Embrace your inner magic with a city adventure that traces an enchanting Harry Potter path from London to Edinburgh, visiting the places that shaped the wizarding world as we know it.
London is a prominent backdrop to many of the novels’ scenes, while Edinburgh is profoundly linked to author JK Rowling, who wrote page upon page in the beautiful Scottish city.
Here’s our guide to matching the beloved fantasy fiction with the real-world locations that served as its muse…
A Marauder’s Map of the city
We begin, of course, at King’s Cross Station, where the iconic Platform 9¾ awaits and the famous trolley disappearing into the wall marks the magical gateway to Hogwarts, inviting an imaginative opportunity for little ones. Pop into the original Harry Potter Shop to stock up on chocolate frogs before crossing the road to admire the gothic architecture of St. Pancras International, which keen eyes will recognise as the exterior of the fictional station.
Next, head to Gracechurch Street and visit the vibrant Leadenhall Market, whose cobbled 14th century streets mirror the shopping district where Harry buys his school supplies. Explore the artisanal stalls and embrace the hustle and bustle of the marketplace that inspired Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron.
Finally, make your way on foot to the stunningly-designed Millennium Bridge, the setting of a more sinister London scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where you can enjoy sweeping vistas along the Thames. Stand left of the bridge in front of the Tate Modern for an exceptional view of St Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most iconic buildings.
A scenic train ride and beyond
Take a leaf out of Potter’s spell book and make your journey northwards by train, admiring beautiful views of the countryside as you go. Your destination is Edinburgh Waverley station, where the famously fast Balmoral Clock will convince you you’re three minutes late.
Not that time should be a concern as you stroll into the city centre to Victoria Street, a picturesque and winding cobblestone lane lined with colourful boutiques rumoured to have inspired JK Rowling’s literary cityscape. More familiar-looking still is the breathtaking Edinburgh Castle, whose formidable stature mirrors that of Hogwarts, inspiring awe in children and grown-ups alike.
No Harry Potter tour is complete without a visit to Greyfriars Kirkyard, the uncanny resting place that gave JK Rowling ideas for characters names, most notably Thomas Riddell, aka Lord Voldemort. Here also lies ‘Greyfriars Bobby’, the faithful policeman’s Skye Terrier, buried close to his master’s grave – Edinburgh folklore that promises to melt the coldest Slytherin heart. Indeed, Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore even references this local legend in the first Harry Potter book, foreshadowing of the characters’ unwavering love and loyalty to come.
Exploring needn’t end once you arrive at The Balmoral, which holds particular significance for fans of Harry Potter, whose creator famously holed up in room 552 for several months while writing the series finale. The room is now transformed into the whimsical JK Rowling Suite where guests will be charmed from the moment you walk through the purple door with its owl knocker, to discovering the bust of Hermes, irreverently signed by Rowling herself on completion of her wizarding works in 2007.
For an effortlessly magical experience, let our dedicated team book your exclusive stays at Brown's Hotel, London and The Balmoral, Edinburgh, where our concierges can craft a bespoke itinerary that ensures you experience the very best of both cities.
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