museum, St, Margaret’s Chapel, the Scottish National War Memorial, the Regimental Museums, Half Moon Battery, the Stone of Destiny (an ancient symbol of the Scottish monarchy), the One O’Clock Gun (fired every day at 1:00 pm), etc.
That’s why, if you’re a history enamored, over the top Harry Potter fan like me, then I would consider spending between three to four hours here.
I’d also live a little and opt for the skip the line ticket with a guided tour. Trust me on this. Not only it will save you heaps of time but it will help you develop a better understanding of what you’re actually looking at.
Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Adult tickets are £15.50, concession tickets are £12.40, children’s tickets are £9.30 (aged 5 to 15), and children under five are free.
11. Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour
Okay, real talk? This 2-hour, guided Harry Potter Walking Tour is all things magical and perfect for any and every Muggle who just happens to find themselves in Edinburgh.
So, if you’re short on time and want to quickly see as many Edinburgh Harry Potter sites as Muggle-ly possible, then this is the tour for you.
I mean, not only are the guides fun, friendly, and incredibly knowledgable, but they will also take you to some of the best Harry Potter attractions In Edinburgh.
You know, super-nifty places like Tom Riddle’s grave in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, The Elephant House, and the site of J.K. Rowling handprints near City Chambers.
You’ll also get to test how much of a Harry Potter expert you really are during an audio-visual quiz and get sorted into your very own Hogwarts House.
Plus, you have the added benefit of getting all this for just $16.00 per person – a price tag that I for one think is pretty dang reasonable.
However, that being said, you definitely do not NEED a Harry Potter tour to see all of the Harry Potter Edinburgh sites listed here.
In reality, Edinburgh is a super walkable city and many of the sites listed here are within close proximity of each other
So, you could easily do your own Harry Potter tour without the help of a formal guide. It really just depends on your budget, how much time you have in the city, and whether you’d like a guide to enhance your understanding of all these amazing places.
Meeting Point: You’ll meet by William Chambers Monument at 45 Chambers Street, Edinburgh.
Tour Times: Tours are available every day of the week. For specific times, check out this website.
Price: Around $16.00 per person.
12. Stay in a Harry Potter Inspired AirBNB
Luckily for you, my Harry Potter loving friend, there are actually several different, Harry Potter themed AirBNB’s that you can stay at while in Edinburgh.
So, if you haven’t signed up for Airbnb already, definitely do so now and check out the following listings!
- Edinburgh Wizarding Residence on Grassmarket – Located along The West Bow (J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley), this centrally located, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment can accommodate up to four people. Prices start at £112.00 per night (with a two-night minimum stay) and include Harry Potter inspired features like walls covered in antique portrait wallpaper, a grand deer antler chandelier, and various antique pieces of luggage that look like they came straight off the Hogwarts Express! The bedroom also has a Harry Potter-like four-poster bed made from tree branches, as well as a Gringotts inspired bathroom that features a vault-style door and a floor made entirely out of money. Guests here also have access to a full kitchen, dishwasher, washing machine, smart TV, walk-in shower, and a storage cupboard hidden behind a long mirror.
- Magical Wizarding Residence in the Heart of Edinburgh – The one bedroom, one bathroom, Harry Potter inspired apartment in central Edinburgh starts at just $48 per night. It’s hosted by Charles, can accommodate up to two people, and includes amenities like a full kitchen, complimentary tea/coffee, hotel-quality linens, WIFI, a washing machine, TV, and more. Add in quirky, Harry Potter-themed decor (think walls lined with bookshelf wallpaper, vintage steamer trunks, various Harry Potter knick-knacks, and a Harry Potter-style robe) and you have a truly awesome Airbnb that all the Potterheads will love.
- Harry Potter Luxury Apartment in Canongate – This posh AF apartment in Canongate is basically as close as you’re going to get to a stay in Gryffindor Tower. It features a cozy king-size bed, a working fireplace, and rooms that truly resemble the Gryffindor common room, as well as a bedroom that looks like a train car from the Hogwarts Express.
13. Ride the Hogwarts Express
Real talk time!
You actually cannot hop aboard the Hogwarts Express while in Edinburgh. I know. Annoying but 100% true.
However, you can board the Hogwarts Express while you’re in Scotland, which is, why this experience made it on this list of the best Edinburgh Harry Potter, sites ever.
So, to board this magical train of wonder, you’ll first have to haul your cutie bootie to the train station at Fort William.
But, you can easily do this by catching a train first from Edinburgh to Glasgow and then another from Glasgow to Fort William where your journey will begin.
Once here, you’ll board a vintage-style, Jacobite Steam Train (otherwise known as the Hogwarts Express) and take it on a mesmerizing, 84-mile journey along the west coast of Scotland to Mallaig.
Trust me on this. The journey is SO stunning that it would make Harry, Ron, and Hermoine all swoon with delight, at least after they procured a delicious pumpkin juice and chocolate frog from the passing trolley.
Just keep your eyes peeled because along the way, you’ll discover a wealth of locations that were used to film various scenes from all of the Harry Potter films, like the site of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
***If you’re planning on visiting Inverness in the Highlands, you can join this fantastic, 10-hour day tour and see the Hogwarts Express chug across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, marvel at Old Inverlochy Castle, discover the Commando Monument, walk inside Fort Augustus Abbey, and take a photo or two at Urquhart Castle. And all for a fairly reasonable, $110.00 per person.***
Address: Tom-na-Faire, Station Square, Fort William PH33 6TQ, United Kingdom
Hours: The Hogwarts Express departs daily from Fort William at 10:15 am (returning at 3:15 pm) and again at 3:30/3:45 pm (returning at 7:30 pm). FYI, a round trip journey on the Jacobite Train takes around 4 hours, with a 1-hour 45-minute stop in Mallaig.
Price: Tickets for the West Coast Railways Hogwarts Express are £37.75 for a standard seat adult day return, £59.95.for a first Class adult return ticket (you can even add cream tea to your booking), and £31.75 for a one way, adult ticket.
14. The Bank of Scotland Headquarters
This is another one of those Edinburgh Harry Potter sites that doesn’t have a direct connection to Harry Potter.
Instead, the Bank of Scotland Headquarters kind of resembles Gringotts Bank with a domed, turquoise roof and impressive, Georgian-style architecture that prominently sits atop “the mound”.
The Bank of Scotland is also the fifth-oldest extant bank in the United Kingdom since it was first established by an act of Parliament in 1695. So yeah, take that nugget of knowledge Hermione Granger.
Anyway, after admiring the exterior, you can head inside and go to the basement, where you’ll find the Museum on the Mound.
It features an exquisite collection of various documents, coins, money chests, photographs, safes, and banknotes that all tell the unique story behind Scotland’s oldest bank.
Address: Museum on the Mound, The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ
Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
15. Dean Village
Another one of my favorite Edinburgh Harry Potter sites HAS to be Dean Village.
Sure, it doesn’t have a direct relationship to the Harry Potter books. But, it’s insanely gorgeous and kind of looks like Hogsmeade – at least when I picture it in my mind.
I mean, you’ve got historic-looking homes that are nestled along a charming stream – some of which feature turreted alcoves that are awash with vibrant colors.
Yeah, it doesn’t really get more Harry Potter feeling than that.
Plus, this is easily one of the best Instagram spots in Edinburgh. So, it clearly has that going for it too, at least if you have an acute Instagram addiction.
It’s also just a hoot and a holler (read “close”) away from the city center and is a great stop to make while taking a stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway.
Before you leave though, don’t forget to visit some of the area’s many historic sites, including Well Court (a fully restored 19th-century house, Dean’s Cemetery, and St Bernards Well (used in the past to draw water from the local river).
***Looking to get your Harry Potter inspired, foodie, swerve on? If so then you can order a steaming cocktail at Juniper on Princes Street (try the strawberry smoking cocktail teapot), a butterbeer from Monteith’s, or a dessert from Tattu (it’s a fairly new Chinese restaurant with magical desserts like the “Cherry Blossom” and “Dragon’s Nest”).***
Address: Dean Path, Edinburgh EH4 3AY
Hours: Open 24 hours
And that’s it my whimsically wonderful, Muggle minded friends! Because this just about wraps up this wicked awesome list of the 15+ best Edinburgh Harry Potter sites of all time!
So yeah, no need to gall all magical up in here and use the Quietus charm on me, you master spell caster you!
Also, if you found this post even a little bit useful, don’t forget to pin it now so that you can read it again later!