Harry Potter Walking Tour, Edinburgh, Scotland

Saturday, September 10, 2016

While reading up on Edinburgh and things to do we of course just HAD to do the Harry Potter walking tour with The Potter Trail! We love us some HP. Die hard fans yo. Anyway. It was POURING buckets of rain, but that didn't dampen our spirits. The kids sat in the stroller with their iPads under the rain cover and were happy as clams the entire time, didn't even make a peep, it was great.

We met up with our guide and a bunch of other Potterphiles and started off.
A little clip of our funny and animated guide.

The tour began in Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery) at the resting place of Bobby, the famous dog.

Walking through the graveyard that inspired the scene in book 4 where Cedric is killed (gummy bears were rewarded to Chris for knowing which book the guide was referring to.)
There used a be a bench next to where the guide is talking where J.K. Rowling would write the day away and several things nearby inspired things in the books.
For example, the school right behind the cemetery is the George Heriot's School which was one of the inspirations for Hogwarts, especially the four-house structure of the school and even the colors of the houses.

Just above the bench where Rowling would sit and write is the headstone of William McGonagall. The man was famous for being an exceptionally terrible poet. Rowling loved the name and of course used it for her character Minerva McGonagall. 
That wasn't the only deceased person who inspired a character name in the book. Also in the cemetery is the resting place of one Thomas Riddell! Yep, we saw You-Know-Who's grave! Rowling modified the surname spelling so that her famous anagram "I am Lord Voldemort" would work. 
Chris with Voldy.
Another shot of the cemetery.
We left the Kirkyard and walked to the Potterow Portal. Inspiration for the Potter name?
Our next stop was the former Nicolson's Cafe. Nicolson’s Café was a first floor (second floor for Americans) restaurant on the corner of Nicolson and Drummond Street famous for being the location where J.K. Rowling wrote the first of her Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. At the time, she was a single mother on benefits and spent the day writing in the cafe because they didn’t mind letting her sit all day over one espresso and a glass of water. 
A plaque on Nicolson Street, on the wall outside Black Medicine Cafe at the corner of Nicolson and Drummond Street, commemorates the spot.
The University of Edinburgh, aside from being one of the oldest and best universities in the world, is also home to Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. The clinic is named after Rowling's mother who died of MS at the age of 45 and was established with a donation from the author.
Also mentioned though we didn't walk to it on this part of our trip (we did drive past it every time we went into and out of the city though!), is the Balmoral Hotel - "in February 2007 it was confirmed that author J.K. Rowling finished the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, at this hotel. Rowling left a signed statement written on a marble bust of Hermes in her room saying; "J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11th Jan 2007". The room has since been renamed the "J.K. Rowling Suite," and the marble bust has been placed in a glass display case to protect it. The suite, priced at nearly £1,000 per night, is a pilgrimage site for Harry Potter fans."
The tour ended back at my favorite street which apparently was the inspiration behind Diagon Alley with all it's colorful shops! I believe it!
Despite the weather, we had a great time on the tour and learned a lot of cool things about Rowling and how the magic that is Harry Potter came to be. Out of 10, we'd give this tour a 9 and 3/4. Totally a must-see-do for any Potterphile. 


Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN