J.K Rowling started writing Harry Potter, a fabulous and riveting story about a young wizard, during a delayed Manchester to London King’s Cross station train. But it was only when she shifted to Edinburgh with her daughter, Jessica, that the world of magic and wizardry came into life.
If you’re someone who always wanted a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts, and was affected by the series (both books and movies) in a way that changed your life, then, these are the places you must absolutely visit!
The Elephant House, Edinburgh
The Elephant House is a gourmet tea and coffee shop located in the heart of historic Edinburgh. Opened in 1995, it is famous as the birthplace of Harry Potter’s world. J.K Rowling would come here often and relax with coffee and cake, as she wrote and pored over thousands of words. The shop is also frequented often by Alexander McCall-Smith and Ian Rankin, the authors the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and the Rebus novels, respectively.
Here’s a scene to recreate: It is said, that J.K Rowling often sat next to a window facing the Edinburgh Castle, as a source of visual inspiration. How about doing the same?
Side note for coffee lovers: The Elephant House offers three classic straight coffees; besides, they also serve a historically famous blend and a different specialty coffee every week. They say and I quote, “not all beans are created equal.”
Nicolson’s Cafe, Edinburgh
Nicolson’s Cafe was another cafe frequented by J.K Rowling. She was a single mother living on benefits, and the owners didn’t mind that she sat all day writing, with just a coffee and water. Come to think of it, how different the Potter world would’ve been if they hadn’t allowed her to sit and simply write. Although the cafe isn’t open anymore, there is a plaque on Nicolson Street, on the wall outside Black Medicine Cafe at the corner of Nicolson and Drummond Street, commemorating the spot.
Alnwick Castle, United Kingdom
South of the border of Scotland, worth a day trip, lies the prime location for the shooting of the movies. This was where Hogwarts came alive. The seat of the Duke of Northumberland, the castle can be visited by taking a conveyance from Newcastle, which is 45 minutes away.
This is the site where Harry first tried his flying skills and its appearance in the films has helped shape the public imagination regarding what castles should look like.
Scottish Highlands, Scotland
In the Scottish highlands, exists, the Glencoe, in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, which was the location of Hagrid’s hut, as well as the Glen Nevis, home to a magnificent waterfall, where the enthralling game of quidditch in ‘Goblet of Fire’ was shot.
Thought: Maybe the golden snitch lurks somewhere round here.
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
Glenfinnan viaduct is a railway viaduct on the West Highland line. One can take a stream train towards the north from Lochaber, crossing over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct where the Ford Anglia flew overhead in “The Chamber of Secrets”. The train journey from Fort William to Mallaig is known as one of the Great Train Journeys of the World and for Harry Potter fans, this is not to be missed!
King’s Cross Station, London
The home of platform 9 3/4, the train station has been a huge influence and part of the Potter world for obvious reasons. This is where the first idea of the books was born, this is where Hagrid brought Harry Potter for his train to Hogwarts, and this is where Harry met his best friend Ron. For a Potter fan, this particular location posits a story that begins and ends right here.
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