Even though Harry Potter plays in England, J.K. Rowling wrote it in Edinburgh- hence, she supposedly took many of the local places as inspiration.
Yesterday, I lived my nerdy side, switched on a Harry Potter audio book on my iPod and, despite the terrbile storm outside and accompanied by Harry, Hermione and Ron made my way to all the spots that are considered to have influenced J.K. Rowling in the creation of the world of wizards. This post goes especially to all the Potterheads among you, so I am sorry, if this just seems weird to you 🙂
- Victoria Street
This street, pretty close to the Grassmarket, is said to be the real-life version of Diagon Alley, with a bank approximately at the same spot as Gringott’s, and a department store at a similar place as Florish and Blott’s. It’s quite a cute street, so it’s worth going there even if you are not into Harry Potter 🙂
2. Greyfriar’s Kirkyard
Appparently, J.K.Rowling often went for a stroll in this area to have a break from working, and took inspiration from the tomb stones when finding her characters’s names. The most famous example must undoubtedly be the tomb stone of Thomas Riddell, which supposedly served as inspiration for Tom Riddle. I also spotted a grave with the name McGonnagall on it, which, in Harry Potter, is the name of the professor of transfiguration
3. George Heriot’s School
J.K. Rowling’s child went to this school while she was living in Edinburgh. The school, which was public back then but was transformed into a private one, can be seen from the Kirkyard, and it apparently served as inspiration for Hogwarts. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to enter the school’s grounds.
Also, when just turning around, one has an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle, and quite frankly, I find this to be a lot mor similar to Hogwarts than the private school, with it’s location on a rough rock. But go there and make up your mind yourself 🙂
4. Nicholson’s Cafe and Elephant House
Nicholson’s Cafe, which nowadays is called “Spoon”, used to be owned by a relative of J.K. Rowling when she was writing the very first book. Hence, she spent most of the time writing in the little cafe. The Elephant House is where she then wrote the later parts of the series.
5. The Balmoral Hotel
In one of this hotel’s suites, which is located on Princes Street, so in the heart of Edinburgh, J.K. Rowling wrote the very last sentences of the last Harry Potter Book. The suite was named after her, and nowadays, people can rent the room to stay in and feel closer to her idol (it would definitely not be worth the money for me, but each to their own).
Naturally, these are all by no means a priority to visit, but especially when listening to the audio book, you can really imagine Harry and his friends walking down the street- Edinburgh is the perfect spot for such stories! Also, everything is quite close together, so it makes for a nice little stroll thorugh the neighbourhood. The National Museum of Scotland, and pretty much all tooher tourist attractions are just around the corner, so you don’t need to make any extra effort to visit these places 🙂