In the wake of Harry Potter: drive to Edinburgh
It’s hard to believe, but the famous wizard Harry Potter turned 20 this year! We invite all fans of Joan Rowling and her works to go for a walk in Edinburgh. There, where 20 years ago the story of the wizard boy began, conquering the hearts of millions of readers around the world. We follow in the footsteps of Rowling and take a leisurely walk around Edinburgh!
Other cities of Europe that may interest you here!
1. Enjoy breakfast at The Elephant House
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The Elephant House Cafe is the self-proclaimed “Harry Potter Birthplace”. Located on George Bridge, one of the central walking paths of the capital. In the distant 90s, when Rowling tried hard to make ends meet, she often went to a cafe because of the opportunity to warm up for free and work in a cozy atmosphere. In the “Elephant House” you can find a wall with photographs of Rowling and her quotes. Entering this cozy cafe, you will be surprised at its harmonious and peaceful atmosphere, and if you are lucky enough to take a seat by the window overlooking Edinburgh Castle, you will easily understand how the writer drew inspiration. When leaving the cafe, do not forget to look … into the restroom! The white walls of the room are covered with graffiti and all kinds of inscriptions, from quotations from the book to declarations of love to the writer herself.
2. Admire the spiers of George Heriot School
The most important production in the world of Harry Potter is, of course, Hogwarts – a school of witchcraft and magic. It is believed that the creation of so many unusual locales was inspired by the school of George Herriott. The building is located in the city center, around the corner of the “Elephant House” and looks fabulously beautiful.
Founded in 1628, Heriot’s institution was designed to educate orphans. (Like Harry Potter!) Today it is an active educational institution, therefore it is closed to tourists. But real Potter fans found a loophole here. The school hosts the famous summer festivals, which you can attend for a fee.
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3. Hunt Voldemort in the Greyfriars Cemetery
Fans of the book will surely remember the frightening moment in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” when the ghost of Tom Marvolo Reddle revealed his “dark” name in the anagram: Lord Voldemort. (Original: Tom Marvolo Riddle – I am Lord Voldemort).
The Greyfriars Cemetery was the last refuge of the gentleman Thomas Reddle, who lived in the 19th century and died in 1806 at the age of 72. Fans of Rowling believe that the name on the tombstone inspired the writer to create the main antagonist of the novel. Today, crowds of fans visit Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery, who leave letters and postcards on Thomas’s grave grateful that he “made everyone believe in magic.”
4. Stop for coffee in the “Spoon”
Having caught the appetite, wandering around the terrible cemetery of Greyfriars, go to the stylized cafe “Spoon” to taste a delicious pie and strong coffee. An institution with a simple and at the same time original name is famous for healthy nutrition and aromatic afternoon tea. In the 90s, there was another cafe at this place – Nicolson’s, where Rowling spent long hours writing adventures about Harry Potter. When the Nicholson closed, a Chinese buffet appeared in its place, and in 2009 the Spoon opened. Today, the cafe attracts with its spacious and “airy” interior, large windows and wide tables. In a word, an ideal place for inspiration!
5. Walk along Diagon Alley on Victoria Street
Edinburgh architecture is a mixture of narrow medieval buildings, Victorian style, Gothic spiers and Georgian greatness. Each turn hides a new, impressive view, but Victoria Street is the most photogenic. Here, on the ornate “two-level” street, there are small shops with bright facades, souvenir shops and a shop for rare and antique books. It seems that this is where the fictional Slanting Alley from the Potter universe passes, where wizards buy magic items. Not surprisingly, Victoria Street and its environs are prototypes of the cobbled alley of Rowling’s works.
6. Spend a night at the Balmoral
In 2007, when Rowling finished the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she was far from an inexperienced author writing in the corners of a cafe. Concluding her last novel, the writer settled in The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, in room 552. Today, this number is renamed The Rowling Suite, and costs £ 1,000 per night. Here is a desk on which Rowling wrote a book and a marble bust of Hermes (Greek god, patron saint of travelers)